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Nelson Mandela: what they said

Last update - Sunday, December 15, 2013, 18:29 By Metro Éireann

World leaders and prominent South Africans share their thoughts on the loss of Madiba

“We should, while mourning, also sing at the top of our voices, dance and do whatever we want to do, to celebrate the life of this outstanding revolutionary who kept the spirit of freedom alive and led us to a new society. Let us sing for Madiba…He believed in caring, and he cared for our nation. He believed in forgiveness, and he forgave.”
South African President
Jacob Zuma, who announced Mandela’s death on 5 December

“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… 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.”
US President Barack Obama

“Mandela, having gone through the most difficult ordeals, was committed to the end of his days to the ideals of humanism and justice.”
Russian President
Vladimir Putin

“Nelson Mandela lives on as his life will continue to be the guiding light for those who excel, for those who have suffered for freedom and for peace.”
Liberian President and Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnston Sirleaf

“This is as much India’s loss as South Africa’s. He was a true Gandhian. His life and work will remain a source of eternal inspiration for generations to come.'”
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

“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 South African President FW de Klerk, who released Mandela from prison in 1990 and won the Nobel Peace Prize together with him in 1993

“To combine within one’s self the contradictions that he lived with, a lawyer and a freedom fighter, a prisoner and a leader, a man of anger and of forgiveness, has so captured the hearts of people not only in his country, but as we are seeing with the outpouring of response to his death, people around the world.”
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“His death leaves us bereft - it is felt by all of us as a personal loss.”
Former Irish President Mary Robinson

“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.”
Former US President
Bill Clinton

“It’s not just what he did but the way he did it that makes him so special. He did it with a grace and a dignity that I think really inspired people everywhere.”
Former British PM Tony Blair

“He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison... We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief.”
Desmond Tutu, South African Archbishop Emeritus

“Mandela made us all understand that nobody should be penalised for the colour of his skin or the circumstances into which he was born. He also made us understand that we can change the world.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese opposition leader and Nobel Laureate

“Mr Mandela was the first person to befriend me when I went to Robben Island. I was all alone and Mr Mandela came and he befriended me and throughout my prison career Mr Mandela was there to help me to guide me to sympathise with me whenever.”
Eddie Daniels, political activist and former prison mate of Nelson Mandela

“How to conceive of a South Africa – no, a world – without Nelson Mandela, our Madiba, whose matchless humanity was bountiful enough for us to share with the world?”
Nadine Gordimer, South African writer and Nobel Laureate

“What an honour it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.'”
Idris Elba, who portrays Mandela in new film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

“I miss my, like I said, Mandela my prisoner, my friend and my father. We miss him a lot.”
Christo Brand, a prison guard on Robben Island and Pollsmoor during Mandela’s incarceration

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