Ban Ki-moon speech at Mandela memorial (transcript)

December 10, 2013

The secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, spoke at the memorial for former South African president Nelson Mandela. Here is a transcript of his remarks.

Thanks. President of South Africa, to the Mandela family, your highnesses, and head of state and government -- South Africa, ladies and gentlemen, I am deeply honored to participate in this state memorial service for the late former Nelson Mandela. We join together in sorrow -- and celebration of mighty life.

A wondrous display of this rainbow nation. In nature, rainbow emerges from rain and the sun. It is the symbol of -- and gratitude that I feel today. I hope you will be able to see the rainbow soon. Through the rain of sadness and the sun of celebration, a rainbow is our hearts. On behalf of the United Nations, I offer my deepest condolences to the Mandela family, and to many -- here, and the Mandela’s larger family, the people of South Africa, this is a great continent and in this world.

Ladies and gentlemen, this stadium holds tens of thousands of people, but people in the arena even as big as African continent could not contain our pain today. South Africa has lost a hero. They’ve lost a father (inaudible) friend and mentor. Nelson Mandela was more than one of the greatest leaders of our time. He was he was one of our greatest teachers.

He taught by example. He sacrificed so much and was willing to give up everything here for freedom and equality, for democracy, and justice. His compassion stands out most. He was angry at injustice. He hated hatred (inaudible) He showed awesome power and -- with each other and with the true meaning of peace.

That was his unique gift and that was a lesson he shared with all human kind. He has done it again. Look around the stadium. We see those representing many points of view and people from all walks of life. All are here. All are united today. He left deep roots that reach across the world.

(BREAK IN COVERAGE)

I hope it continues in tolerance and for prosperity and peace. Nelson Mandela showed us a way with a heart larger than this stadium and an infectious smile that as powerful as light. Nelson Mandela is at rest. Let us now be guided and inspired by the spirit he gave all of us, the flame of human rights, the beaker of hope. Nelson Mandela fought throughout his life for each and every one of us. It is the duty of all of us who loved him to keep his memory alive in our hearts and to embody his example in our lives. May he rest in peace. (inaudible)

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Trasncript is courtesy ASC Services.

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