Nigerian president describes Mandela as "greatest liberator of mankind"

2013-12-06 09:40:38 GMT2013-12-06 17:40:38(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ABUJA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela will be remembered and honored by mankind as one of its greatest liberators, Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan said in a condolence letter on Friday.

In the letter, Jonathan expressed sadness over the demise of Madiba and further described him as a wise, courageous and compassionate leader, and an icon of true democracy.

The letter conveyed the Nigerian leader's sympathy and solidarity of the people of his country to Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, and all South Africans as they mourn the late anti-apartheid icon.

"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 and will be eternally honored for his immense contribution to the dismantling of the apartheid policy, one of the world's most obnoxious systems whose under-pining philosophy was the degradation of man by man," Jonathan said.

Mandela, born in 1918 to a rural family in South Africa, joined the African National Congress (ANC) party in the early 1940s. Yet he spent 27 years in prison starting from 1962 after being convicted of treason by the then white minority government. Then he forged a peaceful end to white rule by negotiating with his captors after his release in 1990.

He led the ANC, a long banned liberation movement, to a resounding electoral victory in 1994, thus becoming South Africa's first black president.

Nelson Mandela has died at age 95

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Former South African president Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95 Thursday, President Jacob Zuma announced in a televised speech to the nation.

"Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation has departed," Zuma said. Full story

UN mourns passing of Nelson Mandela

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Thursday mourned the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela and gave his "deepest condolence" to the family of Mandela and the people of South Africa and Africa as a whole.

"I am profoundly saddened by the passing of Nelson Mandela," Ban told reporters here. "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration."Full Story

S.African gov't announces state funeral for Mandela

JOHANNESBURG, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Thursday evening announced that a state funeral will be held for former president Nelson Mandela, who just died at the age of 95.

President Jacob Zuma said in a statement "Our beloved Mandela will be accorded a state funeral."Full Story

Obama says Mandela "achieves more than could be expected of any man"

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, saying the former South African president has "achieved more than could be expected of any man."

In a televised speech at the White House, Obama hailed Mandela as a man who has made real his ideal of "a democratic and free society" in which all live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

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