December 5, 2013 (JOHANNESBURG/JUBA) – Several world leaders and activists have paid tribute to the ex-South African leader Nelson Mandela who died on Thursday night. He was 95.
- Nelson Mandela addresses the 49th session of the General Assembly October 1994 (UN Photo/Evan Schneider)
Mandela, South Africa’s first black president died at home in Johannesburg, ending months of speculation that shrouded his public life and ill health.
“This is the moment of our deepest sorrow”, President Jacob Zuma reportedly told the nation, adding [and], “Our nation has lost its greatest son …”
“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves".
Meanwhile, Zuma also announced that ex-South African leader would receive a state funeral and ordered that flags fly at half-mast in memory of the country’s fallen hero.
WORLD LEADERS PAY TRIBUTE
The United States president, Barack Obama was among the first world leaders who paid tribute to the fallen South African leader, moments after he was pronounced dead on Thursday night.
"Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa – and moved all of us”, Obama said in a statement.
The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon said Mandela was a “giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration”.
“He [Mandela] touched our lives in deeply personal ways. At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations”, Ki Moon said in a statement.
Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us – if we believe, dream and work together for justice and humanity, he added.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "A great light has gone out in the world" and described Mandela as "a hero of our time".
On Thursday, former Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a memorial service in Capetown where he called on South Africa to become as a nation what Mandela had been as a man.
SOUTH SUDANESE ACTIVISTS REACT
Meanwhile, South Sudan Human Rights for Advocacy (SSHURSA) described Mandela as an “icon” of justice, peace and humanity.
“He fought against evils of apartheid in South Africa and remained opposed to all forms of injustices which dehumanise the dignity of human beings”, SSHURSA said in a statement to Sudan Tribune.
“(…) his zeal, courage and thirst for a just, equal, equitable, human rights and rule of law abiding society shall remain a burning candle in the hearts and minds of all those who work for the good of humanity, the universality of human rights and rule of law”, it added.
Edmund Yakani, the executive director for Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) said Mandela’s death should be a lesson for African leaders who intend to cling onto power.
"As CEPO, we are deeply saddened by this great loss and condolences to Mandela’s family. African leaders should emulate his good deeds and promote democracy, freedoms of expression and fundamental human rights", Yakani told Sudan Tribune on Friday.
BRIEF FACT-FILE ON MANDELA
Born in 1918, Mandela attended Fort Hare University and the University of Witwatersrand, where he studied law. A renowned activist, Mandela was a founding member of the African National Congress (ANC) party, rapidly rising to fame during his early days.
In 1962, he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.
He was released in 1990 after serving 27 years in prison before he won an election in 1994 to become the first black South African president. He also belonged to The Elders, a respected group of world leaders working to promote peace worldwide.