Great tributes to Nelson Mandela by world leaders

Nelson Mandela... Photo: courtesy http://www.mandela.gov.za
Nelson Mandela... Photo: courtesy http://www.mandela.gov.za

Leaders from all over the world are paying tribute to former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. This page contains their messages. It’s courtesy http://www.mandela.gov.za/

A prayer for former president Nelson Mandela”We offer a prayer of contrition. We come with humble and broken hearts for all the ways we have fallen short of the glory of God.

“We come carrying our sorrow for all of the ways that we have fallen short of the example that Madiba offered us; an example of integrity, of reconciliation, of leadership in the service of the people.

“So we thank God for Rolihlahla. We thank God that this man had the courage to learn and to grow.

“As we stand before God with all of our grief, we ask God to bless South Africa. God bless South Africa, guide our leaders, guard our children and give us peace,” Tutu’s prayer read.

President Jacob Zuma announced his death on SABC just before midnight.

“He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20.50pm on December 5. He is now resting, he is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son.

“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we bid him farewell.”

- Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and fellow winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings. And Hillary, Chelsea and I have lost a true friend.

History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation. 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.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Graca and his family and to the people of South Africa. All of us are living in a better world because of the life that Madiba lived. He proved that there is freedom in forgiving, that a big heart is better than a closed mind, and that life’s real victories must be shared.

- Former USA President Bill Clinton

At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, ‘I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us – he belongs to the ages.
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.

His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humour, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, ‘I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings.

The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.

To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most. And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real. A free South Africa at peace with itself – that’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.

We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.

For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived – a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace.

- President Barack Obama, United States of America

Earlier tonight, my wife Zanele and I learnt with immense distress and profound sadness of the passing away of one of the greatest sons of our people, Esteemed Member of the Order of Mapungubwe and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Isithwalandwe President Nelson Mandela….

His departure represents a very sad moment of grief for his family. But it also constitutes a personal loss for us because over many decades, he served both as our guide and one of our fathers.

President Mandela, Madiba, and his generation of freedom fighters walked their long walk and made enormous sacrifices which eventually led to our freedom in 1994.

His passing signals the end of an historic era represented by the heroic deeds of his generation.

Thus, President Mandela’s departure demands of those of us who remain, South Africans and all Africans on the rest of our Continent, that we commit ourselves selflessly to address the many challenges we face.

President Mandela and his generation discovered the mission of their generation. They were at all times faithful to it, as a result of which they fulfilled it.

As we mourn President Mandela’s passing we must ask ourselves the fundamental question – what shall we do to respond to the tasks of building a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa, a people centred society free of hunger, poverty, disease and inequality, as well as Africa’s renaissance, to whose attainment President Nelson Mandela dedicated his whole life?

We convey our heartfelt condolences to his dear wife, Graça Machel, and the rest of his entire family.

- Former President Thabo Mbeki

A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death – a true global hero. Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace. Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life.My heart goes out to his family – and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage.

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron

The Queen was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Mandela last night. He worked tirelessly for the good of his country, and his legacy is the peaceful South Africa we see today.

Her Majesty remembers with great warmth her meetings with Mr. Mandela and sends her sincere condolences to his family and the people of South Africa at this very sad time.

- Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth

First, extraordinary sadness at the passing of such a heroic figure. He lived this extraordinary life of belief in this simple principle of fighting discrimination, this extraordinary struggle of all those years in prison then the immense trial against adversity and all he achieved for his country and to inspire people around the world. And then throughout all of this, this extraordinary generosity and sense of forgiveness that he had for those who done him so much harm. And that was the real privilege of meeting him.My memories are of a man  who had a wonderful sense of humour wonderful generous sense. The abiding memory I have is seeing him in Johannesburg and him talking about the people who had imprisoned him and  the suffering he’s undergone and yet his complete forgiveness, his total lack of malice, towards those who had done this too him and his sense that all that mattered was building a safe and strong and a fair South Africa.

I also was very struck by the fact that after leaving power he still cared so deeply about the issues like Aids and HIV which were affecting his country and he never gave up these things. So an amazing man, an extraordinary heroic figure but also with a sense of forgiveness which I think is the lesson that we’ll need to learn and try to live by.

I’ve written and spoken about these things before, but I think today is a day to focus on his legacy, on his life, on his work and above all the inspiration he will give to millions of people across our world as I tried to say last night. I think his achievements through his inspiration will be every bit as powerful as what he achieved in his life.

United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron after signing the condolences book at South Africa House

The world has lost a great statesman, someone who embodied reconciliation, peace and justice like few others. As a man and as a political leader, Nelson Mandela was a shining example of how hatred, violence and racism can be overcome. Despite the humiliating experience of 27 years in prison, he found the courage and strength to lead his country to democracy on the path of non-violence. He firmly believed that not only the oppressed but also the oppressors had to be liberated.
An important part of this endeavour was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established at his initiative and has served as a model for many countries around the world.

Nelson Mandela showed not only that the struggle for political freedom can be won by peaceful means, however. He also showed how important it is use this freedom responsibly and ensure that is preserved.

German Federal President Joachim Gauck

Like millions of people throughout the world, I grieve the loss of Nelson Mandela. My thoughts are with his wife, his family and with all South Africans who revere Nelson Mandela as the father of their nation that is free at last.Nelson Mandela was a wonderful man. He was wise, warm-hearted and humorous. I had the pleasure to experience these traits personally when meeting him, an experience that is still vivid for me. That encounter is one of the most prized memories of my political career.
Nelson Mandela was convinced that it is neither hatred nor vengeance that turn the world into a better place, but reconciliation and peaceful change. He lived it. This is why he is a giant of history, a statesman with a message resonating in all countries and for all times.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years behind bars for his struggle against the oppression of his people – 27 long years. This imprisonment did not break him; it did not even make him bitter. Quite the contrary: it only made him more resolute to overcome the injustice of apartheid and put an end to it.

His path from being a prisoner on Robben Island to founding father of the new and free South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate shows what a difference the strength of a single individual can make in the history of a country. Non-violence in place of retribution for injustice suffered: thanks to Nelson Mandela South Africa followed this course after the end of the cruel apartheid years. With his strength, he has shown us all the peaceful perseverance that made the world a bit more secure and a bit better. It is because his message applies to us all that we will remember him and uphold his legacy as our obligation for political action.

German Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel

When history speaks of the very best examples of humanity, we will speak of Nelson Mandela. His life was dedicated to the greater good. He held strong beliefs and did not give up on his dreams. He was a driving force for change and cared for the well-being of others. We have all learned so much from his fortitude, dedication and compassion. Throughout his life, he overcame many hardships to become a powerful global figure for peace and equality; the legacy he leaves cannot be understated.

All across our nation, we hold him in the highest regard, evidenced by his investment into the Order of Canada as an Honorary Companion and an honorary citizen of our country.

On behalf of all Canadians, Sharon and I would like to send our deepest condolences to Mr. Mandela’s family, and to all South Africans.

David Johnston, Governor General of Canada

With the death of Nelson Mandela, the world has lost one of its great moral leaders and statesmen. Mr. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the former Government of South Africa, for his part in the struggle that would ultimately end the system of apartheid.Despite his long years of captivity, Mr. Mandela left prison with a heart closed to calls for a settling of scores. Instead, he was filled by a longing for truth and reconciliation, and for an understanding between all peoples.

He demonstrated that the only path forward for the nation was to reject the appeal of bitterness. His forbearance was legendary: his magnanimity spared all South Africans incalculable suffering.

Nelson Mandela’s enduring legacy for his country, and the world, is the example he set through his own ‘long walk to freedom.’ With grace and humility, he modelled how peoples can transform their own times and in doing so, their own lives.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, Laureen and I extend our condolences to Mr. Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, his entire family and all citizens of South Africa. Canada, a nation that granted Mr. Mandela honorary citizenship in 2001, mourns with you and the entire world today.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

I write to commiserate with you, the Government and people of South Africa and the family of Dr. Nelson Mandela on the death of one of the greatest sons of Africa.

Although it has come at the advanced age of 95, Madiba’s death will create a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill in our continent. He will be sorely missed by all who cherish love, peace and freedom the world over and will be eternally honoured for his immense contribution to the dismantling of the apartheid policy, one of the world’s most obnoxious systems whose under-pining philosophy was the degradation of man by man.

Dr. Mandela served as a source of inspiration to the oppressed peoples all over the world. In the course of his life-long epic struggle for freedom, fairness, justice, equity and the human rights of his oppressed people, Dr. Mandela made unparalleled personal sacrifices. The indefatigable spirit which he demonstrated throughout his life will continue to inspire present and future generations.

Dr. Mandela will always be remembered and honoured by all mankind as one of its greatest liberators, a wise, courageous and compassionate leader, and an icon of true democracy.

We join you, the Mandela family, the people of South Africa and lovers of freedom, peace, justice and equity all over the world in praying that God Almighty will receive the Great Madiba’s soul and grant him eternal rest.

President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan

He was a unique political figure at a unique moment in history. Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south, despite all the huge differences in wealth and opportunity, stood for the first time together on equal terms.Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal.

I worked with him closely, and remember well his visits to Downing Street. He was a wonderful man to be around, with a sharp wit, extraordinary political savvy and a lovely way of charming everyone in a building.

He would delight in making sure that the person on the door or serving the tea would feel at home with him and be greeted by him with the same kindness and respect he would show a leader. So the warmth of his personality was equal to the magnitude of his contribution to the world. He was a great man, a great leader and the world’s most powerful symbol of reconciliation, hope and progress.

- Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair

Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration. On behalf of the United Nations, I extend my deepest condolences to the people of South Africa and especially to Nelson Mandela’s family, and indeed our global family.

He 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. 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,” said the Secretary-General.

His moral force was decisive in dismantling the system of apartheid. Remarkably, he emerged from 27 years of detention without rancour, determined to build a new South Africa based on dialogue and reconciliation.

Mr. Mandela devoted his life to the service of his people and humanity, and he did so at great personal sacrifice. Let us continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example and his call to never cease working for a better and more just world.

When I praised him for his lifelong contribution to end apartheid he said ‘It is not only me, but hundreds and hundreds of known and unknown people that contributed.’ That has stuck with me ever since.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Mr Mandela was a world renowned statesman. With arduous and extraordinary efforts, he led the people of South Africa to success in the struggle against apartheid, making a historic contribution to the birth and development of a new South Africa.Mandela actively promoted friendly cooperation between China and South Africa in various areas. The Chinese people will forever keep in memory the outstanding contributions he made to… the development of humankind.

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Laura and I join the people of South Africa and the world in celebrating the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example.

This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy to President Mandela’s family and to the citizens of the nation he loved.

Former US President George W. Bush

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on behalf of the Commission and its staff, and indeed, on behalf of the Union and the rest of the continent, expressed her grief on the passing of a Pan African icon and Nobel Peace Laureate, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.Madiba, as he was fondly known, symbolises the spirit of Pan Africanism and solidarity in the struggles of humanity against apartheid, oppression and colonialism and for self-determination, peace and reconciliation.

Before his imprisonment in 1963 for twenty seven years, he visited countless African countries that without fail pledged and rendered unflinching support for the struggle of the South African people. Mandela has fought a good fight, and bowed out with great reverence. His passing on is a great loss to his family, to our continent and indeed to humanity itself.

At this sad time of sorrow, our hearts and thoughts are with his widow, Graça Machel, his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his children, grand and great-grandchildren and the people of South Africa and Africa. Tata Madiba Mandela will forever be missed.

The African Union dips its banners and rededicates Africa to continue to honour his legacy.  The Chairperson has instructed that flags at the AU will fly at half-mast and a Condolences book will be opened at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The African Union Commission will have a wall of remembrance on its website, and Africans are encouraged to deposit messages of condolences on the site.

- Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Mr Mandela was the embodiment of courage and reconciliation. He was also a man of great humour and had a real zest for life.

With his passing, there will be an immense void not only in his family’s lives, but also in those of all South Africans and the many others whose lives have been changed through his fight for peace, justice and freedom.

The world has lost an inspired leader and a great man. My family and I are profoundly saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Charles, Prince of Wales

It is with profound sorrow that I have learnt of the passing away of ‘Shujaa’ Nelson Mandela, an outstanding African statesman and icon. I wish to express our deepest condolences to the people of the Republic of South Africa.On behalf of the Gov’t and the people of Kenya and on my own behalf, I wish to express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. South Africa, Africa and the whole world is a witness of Madiba’s goodwill. Fare thee well, Tata Madiba!

In Mandela, we learn never to backtrack in our journey to chart our destiny. We have the responsibility of living by the ideals he stood for. Nelson Mandela’s name is cast on the echelons of history. His image and standing among all men will forever stand tall.

Nelson Mandela embodied the power of hope; and believed in the power of forgiveness. He had faith & confidence in the ability of his people to realize the dream of a free, united and prosperous South Africa.

He believed in the noble principles of equity, justice, cohesiveness and inclusiveness in governance. Nelson Mandela was an exceptional transformational leader who was gifted with unique, admirable abilities and strong values.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Prayer for former president Nelson Mandela

“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.

“Go home Madiba, you have selflessly done all that is good, noble and honourable for God’s people.

“We will continue where you have left off, the Lord being our helper.”

Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

It was with the greatest sadness that I have learned of the death of Nelson Mandela. My wife, Elita, and I would like to convey our deepest condolences to his wife Graça Machel, the Mandela family and their friends, to the ANC and indeed to the entire South African nation.We did not discuss any substantive issues and spent most of the time sizing one another up. We both reached the conclusion that we would be able to do business with one another.
It was an honour for me to have been able to work with Mr Mandela in the process that led to the adoption of the interim constitution and our first democratic elections in April 1994. Although we were political opponents – and although our relationship was often stormy – we were always able to come together at critical moments to resolve the many crises that arose during the negotiation process.

During his presidency, Mr Mandela did indeed use his great responsibility to assure South Africans from all our communities that he had all their interests at heart. He made a unique contribution not only to the establishment of our constitutional democracy but also to the cause of national reconciliation and nation-building.

Nelson Mandela’s courage, charm and commitment to reconciliation and to the Constitution, were an inspiration not only for South Africans but for the whole world. 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.

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 President FW de Klerk

The world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as more than a political leader, he was a moral leader.

He spent much of his life standing against the injustice of apartheid.

When that fight was won, he inspired us again by his capacity to forgive and reconcile his country.

While the world may never see another Nelson Mandela, he has inspired countless men and women throughout the world to live more courageous and honest lives.

On behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian community, I extend my condolences to Mr Mandela’s family and to the people of South Africa.

- Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abott

Mandela, having gone through the most difficult ordeals, was committed to the end of his days to the ideals of humanism and justice.

- Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

He made us all understand that nobody should be penalised for the colour of his skin, for the circumstances into which he is born. He also made us understand that we can change the world.

- Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi

A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India’s loss as South Africa’s. He was a true Gandhian.

- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

A great man has died.

Poland’s Solidarity leader and former president Lech Walesa

He will be remembered as the father of the new South Africa.

- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The Palestinian people will never forget his historic statement that the South African revolution will not have achieved its goals as long as the Palestinians are not free.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas

The best tribute we can pay to him is to do whatever we can to contribute to honouring the oneness of humanity and working for peace and reconciliation as he did.

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama

South Africa has lost its greatest citizen and its father. Nelson Mandela, fighting to the end, is freed to be with his God in joy and reward for his great service and sacrifice.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Mr Mandela’s imprint would be everlasting. My heart weighs heavy,” said Mr Jackson, who has been in the UK this week and spoke to students in Cambridge on Monday. “The imprint he left on our world is everlasting.

- American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson

Madiba was unity, respect and reconciliation personified. He leaves behind a towering legacy that will be remembered for many generations to come. The bridge in Braamfontein built and named after him best expresses who he was: a bridge from division to unity, from hate to reconciliation, from hopelessness to hope, and from apartheid South Africa to a free and democratic society.

- National Interfaith Leaders Council co-chairperson Pastor Ray McCauley

We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Mandela family, his wife Graca Machel, his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela Mandela, his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Your father, husband, grandfather and great grandfather was first and foremost yours before he was ours. We thank you for allowing us as South Africans and the whole world to share him with you.

- National Interfaith Leaders Council co-chairperson Archbishop Buti Tlhagale

His Day is Done – Video message delivered by Dr. Maya Angelou on behalf of the American people in memory of Nelson Mandela.

Poet Maya Angelou

South African Government leaders

South Africans and millions of people from around the world are today mourning the loss of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, our first democratically elected President of a free South Africa.An international icon and a symbol of hope for the oppressed and marginalised people across the globe, former President Mandela dedicated his life in service of humanity and contributed immensely to the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane pays tribute to former President Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, “Tata Madiba,” your passing away evokes a deep sense of sadness in all of us. You were something to everyone and touched many lives even beyond your physical reach. While we are sad about your passing on, we also celebrate the closure of a chapter scripted in humility, determination, compassion and love for humanity – values that you lived for and infused in your interactions with others, young and old.
Minister Dipuo Peters on passing of former President Nelson Mandela

Today is a time of national loss and mourning. All of us stand silent, united in our grief at the passing of the father of our nation, former President Nelson Mandela; Tata Madiba as we knew him in our hearts. On behalf of the people of Cape Town, I extend my deepest condolences to the Mandela family: his beloved wife Graca; his children; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.
Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille conveys condolences following passing on of former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela taught us invaluable lessons in nation building, unity and reconciliation to emulate and will for generations to come be celebrated as the world’s greatest freedom fighter, statesman, icon, role model, unifier and selfless servant of our people.
Premier Thandi Modise mourns passing of former President Nelson Mandela

As people of Mpumalanga and the entire country we are indeed saddened but we are celebrating his contribution and that of other fellow comrades of his generation. He is one of the finest leaders the ANC and Africa has ever produced. He will surely be missed but lives on as long as we live.
Premier David Mabuza on death of former President Nelson Mandela

While we must mourn this great loss, we must in the same vein celebrate a life lived purposefully. His presence made the world a better place for many of us, as he continued to touch many lives through his good deeds. We must all take the time to remember what Tata Mandela stood for, his morals and values, his dedication towards the improvement of all our lives. Whatever we do as part of activities to mark and celebrate his life must be befitting of his honour.
Youth Development Agency pays tribute to former President Nelson Mandela