Nelson Mandela is no longer with us. As President Obama said last night, “He now belongs to the ages.” Even though we knew his death was imminent, how can we ever grasp it’s impact on our nation and our world? We in South Africa will always remember that highly vulnerable and volatile moment after his release, when our nation was poised on the edge of a violent, vengeful, and destructive path of transition, how through his sheer forgiving and reconciliatory presence, he moved us in to a new future of peace and reconciliation. With what words do we thank and pay tribute to him for such an act of immense statesmanship and graciousness. There are none, only a deep and grateful silence. Thank you, thank you Nelson Mandela for your life and for leading us through the most dangerous moment in our nation’s history. May your legacy continue to embed itself in us all.
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