“He stood for freedom, he fought against those who oppressed others.”
The South African president’s words as the country holds a day of prayer and reflection for Nelson Mandela.
Jacob Zuma sat alongside Mandela’s former wife Winnie at the Bryanston Methodist Church in Johannesburg.
Earlier he urged South Africans to “sing for Madiba” at the top of their voices, as the country remembers its first black president who steered his nation out of apartheid and into multi-racial democracy.
In church he told the congregation: “After this unprecedented loss in our country, the departing of our father, of our leader, of our first President of a democratic South Africa, of our icon, we thought it was absolutely important that as we as a nation and the world are mourning and remembering Tata.”
Mandela’s family have thanked people at home and across the world for their support.
As South Africa begins a week of events commemorating his life and the tumultuous changes he brought about, many people’s thoughts are also turning to the nation’s future six months before presidential and parliamentary elections.