It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of the former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela–Madiba. Born in Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa, on July 18, 1918, Madiba passed away at 8:50 PM (local time in South Africa) on Thursday, December 5, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He died peacefully in the company of his family of complications from recurring lung infection. He was 95 years old. His death was announced by South African President Jacob Zuma.
A remarkable man and a brilliant principled leader, Madiba was faithful to South Africa. Considered the “father of the nation” (South Africa), Madiba respected the law and basic values of South Africa. As the first democratically-elected President of South Africa, Madiba sought to bring healing to a torn and deeply divided nation-state. Many were inspired by his devotion to improving the lives of those around him. He was regarded by many as a personal hero for decades. The people of South Africa have lost a father. Africa has lost one of her greatest sons. The world (the international community and human rights activists) has lost one of its 20th Century’s greatest leaders. He will certainly be missed!
I join the chorus of sympathizers around the globe in expressing my heartfelt condolences to the people of South Africa, and the entire Mandela family, on the passing of Madiba. No words can satisfactorily express this enormous and irreparable loss to the people of South Africa, the nation of South Africa, the Continent of Africa and the world. Equally, I join the people of South Africa, the African continent and the world in giving thanks for his life, his steward leadership with the highest degree of humility, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes.
I salute President Madiba and thank him for his sacrifices for the freedom of South Africa. Madiba was an amazing pioneer and a consummate champion for freedom and justice. He was one of the world’s most respected statesmen and revolutionaries who led the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He served 27 years in confinement (from June 15, 1964 to February 11, 1991) in Robben Island Prison, off Cape Town, the legislative capital of the Republic of South Africa.
Like so many, in every corner of the globe, I hope the three charitable organizations that he created (the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation) dedicate themselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.
South Africa is now officially in a state of mourning (there will be 10 days of national mourning). All flags will fly at half-mast (beginning Friday, June 6, 2013) until after the state funeral. Crowds have gathered across South Africa to pay tributes. Condolence messages and tributes are pouring in far and near from world leaders for the loss of Madiba and not the least from President Barack Obama of the United States of America. Like so many, in every corner of the globe, I will hold his loved ones, friends, and compatriots in my thoughts and prayers. May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace and light perpetual shine upon them all. Amen!
Written by Bro. Vamba Fofana