White House

Obama: Nelson Mandela ‘Belongs to the Ages’

The president paid tribute late Thursday to the former South African president.

President Obama looks out the window from the cell where Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist, was once jailed on Robben Island, on June 30, 2013.
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Matt Berman
Dec. 5, 2013, 12:28 p.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama mourned the passing of one of the most “in­flu­en­tial, cour­ageous, and pro­foundly good” lead­ers of all time in a Thursday night state­ment on the passing of a Nel­son Man­dela.”I am one of the count­less mil­lions who drew in­spir­a­tion from Nel­son Man­dela’s life.”

Man­dela, Obama said, “achieved more than could be ex­pec­ted from any man.” It is for us, the pres­id­ent said, to “strive for a fu­ture that is worthy of his sac­ri­fice.”

Former South Afric­an Pres­id­ent Nel­son Man­dela died Thursday at the age of 95, said cur­rent South Afric­an Pres­id­ent Jac­ob Zuma. “Our na­tion has lost its greatest son,” Zuma said in a tele­vised ad­dress.

Obama, of course wasn’t the only U.S. pub­lic fig­ure to make a state­ment on Man­dela’s passing. “In a way,” Harry Re­id tweeted, “Man­dela was both the ‘George Wash­ing­ton’ and ‘Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln’ of his coun­try. We’re so for­tu­nate to have lived in his time.” Man­dela was an “un­re­lent­ing voice for demo­cracy,” said House Speak­er John Boehner. The former South Afric­an pres­id­ent “bore his bur­dens with dig­nity and grace, and our world is bet­ter off be­cause of his ex­ample,” said former U.S. pres­id­ent George W. Bush.


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