Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Sir Shridath Ramphal: Commonwealth Secretary-General (1975-1990)
Nelson Mandela, a revered world statesman who emerged from prison after 27 years to lead South Africa out of its dark days of apartheid, has died, President Jacob Zuma announced. He was 95, according to CNN.
The former president battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.
In a nation healing from the scars of apartheid, Mandela became the moral compass.
His defiance of white-minority rule and his incarceration for fighting against segregation focused the world’s attention on South Africa’s apartheid system, making him a symbol of the struggle for racial equality.
In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from being considered a terrorist, to an imprisoned freedom fighter, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman respected worldwide.
His indomitable spirit will forever inspire people in pursuit of freedom and justice; his humanity will be a beacon for all who are wronged. He made our troubled age less shameful by his own nobility.
That my official Commonwealth residence was the one he came to when first he came to London, after his release from prison, to meet those who fought with him against apartheid and the injustices of the apartheid regime, will forever be a badge of honour for the Commonwealth.