World leaders, South Africans react to Nelson Mandela’s death

December 5, 2013

The world pays tribute

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California:

“President Mandela’s life is the closest thing we have to proof of God.”

Mathatha Tsedu, South African journalist:

“This is a man who had no unfulfilled missions.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron:

“A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.”

Craig Von Hagen, a South African-born Washington resident:

“We would have gone down a much different path. . . . Nelson Mandela united South Africa in a way no man in history has done — except Gandhi.”

Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s delegate to Congress (D) and a former anti-apartheid activist: “I met a man who had no visible and outward sense of his own greatness. It’s an example that we’ve almost never seen in the world, of self-effacing leadership that asks nothing from the people. It’s a model for leadership that is still not much imitated.”

Former president George W. Bush:

“He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example. This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever.”

Former president
Bill Clinton:

“I will never forget my friend Madiba.”

Alastair Campbell, former press secretary to former British prime minister Tony Blair:

“He made the hair on your neck stand to attention.”

Cheseter Crocker, State Department official in the Reagan administration:

“This was a person with an enormous, really winning, human touch. He understood that he had the special capacity to help the last generation of [whites] to escape the political and mental prison they were trapped in.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):

“In a way, Mandela was both the George Washington and Abraham Lincoln of his country. We’re so fortunate to have lived in his time.”

Peter Boyce, a campaign consultant among those keeping vigil Thursday at the South African Embassy

“What grabs me is he didn’t take anger with him when ruling South Africa. To do that as a man makes him more godlike.”

Rep. Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.), House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman

“Most impressively, he elected to serve a single presidential term, turning over power he assuredly could have kept.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

“Madiba’s patience through imprisonment and insistence on unity over vengeance in the delicate period in which he served stand as a permanent reminder to the world of the value of perseverance and the positive influence one good man or woman can have over the course of human affairs. “

Secretary of State John Kerry

“Madiba’s ‘long walk to freedom’ gave new meaning to courage, character, forgiveness, and human dignity. Now that his long walk has ended, the example he set for all humanity lives on.”

President Obama

“I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action — the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. . . . The day he was released from prison, it gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears.”

Rev. Desmond Tutu

“Thank God for this remarkable gift to South Africa and the world. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

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