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World mourns, remembers Mandela’s legacy
December 6, 2013, 11:23 am

Mandela is being mourned around the world [Getty Images]

Mandela is being mourned around the world [Getty Images]

Travelling a long road from the world’s most recognized political prisoner to the world’s most admired leader, Nelson Mandela chose forgiveness over anger, compassion over revenge, and unity over fear when he became South Africa’s first post-Apartheid president in 1994.

His death at the age of 95 late Thursday sparked global mourning as the international community reflected on the legacy he leaves behind.

South African President Jacob Zuma said that the country had lost a father when he announced in a televised address that Mandela had died.

“Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love,” Zuma said.

The last Apartheid President F.W. de Klerk, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993, said that South Africa has lost one of its founding fathers.

“I believe that his example will live on and that it will continue to inspire all South Africans to achieve his vision of non-racialism, justice, human dignity and equality for all,” de Klerk said.

South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Mandela inspired the country to follow the path of forgiveness and reconciliation and ensured that the country did not succumb to violence and chaos in the post-Apartheid era.

“Thank you God, for this wonderful gift who became a moral colossus, a global icon of forgiveness and reconciliation. May he rest in peace and rise in glory,” Tutu said.

US President Barack Obama said Mandela left an example for all. “He bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice,” Obama said.

Ban Ki-Moon Mandela reflected on Mandela’s endless pursuit of justice, not just in South Africa but for people around the world.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement released on Friday that Mandela’s death was as much a loss for India as it was for South Africa.

“Today we join South Africa and the world in mourning his loss, but we know that his life and ideals will inspire generations to come. May God bless his soul,” Singh said.

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said that Mandela will for generations guide others by example to fight for global social justice.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, who worked with Mandela in the promotion of global human rights issues, said in a statement: “His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world’s leading democracies.”

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said with Mandela gone there will now be “a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill in our continent”.

Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said Mandela had an “unconquerable soul”.

The Kremlin released a statement quoting Russian President Vladimir Putin calling Mandela one of the greatest politicians in the world and a man who never betrayed his convictions. “Mandela, having gone through the most difficult ordeals, was committed to the end of his days to the ideals of humanism and justice,” Putin said.

South Africa will fly flags at half-mast until Mandela is laid to rest, authorities in Pretoria said early Friday. Flags around the world – France, Canada, US, New Zealand, the UK, and others – will also be flown at half-mast.

French President Francois Hollande called Mandela a tireless fighter in the pursuit of justice and said France joins South Africa in “infinite sadness” mourning the former South African president.

FIFA, the world football governing body, ordered all its offices to fly flags half-mast. Mandela played a huge role to ensure that South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup.

Meanwhile, in Canada – which made Mandela an honorary citizen in 2001 – Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that the world had lost one of its great moral leaders.

For many South Africans, this was a day they knew would be coming. Mandela narrowly recovered from lung failure in June and remained in hospital for several months. He died at his home in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“That moment eventually arrived,” South African journalist Imran Garda told The BRICS Post.

“We knew it was coming,” he adds. “Yet, it still kills us with its sadness. Making us feel so hollow.”

Mandela will be buried in a state funeral in his birth village of Qunu on December 14.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies