Tributes pour in for Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95

Nelson Mandela pictured in 1993. Photo: Chris Bacon/PA Wire Nelson Mandela pictured in 1993. Photo: Chris Bacon/PA Wire

Press Association
Thursday, December 5, 2013
10:54 PM

David Cameron led tributes to South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela, saying “a great light has gone out in the world”.

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The flag at No 10 will be flown at half-mast in honour of the former leader, who was a “hero of our time”, the Prime Minister said.

Taking on Twitter, he wrote: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I’ve asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast.”

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls wrote: “Seeing Nelson Mandela walking free is one of the great moments of my life - proving leadership and hope can triumph. Thank-you. RIP”

Baroness (Betty) Boothroyd, the former Commons speaker, fondly recalled the memories about a visit President Mandela made in 1996.

She said: “I welcomed many leaders to Westminster when I was Speaker but he was by far the most remarkable.

“His speech to the joint Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall in 1996 was a masterpiece of reconciliation after the bitter years of apartheid. He represented ‘an outstanding victory of the human spirit over evil’, I told him.

“He wrote to me afterwards of his delight at the pomp and ceremony of the occasion and its ‘majesty and dignity’.

“He was especially touched by the Queen’s graciousness towards him and the warmth of the British people.

“He was kind enough to add ‘It is friends like yourself who have contributed to making our country the democratic rainbow nation we are today’.

“His modesty during that visit was extraordinary and people loved him all the more because of it. One anecdote illustrates his foresight. On his arrival at the entrance to the Commons, I cautioned him about the treacherous steps in Westminster Hall and said we would take them at his pace.

“’Don’t worry’, he replied. ‘I came to look at them at six o’clock this morning’. With that, the trumpets sounded, he took my hand and we entered together without mishap. He had foreseen the difficulty and worked out the solution hours before.

“He was still looking forward when we last met in South Africa when I went there as Chancellor of the Open University. he said that when he finally entered the pearly gates he would join the local branch of the African National Congress.”

Former prime minister Tony Blair said the political leader was a “great man” who had made racism “not just immoral but stupid”.

“He was a unique political figure at a unique moment in history,” he said.

“Through his leadership, he guided the world into a new era of politics in which black and white, developing and developed, north and south, despite all the huge differences in wealth and opportunity, stood for the first time together on equal terms.

“Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he 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.

“I worked with him closely, and remember well his visits to Downing Street. He was a wonderful man to be around, with a sharp wit, extraordinary political savvy and a lovely way of charming everyone in a building.

“He would delight in making sure that the person on the door or serving the tea would feel at home with him and be greeted by him with the same kindness and respect he would show a leader. So the warmth of his personality was equal to the magnitude of his contribution to the world.

“He was a great man, a great leader and the world’s most powerful symbol of reconciliation, hope and progress.”

In a more detailed statement put out by Downing Street, Mr Cameron said: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death - a true global hero.

“Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace.

“Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life. My heart goes out to his family - and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage.”

In a statement released through NBC News, former US president George W Bush said: “President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time.

“He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example.

“This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy to President Mandela’s family and to the citizens of the nation he loved.”

US president Barack Obama said the world has lost an influential, courageous and “profoundly good” man.

Mr Obama said Mandela “no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.”

Speaking from the White House, Mr Obama said he was one of the countless millions around the world who was influenced by Mandela.

He met Mr Mandela’s family earlier this year when he visited South Africa. But he did not meet the ailing leader, who was in hospital throughout his visit.

20 comments

  • I think its known as the following ...." the posting of a provocative or offensive message, known as "flamebait",to a public Internet discussion group, such as a forum, newsgroup or mailing list, with the intent of provoking an angry response .....". It passes the time for some i suppose.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Nigel - there are also plenty of British Northern Irish groups who are prepared to commit crimes on behalf of the state.

    Report this comment

    Capac Raimi

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • There is no universally accepted definition of the term "terrorist". If you examine it to it's logical conclusion the difference between legitimate force and terrorism splits down the side of whether the force used was funded by a state or privately. There's a glaring logical fallacy in this, in that the persons who generally like to call out "terrorism" are generally from the right wing that like to complain about the squandering of their tax payments and laud the virtues private enterprise. You (and I, and us) are not fit to pass judgement on a man such as Nelson Mandela.

    Report this comment

    Capac Raimi

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • I don't think tributes have been "pouring in" in Norfolk. Eleven comments on this site and not one of them a tribute.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Yes Nigel. Nail on the head. People forget that Amnesty International refused to take up Mandela's case after his imprisonment and they are scrupulous in their decision making. But having had a terrorist start to his political career he did turn out to be better than the ghastly bunch in charge there now. I wouldn't trust Zuma as far as I can throw him. Please remember everyone that the apartheid regime was unarguably an abomination but it does not make everyone who fought them a good guy. That is a very lazy way of writing history.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • The usual half witted comments from buffoons , trolls , attention seekers and wind up merchants.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Capac Raimi, I am a nationalist through and through, mind you it cuts both ways. The west should not exploit any more than we want to be exploited I even want Ireland to be given back to the Irish {which I can assure you does not go down well with right wing thinking people} but the people who have planted explosives and shot people are murderous scum that should burn in hell. Wether Mandela falls into this category depends on your politics, I am not trying to deliberately insult your viewpoint but I believe he a terrorist who has a perchance for public relations.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Whippers, I do not set out to provoke but I do try to make the point in as few words as possible. You may not like my opinion but it is the truth as I see it and yes it does pass the time.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • The radio coverage is overkill . Even TalkSport was completely Mandela , last night . And everyone takes exactly the same position on him. No balanced view .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Capac Raimi, like most people I enjoy history and read a lot. I have come across countless people both in print and `real` life that I am not fit to judge, Mandela is not one of them.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Capac Raimi, one last try. I am nationalist through and through but it cuts both ways, I am totally against British interference in other countries just as I dislike other regimes trying to force their rules on us. I even advocate giving Ireland back to the Irish which I can assure you does not go down well with some but I think the people who have left explosives to kill and maim are murderous scum that should burn in hell. Does Mandela come into this category? In my opinion yes its just perchance that he has a good line in public relations. I have made my point you are welcome to the last word.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

  • Capac Raimi, I did not ignore you my last two attempts at posting never made it, don`t know why.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

  • No doubt we will be force fed a load of puke inducing rubbish about this man, I and I suspect the bulk of the British people could not care less.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • John, are you having a Little Britain moment? It's deeply unseemly.

    Report this comment

    Capac Raimi

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Warm words for a man who was convicted of and imprisoned for terrorism, for blowing up innocent people. Will you be extending the same sentiment to the IRA bombers who bombed Harrods at Christmas when they die? Never a truer phrase than one person's freedom fighter being another person's terrorist.

    Report this comment

    NigelS

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Larson: You need to learn your history. Mr Mandela's life had it's darker side as well. Whether you justify his actions depends on your belief in their cause. Do remember there are plenty of people in Ireland who see the British as minority rulers in part of their country and are prepared to commit crimes under the belief the rulers should be overthrown.

    Report this comment

    NigelS

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • Capac: Too true it is sad to say. There are a lot of people out there who see violence as a way to achieve their goals. At least Mr Mandela devoted the latter part of his life to positive ends. He will be remembered for this, but his transition from a man of violence should be not be overlooked.

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    NigelS

    Friday, December 6, 2013

  • John - you have my interest. Please explain further.

    Report this comment

    Capac Raimi

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

  • Mandela's SWouth Africa is riven with crime, some places are uncontrollable. But I do not blame him for it, it is the duplicity of international companies, their tokenismn and outright refusal to budge that has landed South Africa with a corrupted system. I supported the campaign in the late sixties and seventies, but it was always clear to me that he meant most to those he fought for, not anybody else. That said he has shown that consistent action can work. I'm glad that he lived just that little bit longer than the lady who ordered to shoot at the Belgrano, on her way home. Sadly his death is being used to hide some other appalling news, for example the 11% rise for MP's pay, off course totally against their will........

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, December 8, 2013

  • Capac Raimi, I think Africa southern or otherwise should be ruled by its own people not westerners intent on exploitation or oppression. So you see I am not having a `little Britain` moment, just sick of this constant steam of creeping and crawling to a convicted terrorist who according to some actually walks on water.

    Report this comment

    John Bridge

    Friday, December 6, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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