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Mandela Passes: Tribute to one of History’s Greatest Leaders

On a very, very sad day, we take a look at how the world pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

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On a very, very sad day, we take a look at how the world pays tribute to Nelson Mandela



The sign of a true hero is that he can bring the world together. Nelson Mandela, even in death, has managed to get world leaders, celebrities, and politicians alike to come together and pay homage. What an inspiration he was, and forever will be.


1. Jacob Zuma (President, South Africa)

“He is now resting. He is now at peace.”

2. Barack Obama (President, United States)

“He achieved more than could be expected of any man […]”
“Today he's gone home, and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth.”
“So long as I live, I will do whatever I can to learn from him.”



3. David Cameron (Prime Minister, United Kingdom)

“A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.”

4. Goodluck Jonathan (President, Nigeria)

“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 honored for his immense contribution to the dismantling of the apartheid policy.”

5. Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister, Israel)

“He was the father of his nation, a man of vision, a fighter for freedom who avoided violence.”

6. Moussa Abu Marzouk (Senior Official, Hamas)

“Today a great freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela has died, one of the world's most important symbols of freedom.”

7. Nicolás Maduro (President, Venezuela)

“Nine months since the passing of our comandante (Hugo Chavez), another giant of the people of the world passed away today. Madiba, you will live forever!”

8. Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General, 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.”

Note: The UN Security Council was in session when ambassadors received news of Mandela’s death. The meeting was paused and they stood for a minute of silence.



9. Muhammad Ali (Boxer, Former World Heavyweight Champion)

“He made us realize, we are our brother's keeper and that our brothers come in all colors. 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.”

10. Morgan Freeman (Actor – played Mandela in Invictus)

“Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve--a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go.”

11. Idris Elba (Actor – played Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

“What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

12. Desmond Tutu (Social activist)

“He taught us that to respect those with whom we are politically or socially or culturally at odds is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of self-respect.”

13. Oprah Winfrey (Philanthropist)

“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.”



14. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, Canada)

“All of Canada mourns with the family of Nelson Mandela and the citizens of South Africa. The world has lost one of its great moral leaders.”

15. John Kerry (Secretary of State, United States)

“Madiba’s ‘long walk to freedom’ gave new meaning to courage, character, forgiveness, and human dignity. Now that his long walk has ended, the example he set for all humanity lives on. He will be remembered as a pioneer for peace.”

16. Bono (Musician)

“Mandela played with the highest stakes. He put his family, his country, his time, his life on the line, and he won most of these contests. Stubborn till the end for all the right reasons, it felt like he very nearly outstared his maker. Today, finally, he blinked.”

Nelson Mandela has left behind a legacy for us to follow. He spent 27 years behind bars, suffering the wrath of oppressors, and even when he gained power, he chose to not treat his oppressors the way they had treated him. Surely if there were more people like Mandela in the world, it would be a happier place.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.



Nelson R. Mandela (1918 – 2013)

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