Nelson Mandela was an enigma, yet an icon of true reconciliation. Few adjectives can do justice to the man who came to embody a unique political culture.
Mandela stood as a symbol of resilience, fortitude, patience and tolerance. He also exhibited exceptional leadership qualities, which will shape and inspire generations to come.
I had deep respect for Mandela the man, the institution, because he rose from decades of fruitless persecution and sowed a unifying seed for South Africa.
He stood against the politics of retribution and worked with Frederick de Klerk to further the cause of a unified post-apartheid South Africa.
Madiba was a man of great spiritual elegance, a man of towering moral height. His moral compass pointed out to millions around the world a sense of purpose and a moral mandate strong enough to prompt defiance of leaders bent on propping up the apartheid regime.
What will now be lost to the world is the unifying effect of a man who held to his principles in the face of Western governments who branded him for years as a terrorist, when he was a dignified freedom fighter.
We have lost not only a statesman, but also a grand pillar of sincerity in global affairs, originality and one who demonstrated a pure sense of humanity.
My sincere condolences go to the family, government and people of South Africa on the passing of our dear brother and friend.
- A statement by H.E. Jerry John Rawlings on the sad news of the passing of President Nelson Mandela.