Prominent South Africans laud Madiba

06 December 2013 | Story by Newsroom
In memoriam: UCT flags fly half-mast in honour of former president Nelson Mandela, who died on 5 December.
In memoriam: UCT flags fly half-mast in honour of former president Nelson Mandela, who died on 5 December.

As South Africa and the world mourn the passing of former president Nelson Mandela a steady stream of tributes celebrating this iconic leader continues unabated.

Former Thabo Mbeki stated "his death marks a heart-rending break with a heroic generation, many of whose members unfortunately remain, to this day, virtually unknown to the millions who are the beneficiaries of their vision and sacrifices".

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in his tribute lauded Madiba for being "exceptional" adding, "The spirit of greatness that he personified resides in all of us. Human beings are made for greatness".

"Madiba's leadership was characterised by a profound sense of purpose that espoused excellence in all its deeds," said Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane, Chair of the UCT Council.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele, former UCT Vice-Chancellor, urged South Africans to dedicate themselves "to the kind of selfless service which (Madiba) exemplified". Professor Njabulo Ndebele, former Vice-Chancellor and chairman of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, joined calls to continue Mandela's legacy, "We know you share with many of us the same passionate wish to see Nelson Mandela's legacy being kept alive and made available to the world."

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba prayed, "Go forth, revolutionary and loving soul, on your journey out of this world, in the name of God, who created you, suffered with you and liberated you.

"All who knew him suffer the absence of this man who was a mentor, a teacher, a president, a Nobel peace laureate, an anti-apartheid hero, and a paragon of racial reconciliation," articulated Jacob Hurwitz executive director SA Union for Progressive Judaism. "The greatest gift one can give to a human being is freedom and that is what Mandela did for all South Africans," was Ganief Hendricks, leader of the Al Jama-Ah party's comment following news of Mandela's death.

Former president FW De Klerk, and Mandela's fellow Nobel peace laureate, remembered the sometimes stormy nature of their relationship, but how they were able to come together "at critical moments to resolve the many crises that arose during the negotiation process. 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."

For Nobel Prize winning author Nadine Gordimer Mandela was "not a figure carved in stone but a tall man, of flesh and blood, whose suffering had made him not vengeful but still more human even toward the people who had created the prison that was apartheid".

Pieter-Dirk Uys, satirist and social activist, described his death as an opportunity to "celebrate this extraordinary gift we had in this country for such a long time."

Amnesty International in its statement praised Mandela for his commitment to human rights that "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. His legacy across Africa, and the world, will stand for generations".

Text by Abigail Calata; Image by Michael Hammond

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.