UN chief pays tribute to Mandela's life, legacy

New York, US (PANA) – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday expressed his profound sadness at the passing of Nelson Mandela, extolling the life of the late human rights lawyer, prisoner of conscience, international peacemaker and first democratically-elected President of post-apartheid South Africa as an inspiration for all.

Madiba, as Mr. Mandela was affectionately known, passed on Thursday at his home in Johannesburg. He was 95.

A UN statement quoted Ban as saying "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a own-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 said.

He noted that many people worldwide were greatly influenced by Mr. Mandela’s selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom.

Ban said: "Mandela has 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.

"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."

Ban also said: "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."

Recalling his memories of meeting Mr. Mandela, the secretary-general said he had been deeply touched and inspired.

"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," he stressed.

South African President Jacob Zuma announced the passing of the revered leader on Thursday on television.

He said Mandela, 95, died "peacefully" at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, with his family and friends around him.

President Zuma said: "Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rohlihla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed.

"He passed on peacefully. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love."
-0- PANA AA/MA 5Dec2013

05 december 2013 22:59:24

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