Nelson Mandela’s death: ‘A true Gandhian dies, this is as much India’s loss as South Africa’s’


December 6, 2013

World leaders & public figures reacted to the passing of Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95. His funeral will be held Dec. 15 in Qunu, South Africa.

Nelson Mandela's death: World mourns 'hero,' 'icon,' 'father'

December 6, 2013

World leaders & public figures reacted to the passing of Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95. His funeral will be held Dec. 15 in Qunu, South Africa.

Nelson Mandela's death: World mourns 'hero,' 'icon,' 'father'

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday paid rich tributes to Nelson Mandela, describing him as a "giant among men" who was a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice.

Condoling the demise of the great leader who devoted his life to fight against apartheid, Singh said his passing away is as much a loss to India and the world as it is to South Africa.

"I am deeply saddened at the passing away of President Nelson Mandela," he said in his condolence message.

Quoting an unknown poet, Singh said, "Here and there, and now and then, God makes a giant among men. President Mandela was one such giant amongst men."

The Prime Minister noted that Mandela not only represented the conscience of the world, he also remained a beacon of hope for those struggling against oppression and injustice long after he had led his own people to victory over such ills.

"Nelson Mandela endured great personal hardship so that others could be provided with dignity, equality and opportunity. He fought discrimination and inhuman exclusion, but rose above bitter divisions to heal and reconcile a fractured nation. His life and work made him a citizen of the world," he said.

"India, in particular, had great affection and regard for him. His mission was a great inspiration and moral bulwark for our principled struggle against apartheid. It also mirrored our own hope for a better world and we were greatly honored when he accepted the highest Indian civilian award of Bharat Ratna," the Prime Minister said.

He said today, India joins 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.

Nelson Mandela: what they said (AFP report)

What the world is saying about the death of Nelson Mandela:

— US President Barack Obama: "He achieved more than could be expected of any man."

— South African President Jacob Zuma: "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father."

— Former South African president FW de Klerk: "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."

— British Prime Minister David Cameron: "A great light has gone out in the world."

— Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi: "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."

— Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: "A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India's loss as South Africa's. He was a true Gandhian."

— Chinese President Xi Jinping: "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."

— UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration."

— Former US president Bill Clinton: "History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion of human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation."

— Guinean President Alpha Conde: "Mandela was truly the pride and honour of Africa. … He was this great baobab under which we all took shelter and then the baobab falls and we find ourselves naked."

— Finnish ex-president and Nobel laureate Martti Ahtisaari: "The most impressive man of my generation has passed away. No one has influenced my life more than President Nelson Mandela."

— Britain's Queen Elizabeth II: "He worked tirelessly for the good of his country, and his legacy is the peaceful South Africa we see today."

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

— Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan: "A source of inspiration to oppressed peoples all over the world."

— Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta: "He bequeathed us the understanding that we can and should unconditionally forgive those who wrong us."

— Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy: "Mandela knew how to look to the future of his country without hate clouding his vision."

— Israeli President Shimon Peres: "Nelson Mandela was a fighter for human rights who left an indelible mark on the struggle against racism and discrimination."

— Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas: "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."

— Pope Francis: "I pray that the late president's example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations…. I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss."

— Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "Ultimately he would want us, South Africans, to be his memorial."

— Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama: "The best tribute we can pay to him is to do whatever we can to contribute to honoring the oneness of humanity and working for peace and reconciliation as he did."

— Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: "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."

— Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai: "I have learned so much from Nelson Mandela and he has been my leader. He is a perpetual inspiration for me and millions of others around the world."

— Mandela's prison-mate and fellow struggle stalwart Tokyo Sexwale: "It is left now for us South Africans to show the world that the light of Mandela will not be extinguished. It is for us to prove to the world we are worthy of his legacy."

— The South African Rugby Union: "He used the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the first major sporting event to be hosted in SA after the 1994 democratic elections, as an instrument of change to help promote unity amongst all South Africans."

— International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset: "I was honoured to be with him during the historic days of Rugby World Cup 1995 and saw his incredible impact on his nation and his people. His wisdom, intelligence and sheer presence was a wonder to behold."

— Boxing great Muhammad Ali: "He was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge. He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale."

— Brazil football legend Pele: "He was my hero, my friend."

— FIFA chief Sepp Blatter called him "one of the greatest humanists of our time".

— Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton: "One of the most inspirational human beings to have lived and without doubt the nicest man I ever met."

— English cricket legend Geoffrey Boycott: "I asked if he was a bowler or batsman. He smiled and said he was an all-rounder. I said 'I thought you were a God.'"

— U2 singer Bono: "In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job."

— Britain's Prince William (after attending the London premiere of the new film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"): "We were just reminded of what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was."

— British actor Idris Elba (who plays Mandela in the film): "We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this Earth."

— US actor Morgan Freeman (who played Mandela in the film "Invictus" about the 1995 Rugby World Cup): "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century."

— South African actress Charlize Theron: "Rest in Peace Madiba. You will be missed, but your impact on this world will live forever."

— Microsoft founder Bill Gates: "His grace and courage changed the world."

— Virgin group founder Richard Branson: "Nelson Mandela redefined leadership. He showed that great things can be achieved by leading through wisdom, empathy and integrity, with no other agenda than humanity."

— American billionaire Donald Trump: "Nelson Mandela and myself had a wonderful relationship — he was a special man and will be missed."

— World Bank president Jim Yong Kim: "The world has lost a man who brought a rainbow of possibilities to a country that was segregated into black and white."

Courtesy: PTI