Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada and Proudly South African have joined the throngs of people mourning the passing of former President Nelson Mandela.
President Jacob Zuma late on Thursday night announced Madiba’s passing from the Union Buildings. He said Mandela had passed on peacefully in the company of his family.
Kathrada and Madiba affectionately called each other Madala (old man). He recalled the first time he met Mandela in the 1940s at a special meeting. The two had known each other for 67 years.
Kathrada said the former statesman was the epitome of respect for fellow beings, and he embodied the ability to relate easily to every strata of society.
“Your abundant reserves of love, simplicity, honesty, service, humility, care, courage, foresight, patience, tolerance, equality and justice continually served as a source of enormous strength to me and so many millions of people around the world,” he said of Mandela, who passed away at his Houghton home in Johannesburg last night.
“My visit to you in hospital was filled with an overwhelming mixture of sadness, emotion and pride. At the same time, it was profoundly heart-breaking and brought me to the verge of tears when my thoughts automatically flashed back to the man I grew up under,” said Kathrada of Madiba’s almost three-month hospital stay that ended in September.
Kathrada saluted Mandela and expressed pride “that after the long walk paved with obstacles and suffering, we salute you as a fighter for freedom to the end”.
Proudly South African chief executive Advocate Leslie Sedibe said the first democratically elected President of the country embodied compassion, forgiveness and a limitless love for people
“It is a day of great sadness for us, as we face our first day in a post-Mandela South Africa with heavy hearts. We pay tribute to a most extraordinary leader, who taught us and the world that love is stronger than hate – and that forgiveness can overcome wrath,” said Sedibe.
Proudly South African called on the nation to honour his memory by living out his legacy and standing united as a nation.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation called on South Africans to stand together in the days ahead in honouring the dignity of Madiba.
“We know you share with many of us the same passionate we wish to see Nelson Mandela’s legacy being kept alive and made available to the world. His legacy lives on in all of us – it is in our hands now,” said the body’s chairman Njabulo Ndebele. – SAnews.gov.za
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