Some, who like Mandela were closely entwined with the struggle to end apartheid, have been paying tribute to the country’s iconic former leader following his death.
Cape Town’s former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that like all South Africans he was “devastated” by Mandela’s death.
“He transcended race and class in his personal actions through his warmth and through his willingness to listen and empathise with others and restored others faith in Africa and Africans,” Tutu told a news conference.
Tutu went on to recall Mandela simply as he was in person, mimicking his friend’s manner and voice.
“At the end of lunch, he walked with me to the door and then he called out “Driver! Driver!” and I realised he thought he was calling my driver. And I told him: ‘No, I drove myself from Soweto’. A few days later he said to me: ‘I have found somebody who is prepared to give you 5,000 rand a month so that you can get a driver’.”
Another tribute came from F.W. de Klerk, South Africa’s Afrikaner former president who released Mandela from jail and was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I think he deserves the image as one of the greatest people on earth during the past century,” de Klerk said.
“I think his greatest legacy to South Africa and to the world is the emphasis which he has always put on the need for reconciliation, on the importance of human rights,” the former president added. “He was a man of great integrity.”
The Nobel award in 1993 came at a time when. despite apartheid’s demise, South Africa came close to civil war.Much of the violence was committed by blacks on blacks.
The man whose words calmed them, paving the way for his own historic election, was Nelson Mandela.