15 December 2013

South Africa: Mandela Taught Forgiveness: Obit

Photo: PHOTOESSAY: State Funeral of Nelson Mandela

Members of the South African National Defence Force accompany the casket of former South African president Nelson Mandela to the state funeral.

Qunu — It was through former president Nelson Mandela that the world learned the spirit of endurance and forgiveness, read an obituary delivered at his state funeral in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.

"It is through Mandela that the world cast its eyes on South Africa and took notice of the severe and organised repression of black South Africans," his grandson Ndaba Mandela said, reading the obituary to mourners.

"Yet, it was also through Mandela that the world would learn the spirit of endurance, the triumph of forgiveness and the beauty of reconciliation. Indeed, the story of Nelson Mandela is so much the story of South Africa."

In a life that symbolised the triumph of the human spirit, Mandela and former president FW de Klerk accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 on behalf of all South Africans who had suffered and sacrificed so much to bring peace to South Africa.

"The world icon worked tirelessly even after the achievement of democracy in South Africa to continue improving lives," Mandela read.

The obituary was contained in the programme distributed to mourners.

"Even as he retired from politics, his attention shifted to social issues such as HIV and Aids and the well-being of the nation's children."

As a testimony to his sharp political intellect, wisdom, and unrelenting commitment to make the world a better place, Mandela had formed the Elders group who, with other prominent world leaders, used their collective influence and experience to support peace and promote the shared interests of humanity.

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