“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace,” such was the quote on Nelson Mandela’s official Twitter page.
On Thursday the world both mourned the death and celebrated the humanitarian legacy of Nelson Mandela, who died after a six-month battle against pneumonia and other respiratory issues. He was 95.
Although Mandela served only one term as South Africa’s president (1994-1999), his lifelong struggle to right the ills of racism, poverty, and injustice transformed him into an international hero with an almost god-like quality.
Here we’ve collected various tributes from world leaders and other prominent figures on the passing of a giant, the beloved Madiba.
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man and today he’s gone home. We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will ever share time with on this earth. He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.”
“Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings. History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation.”
“The sun will rise tomorrow. It will not be as bright as yesterday. But life will carry on…God is asking South Africans, please become what you are, show the world we are members of one family. We belong together.”
South African President Jacob Zuma:
“[The nation] has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
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.”
“What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that 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.”
“One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time, and get to know him. He was everything you’ve ever heard and more—humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all.”
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair:
“Mandela 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.”
“Mandela was one of the great leaders and teachers of the twentieth century. He conceived a model for mortal enemies to overcome their hatred and find a way through compassion to rebuild a nation based on truth, justice, and the power of forgiveness. His passing should reignite a worldwide effort for peace.”
U2 Frontman Bono:
“It was he who rebooted the idea of Africa from a continent in chaos to a much more romantic view, one in keeping with the majesty of the landscape and the nobility of even its poorer inhabitants. He was also a hardheaded realist, as his economic policy demonstrated. To him, principles and pragmatism were not foes; they went hand in hand. He was an idealist without naiveté, a compromiser without being compromised.”
Share your thoughts below on what Mandela’s legacy means to you.