"A giant among men" – people around the world pay tribute to Mandela
LONDON, Dec 6 (BBC): People around the world have been reacting to the news that South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died, aged 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma announced Nelson Mandela’s death, saying South Africa had lost “its greatest son” and calling on South Africans to conduct themselves with the “dignity and respect” that Mr Mandela personified. “Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss,” he said. US President Barack Obama spoke shortly afterwards. “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth,” he said.
“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. His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.” “A great light has gone out in the world,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron. “Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.” French President Francois Hollande said Mr Mandela’s message would “continue to inspire fighters for freedom, and to give confidence to peoples in the defence of just causes and universal rights”, while Germany’s Angela Merkel said Mr Mandela’s “political legacy of non-violence and the condemnation of all forms of racism” would continue to inspire.
Mr Mandela was an “inspiration to the oppressed peoples all over the world” and had made “unparalleled personal sacrifices”, said Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff said Mr Mandela would “guide all those who fight for social justice and for peace in the world”, and India’s Manmohan Singh said: “A giant among men has passed away.” For UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Mr Mandela “was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration”.
South African ex-President FW de Klerk, who freed Mr Mandela from prison in 1990 and shared the Nobel Peace Prize with him in 1993, said: “Tata, we shall miss you – but know that your spirit and example will always be there to guide us to the vision of a better and more just South Africa.” Former Irish President Mary Robinsonsaid: “His death leaves us bereft – it is felt by all of us as a personal loss.” “We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy but a way of life,” said former US President Bill Clinton. Campaigners and religious figures… US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson described Mandela as a global “force for good – with his suffering and his vision, he chose at a critical moment reconciliation over retribution.”
The Reverend Jesse Jackson: “That sense of principle, tough mind, tender heart, was Nelson Mandela” “He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison,” said South Africa’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. “We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief.” “Nelson Mandela’s commitment to human rights was epitomised by his unswerving resolve to stamp out racial inequality during apartheid, followed by his vital work in combating HIV/Aids in South Africa,” said Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty. “All of us who admired him must carry on his struggle.”