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Thank you Madiba

Could it be said again, one day, never and never again will a special human being of Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela's stature walk this planet? Straddling two millennia he became a global icon displaying a rare humanity that embraced every strata of society.  Should it not be our fervent hope that no-one will have to fill his shoes and walk his path again? If his lesson of peace and reconciliation was embedded in every human being then the world will no longer need heroes of his ilk.  
It was just more than three years of Mr Mandela’s tenure as the first democratically elected President of South Africa in 1997, when the print version of Foreign Exchange was launched.  It was the first monthly publication that reported specifically on events of the diplomatic missions based in South Africa.  Aligned to Mr Mandela’s vision for global dialogue and peace Foreign Exchange was a platform for diplomatic exchanges in South Africa.
In his actions, Mr Mandela was a consummate diplomat.  He sought to bring people together.  He went so far as to meet with his so-called enemies – proponents of the reviled apartheid system.  He was gracious to democrat and dictator alike.  Time and time again his admirers and adversaries declared how he saw humanity in others.
Candid about his own shortcomings and vulnerability, Mr Mandela imbued a rare leadership which leaders the world-over could do well to emulate.  How much of the strife that constantly plagues the world could be alleviated if his example was followed?
We pay tribute to a hero, whose contribution to freedom in South Africa allowed the birth our publication, now rebranded as The Diplomatic Society.  It is due to the presence of a democratic state that the publication is enjoyed all over the world both as a print and online medium. In honouring his legacy, The Diplomatic Society will continue to highlight the role that diplomacy can play in building global peace and partnerships so that each citizen of the world can respect others and feel respected; and enjoy the benefit of honest economic development.



 South African High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Geoffrey Doidge Reflects on the Enduring Legacy of Nelson Mandela

President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka at the lying in state of Nelson Mandela


President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka at the Union Buildings in Pretoria paying his respects to the Late President Nelson Mandela


Tributes to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the former President of South Africa abounded following his passing on 5th December 2013. His death has prompted public grief on an unprecedented global scale, with many countries declaring a period of mourning for this icon of freedom, justice and reconciliation. Paying tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela High Commissioner Geoffrey Doidge of South Africa speaks to Srimal Fernando, Global Editor of The Diplomatic Society.

South African High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Geoffrey Doidge High Commissioner Geoffrey Doidge of South Africa
It is very difficult for us to grasp what Mandela went through in his life and what must have gone through his mind. He was extraordinary in almost anything that he did. He had enormous faith in humanity and is an example of the human spirit that can overcome all the odds.
I don’t think any of us realize the vision that came out of his leadership and strength. He certainly knew where the end goal was. There was no time for pettiness and cheap politicking in his life.  He was a very constructive person, he utilized every single moment in his life to guide us and to provide leadership for South Africa from a very troubled past to drawing up one of the most democratic constitutions in the world. This has far reaching implications, I think, far further than many of us South Africans realize.
Mandela was the embodiment of the values that could create a better world. He was a peacemaker, incorruptible and he was not swayed by emotion. On being released from imprisonment after so many years he did not seek revenge, he rose above the emotions, positively influencing and convincing people in what needs to be achieved. He was a man of conviction and he conveyed it with authority and confidence. Forgiveness, understanding and being able to reach out to people are some of his the strongest points. He did not circumb to short sightedness or showing any bitterness or negativity.
So as we pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and celebrate his life, we are in mourning at the loss of our leader, our father. Our condolences are expressed to the Mandela family who so willingly shared him with the nation and the world. We take for granted their sacrifice for the benefit of us all. We owe them a great deal of gratitude and thank them.
Mandela’s passing has left mixed feelings of deep sadness, profound gratitude, joyous celebration and anxious anticipation for the future of South Africa.   
As Deputy Chief Whip of the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling majority, in the South African Parliament my seat was directly behind President Mandela. This is an experience I will cherish. He always found time to be in parliament attentively listening to the debates. I have personally taken him as a mentor in my life. I have modelled all my work on the values he imparted to us.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka who attended the Memorial service in South Africa. We thank countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal for their responsiveness to the passing of President Mandela. We also appreciate the day of commemoration in Sri Lanka and for the messages of condolences that we received from the countries across the region.




Memorial Service Honoring the Life Of Nelson Mandela held in Colombo


By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor

Geoffrey  Doidge ,Carol Doidge .Hon .Ranil Wickremesinghe Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament. Hon Nimal Siripala de Silva MP Sri Lanka's Cabinet Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources

(r-l) Geoffrey  Doidge, Carol Doidge, Hon .Ranil Wickremesinghe Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament, Hon Nimal Siripala de Silva MP Sri Lanka's Cabinet Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources

 Memorial services to honor, mourn and celebrate the life, leadership and the enduring legacy of President Nelson Mandela was held in Colombo on 14th December 2013. The South African High Commission and the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka invited Sri Lankan compatriots and friends of South Africa to celebrate the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela at a service of thanksgiving at the Cathedral of Christ, the Living Saviour in Colombo. The memorial service was held this morning with many  people bowing their heads or clasped hands with loved ones at the Cathedral .


In his honor South African High Commissioner, Mr Geoff Q.M Doidge offered a heartfelt tribute to celebrate Madiba’s extraordinary life and his contribution to all of humanity. The thanksgiving mass was a moment of sadness celebrated by prayers and hymns.

 Mr Michael Thekiso

Mr Michael Thekiso

A gospel choir sang “Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father”. The first message was read by Ven Dr Ittapane Dhammalankara Mahanayaka Thero .The bible reading was by Mr Michael Thekiso. Rev W. P Ebenezer Joseph, General Secretary National Christian Council of Sri Lanka sermon was followed by a special song performed by Ms Kgomotoso Mamaila.  Rt Rev Dhiloraj Canagasabey the Bishop of Colombo Church of Ceylon  offered the prayers of Benediction. Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament, Hon Nimal Siripala de Silva MP Sri Lanka's Cabinet Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, religious leaders representing various ethnicities, diplomats, the media, civil society and many distinguished guests attended the  memorial service in honour of Nelson Mandela.

H.E  Wu Jianghao Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Sri Lanka signing the Condolence Book

H.E  Wu Jianghao Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Sri Lanka signing the Condolence Book

The memorial service closed with the singing of the South African National anthem by Ms Kgomotoso Mamaila. The Book of Condolences remained open at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour.





Embassy of Georgia in South Africa

Embassy of Georgia expresses deepest sorrow and shares the grief of South Africans over the loss of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. His monumental character - larger than life - has transitioned South Africa into true freedom and democracy. His example and his legacy will also inspire worldwide many generations who choose an uncompromising stand for the cause of liberty. In this sad moment, our thoughts and prayers are with the Government and people of South Africa, the family members and the loved once of Madiba. 





Statement of the Georgian Foreign Ministry in reaction to the death of the former South African President, Mr Nelson Mandela

The Georgian Foreign Ministry wishes to express its deep sorrow over the death of the former South African President and Nobel Laureate, Mr Nelson Mandela, and conveys its condolences to the government and people of South Africa and to Mr Mandela's family.

Mr Mandela played an important role and made a great contribution to our times; he was the quintessence of tolerance in relentless pursuit of universal ideals, and his life will pass into history as a legendary example of bravery, tolerance and wisdom.

6 December 2013

 Ould Khelifa signs book of condolences on behalf of President of Algeria

(l-r) Mr Mohammed Mancier, Ambassador Joseph Kotane, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Lieutenant-general Ahmed Gaid Salah, Minister Ramtane Lamamra. (In front) Mr Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa


(l-r) Mr Mohammed Mancier  , Ambassador Joseph Kotane, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Lieutenant-general Ahmed Gaid Salah, Minister Ramtane Lamamra. (In front) Mr Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa – South African Embassy Algiers


Speaker of People’s National Assembly (Lower House of Parliament) Mohamed Larbi Ould Khelifa signed, Sunday 08 December 2013 at the South African Embassy in Algiers, the book of condolences on behalf of President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika, following the death of former President Nelson Mandela.


Ould Khelifa was accompanied by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Foreign Affairs Minister Ramtane Lamamra and Lieutenant-general Ahmed Gaid Salah, Deputy Minister for National Defence, Chief of Staff of People’s National Army (ANP).

South African Embassy Algiers




Philippines: Remembrance Ceremony held for Nelson Mandela

The South African Embassy in Manila partnered with the United Nations and the RCBC to host a “Remembrance Ceremony” on 10 December 2013 at 10.30 am at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza.

Display of the Nelson Mandela photo at the lobby of RCBC Plaza in Manila, 10-13 December 2013. 
Display of the Nelson Mandela photo at the lobby of RCBC Plaza in Manila, 10-13 December 2013.

In attendance were members of the diplomatic society, South Africans, business people, members of Philippine’s DIWATA (Women in Mining Group), Filipinos and local media.  The DIWATA was founded by former Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador Delia Albert on 18 July 2011 in honour of the late Former President Mandela.
Prior to the Remembrance Ceremony, President Benigno Aquino III visited the Embassy to sign the book of condolences.
 The following was the President’s message:
“May your life truly well lived continue to shine as the example for all who strive to make this a better world.”

President Benigno Aquino III’s moment of silence prior to signing the condolence book with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso. 
President Benigno Aquino III’s moment of silence prior to signing the condolence book with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso.

The “Remembrance Ceremony” commenced after President Aquino signed the book of condolence. After the message from Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso, former Secretary of Philippine Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Delia Albert, talked about the late President Mandela and his views on wealth creation for economic development.  The UN Resident Coordinator, Luiza Carvalho gave tribute to the late Former President Nelson Mandela and this was followed by a tribute video on Nelson Mandela.  Three Embassy staff narrated the struggles of Former Mandela and South Africa’s economic achievements thus far while two other staff members read the obituary.  The ceremony ended with a pledge by all attendees to uphold the principles by which Mandela lived by.

Faculty members at St. Scholastica’s College School of Business signing the book of condolence.

Faculty members at St. Scholastica’s College School of Business signing the book of condolence.

Apart from the above events, a total of eight (8) universities and churches held their own memorial services all over the Philippines, with the former also signing the book of condolence.  Seven of these schools participated in the Nelson Mandela travelling exhibition which was launched by the Embassy on 18 July 2013 whilst the Lyceum of the Philippines University will host the exhibition starting 09 January 2014.  It is the Embassy’s wish for this travelling exhibition to continue till 18 July 2014.

SA Embassy Manila, Philippines




French pay tribute to Mr Nelson Mandela

The Eiffel Tower with the inscription "NELSON MANDELA 1918-2013"


The Eiffel Tower with the inscription "NELSON MANDELA 1918-2013"


As South Africa and the world bid a final farewell to former President Nelson Mandela, our beloved Madiba, the French too will celebrate his life. The South Africa-France Seasons 2012 & 2013, in partnership with the City of Paris and SETE (la Sociète d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel) have arranged a special tribute to Mandela by illuminating the Eiffel Tower between 14-16 December 2013.

For three nights, the inscription "NELSON MANDELA 1918-2013" will light up on the Trocadero facade of the Eiffel Tower in illuminated five meter-high letters; while the tower's light beams with be lit in the colours of the South African flag.

Mr Paul Mashatile, South African Minister of Arts and Culture, says, “We thank the people of France for their support during this painful time. Let us continue celebrating Tata Madiba’s life and the virtues that he stood for. In paying tribute to him, let us also remember that he has run a successful race. He has made his mark. He has earned his rest. Madiba will continue to be a source of inspiration, spurring us on to believe that tomorrow will be better that today and yesterday; and that the goal of a caring and more humane world is within reach".

On Sunday 15 December, the day that Mandela's funeral is scheduled to take place in his childhood village of Qunu, this tribute will commence at 17h30. At the same time, a public initiative organised on the Facebook page "The Eiffel Tower and 1000 Candles for Nelson Mandela on 15 December in Paris" invites the citizens of Paris to gather on the Esplanade of Human Rights with a candle. Each person's candle is to be lit at 17h30.

The tribute will continue on 16 December, on South Africa's Day of Reconciliation, a public holiday renamed by Mandela himself. 

Bongani Tembe, Commissioner-General of the South African Season in France says "I am convinced that the people of South Africa will be touched deeply by this heart-warming tribute to Madiba. Just as he illuminated our lives with messages of peace, love and inspiration, so too will the Eiffel Tower be lit up in his honour.”

The Seasons will come to a close next week in Paris after approximately 1,000 artists, cultural heritage practitioners, academics, children and sportsmen from South Africa travelled to France to take part in a multi-faceted collaboration between the two countries. In honour of Mandela a garden in central Paris will be named after him at a ceremony to be held next week; the naming ceremony will be attended by Minister Mashatile.

Photo: T. Chapotot 

South Africa - France Seasons 2012 & 2013







Germany mourns Nelson Mandela

Dec 6, 2013

It is with deep sadness that Germany bids farewell to former South African President Nelson Mandela.

German President Joachim Gauck, German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and German Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle have conveyed their heartfelt condolences to their South African counterparts.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement to express his condolences after hearing the news of Nelson Mandela's death:

“South Africa and the world have lost a great human being and an outstanding statesman.

Nelson Mandela’s political visions of peace and freedom, of the indomitable power of reconciliation and compassion, were and remain a source of hope and inspiration to people in Africa and throughout the world.

His name will always be associated with the peaceful transition from the iniquitous apartheid regime to democracy and the rule of law. And not only that – Nelson Mandela symbolises the fight against inequality and racism, the struggle to conquer hatred and, in short, to bring about a better world.

We have an obligation to uphold his legacy.”





Africa is bereaved


Madiba Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Pan African hero, Former South African President is no more.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on behalf of the Commission and its staff, and indeed, on behalf of the Union and the rest of the continent, expressed her grief on the passing of a Pan African icon and Nobel Peace Laureate, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Madiba, as he was fondly known, symbolises the spirit of Pan Africanism and solidarity in the struggles of humanity against apartheid, oppression and colonialism and for self-determination, peace and reconciliation.

Before his imprisonment in 1963 for twenty seven years, he visited countless African countries that without fail pledged and rendered unflinching support for the struggle of the South African people.

Mandela has fought a good fight, and bowed out with great reverence. His passing on is a great loss to his family, to our continent and indeed to humanity itself.

At this sad time of sorrow, our hearts and thoughts are with his widow, Graça Machel, his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, his children, grand and great-grandchildren and the people of South Africa and Africa. Tata Madiba Mandela will forever be missed.

The African Union dips its banners and rededicates Africa to continue to honour his legacy. The Chairperson has instructed that flags at the AU will fly at half-mast and a Condolences book will be opened at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The African Union Commission will have a wall of remembrance on its website, and Africans are encouraged to deposit messages of condolences on the site.

H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Chairperson, African Union Commission









It is with a deep sense of shock and sadness that I learnt of the passing on of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the former President of the Republic of South Africa, an icon, a legend and a world statesman.   Thursday December 5, 2013 is a great landmark for the whole of humanity.

Nelson Mandela’s life greatly affected human beings in the South, North, East, West, and Centre. He inspired people in various fields of life.

We in Zambia knew him before our 1964 independence. At a Pan African meeting, we struck friendship with Nelson Mandela and his ANC team.
In Zambia, our collaboration with the ANC began before our independence. After our independence, as with other independence and liberation movements we were supporting, ANC had its external headquarters in Lusaka. We worked for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and the removal of the evil of Apartheid.

When Nelson Mandela was released in 1990, we were privileged that the first country he visited was Zambia.   Our personal friendship continued when he was President of South Africa and when he left office. He still continued to inspire many people in various parts of the world.

Madiba has left a legacy of unity and reconciliation not only to South Africa and the African continent, but to the world at large.  He will forever be remembered for the critical role he played to liberate South Africa from the abominable system of apartheid and to help bring about a non-racial South Africa in which all people live in harmony and without discrimination.

The apartheid regime was an evil system which the international community had abhorred and fought against.  As the freedom struggle intensified in South Africa, the racist regime resorted to brutal tactics and practices which included arresting leaders of the freedom struggle including Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for 27 years for demanding the exercise of civil and political rights by all South Africans.  

As we mourn the passing on of our dear Madiba, let us remember to love God our Creator with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our minds and with all our strengths.  Nelson Mandela has demonstrated to the whole world to love our neighbours as we love ourselves and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  It is my hope and prayer that succeeding generations will continue to emulate Madiba’s exemplary and selflessness character, humility and inner decisiveness on issues affecting the human race in this, our one world.

It is my appeal to my dear brothers and sisters in South Africa that during this painful period you continue to live in peace and harmony as you mourn Madiba with dignity and honour.  Let us remember that Madiba stood for unity, peace and reconciliation among all South Africans regardless of race, colour, creed, ethnicity, religion and other factors.

May the Soul of our dear departed Madiba rest in eternal peace.

God Bless South Africa
God Bless Africa
Goodwill to humanity!





Minister Nkoana-Mashabane pays tribute to former President Nelson Mandela

South Africans and millions of people from around the world are today mourning the loss of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, our first democratically elected President of a free South Africa.
An international icon and a symbol of hope for the oppressed and marginalised people across the globe, former President Mandela dedicated his life in service of humanity and contributed immensely to the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world.
Former President Mandela worked tirelessly in the struggle for democracy and for the promotion and protection of human rights internationally.
Today, we pay tribute to this formidable Statesman’s long history and leading role in, and support for Africa’s struggle for liberation and unity, and outstanding contribution to the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa.
Former President Mandela will always be remembered worldwide for his values and dedication to the service of humanity in the fields of conflict resolution, reconciliation, the promotion and protection of the rights of children, gender equality and the uplifting of the poor.  
During his lifetime, former President Mandela was bestowed with numerous awards and honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
At the initiative of the South African Government and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the United Nations General Assembly, in 2010, proclaimed 18 July, the birthday of Former President Mandela, as “Nelson Mandela International Day”, to be observed each year.
Since 2010, millions of people from around the world have annually celebrated Madiba’s birthday by dedicating their time in community service - their actions inspired by the life’s work of this iconic South African leader.  This is the only fitting way to pay tribute to this great man – by looking back at his public and political life and emulating his selflessness and kindness.
Former President Mandela once said that “to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” These words remain true as we celebrate South Africa’s 20th Anniversary of Freedom and Democracy next year.
Through his extraordinary actions and personality, Madiba remains a moral compass that all of us will forever look up to.






Australia pays tribute to a champion of reconciliation


Pretoria – 6 December 2013
The Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Mr Graeme Wilson, today joined the Australian Governor-General, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in paying tribute to Nelson Mandela on behalf of the Australian Government and people.
"The world has lost one of the greatest and most respected leaders of the 20th century. Nelson Mandela was a true champion of reconciliation and a tireless advocate for justice, human dignity and freedom. He was a source of inspiration to people from around the globe."
"With the sad news of his passing, I express the condolences of all Australians to Mr Mandela's widow Graça Machel, his children and the people of South Africa, who have lost their nation's iconic father and its greatest son", Mr Wilson said.
Mr Wilson said Australia was proud to have shared in the struggle against apartheid and to have contributed to South Africa’s transformation into a free, democratic and vibrant nation.  Australians also cherished the memories of Nelson Mandela and the strong bonds that were established with South Africa through him and through the noble values he symbolised.
"Nelson Mandela has always been held in great affection and esteem by Australia. Shortly after his release from Robben Island, Australia welcomed Mr Mandela to Australian shores and he was later honoured with the nation's highest award, the Companion of the Order of Australia. He will be deeply missed and always revered," Mr Wilson concluded.
Australian High Commission, South Africa


South African nation mourns the passing of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela


Johannesburg, Friday 6 December 2013 – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, South Africa’s former President who dedicated his life to the country’s struggle for human rights, freedom and the fight for democracy, passed away last night at the age of 95.


Brand South Africa Chairperson Chichi Maponya joins the nation, leaders from across the world and the broader international community, in expressing deep sorrow at the passing of former President Nelson Mandela saying, “Madiba embodied our hopes and the realisation of our dreams.”


“We are in deep mourning following this loss of indescribable magnitude which is today reverberating across the world.  During his imprisonment for 27 years, Madiba carried the aspirations of multitudes of our people who yearned for a free and democratic South Africa.  He inspired South Africans and people around the world alike to fight for South Africa’s liberation despite the seeming impossibility of this vision.”


“One of the greatest gifts he has bequeathed to this nation is the courage and strength to believe in a tomorrow that is better than today, a tomorrow in which our people live in dignity and prosperity.”


“He lived these ideals and brought them to life during his leadership of the country.  He has inspired thousands of people to make these same values a part of their lives even when he left public office.”  “To many, Nelson Mandela will be remembered as the greatest statesman in the world.  His voice and inspirational leadership has contributed enormously to the global fight for democracy and human rights and this has touched millions of people far beyond the borders of our country.”


“It is now up to each of us to carry this work forward, to play our part to ensure his legacy endures and South Africa continues to inspire triumph over seemingly insurmountable challenges.  As South Africa marks 20 years of democracy, we must continue the work of Madiba – the work of building a society in which all our people enjoy the best that South Africa has to offer, freedom from want, prosperity and development.”


“We join the nation and the world in conveying our deepest condolences to the Mandela family.  We also offer our immense gratitude and appreciation for sharing Tata with us.  We join millions in praying that Madiba’s soul may rest in peace.  Lala Ngoxolo Tata," concluded Ms Maponya.


Brand South Africa




Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's statement on the death of Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela was a singular figure on the global stage -- a man of quiet dignity and towering achievement, a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.   

I am profoundly saddened by his passing.  On behalf of the United Nations, I extend my deepest condolences to the people of South Africa and especially to Nelson Mandela’s family and loved ones.

Many around the world were greatly influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom.  He touched our lives in deeply personal ways.  At the same time, no one did more in our time to advance the values and aspirations of the United Nations.   

Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of his people and humanity, and he did so at great personal sacrifice.  His principled stance and the moral force that underpinned it were decisive in dismantling the system of apartheid.
Remarkably, he emerged from 27 years of detention without rancor, determined to build a new South Africa based on dialogue and understanding. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission established under his leadership remains a model for achieving justice in societies confronting a legacy of human rights abuses.

In the decades-long fight against apartheid, the United Nations stood side-by-side with Nelson Mandela and all those in South Africa who faced unrelenting racism and discrimination. His 1994 address to the General Assembly as the first democratically elected President of a free South Africa was a defining moment. The Assembly has declared 18 July, his birthday, “Nelson Mandela International Day”, an annual observance on which we recognize and seek to build on his contributions to promoting a culture of peace and freedom around the world.

I was privileged to meet Nelson Mandela in 2009.  When I thanked him for his life’s work, he insisted the credit belonged to others.  I was very moved by his selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose.

Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us -- if we believe, dream and work together.   

Let us continue each day to be inspired by his lifelong example and his call to never cease working for a better and more just world.

United Nations Information Centre Pretoria


Address to the Nation by President Jacob Zuma on the departure of former President Nelson Mandela, 5 December 2013

My Fellow South Africans,

Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation has departed.

He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 on the 5th of December 2013.

He is now resting. He is now at peace.

Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.

Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.

His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world.

His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude.

They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free.

Our thoughts are with his wife Mrs Graca Machel, his former wife Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, with his children, his grand-children, his great grand-children and the entire family.

Our thoughts are with his friends, comrades and colleagues who fought alongside Madiba over the course of a lifetime of struggle.

Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood.

Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause.

This is the moment of our deepest sorrow.

Our nation has lost its greatest son.

Yet, what made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.

And in him we saw so much of ourselves.

Fellow South Africans,

Nelson Mandela brought us together, and it is together that we will bid him farewell.

Our beloved Madiba will be accorded a State Funeral.

I have ordered that all flags of the Republic of South Africa be lowered to half-mast from tomorrow, 6 December, and to remain at half-mast until after the funeral.

As we gather to pay our last respects, let us conduct ourselves with the dignity and respect that Madiba personified.

Let us be mindful of his wishes and the wishes of his family.

As we gather, wherever we are in the country and wherever we are in the world, let us recall the values for which Madiba fought.

Let us reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.

Let us commit ourselves to strive together – sparing neither strength nor courage – to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Let us express, each in our own way, the deep gratitude we feel for a life spent in service of the people of this country and in the cause of humanity.

This is indeed the moment of our deepest sorrow.

Yet it must also be the moment of our greatest determination.

A determination to live as Madiba has lived, to strive as Madiba has strived and to not rest until we have realised his vision of a truly united South Africa, a peaceful and prosperous Africa, and a better world.

We will always love you Madiba!

May your soul rest in peace.

God Bless Africa.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Issued by The Presidency



February/March 2020










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