President Obama and other world leaders gave powerful tributes in front of almost 100,000 supporters on Dec. 10 in Johannesburg, South Africa to remember the amazing life of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela led an extraordinary life for 95 years, so it’s only appropriate that on Dec. 10, countless world leaders — including President Barack Obama and South African President Jacob Zuma – honored Mandela during a massive memorial service in the pouring rain. And even though not all of Mandela’s supporters could be there, plenty of celebrities, such as Kanye West, spoke out on Twitter. What did they say?
Nelson Mandela’s Memorial: President Obama & Other Presidents Speak Out
President of South Africa Jacob Zuma spoke to his country and gave a powerful speech that addressed Mandela’s legacy. Below is an excerpt of his speech:
Never before has our country celebrated a life as we are doing with that of Madiba. We do not call Madiba the father of our rainbow nation merely for political correctness and relevance.
We do so because he laid a firm foundation for the South Africa of our dreams – one that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous.We do so because Madiba was a courageous leader. Compatriots and friends, today Madiba is no more.
He leaves behind a nation that loves him dearly. He leaves a continent that is truly proud to call him an African. He leaves the people of the world who embraced him as their beloved icon. Most importantly, he leaves behind a deeply entrenched legacy of freedom, human rights and democracy in our country. In his honour we commit ourselves to continue building a nation based on the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. United in our diversity, we will continue working to build a nation free of poverty, hunger, homelessness and inequality.
President Barack Obama delivered an emotional tribute to Mandela. Below is an excerpt of his speech:
It is hard to eulogize any man — to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person — their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.
Given the sweep of his life, the scope of his accomplishments, the adoration that he so rightly earned, it’s tempting I think to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men. But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts and his fears; his miscalculations along with his victories. “I am not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
After this great liberator is laid to rest, and when we have returned to our cities and villages and rejoined our daily routines, let us search for his strength. Let us search for his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves. And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, when our best-laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of his cell: “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
What a magnificent soul it was. We will miss him deeply. May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela. May God bless the people of South Africa.
President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff gave a beautiful speech with the help of a translator. Below is an excerpt:
We must pay homage to this unmatched example of humanism. Like the South Africans who mourn with their chants, we the Brazilian nation proudly carry African blood in our veins and we too mourn.
The Brazilian government and people bow down to the memory of Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela’s Memorial: Kanye West & Other Celebs Speak Out
Celebrities took to Twitter to pay tribute to Mandela during his memorial:
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) December 10, 2013
— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) December 10, 2013
Amazing atmosphere in stadium where Mandela memorial will be held. Thousands already in stands chanting and singing
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) December 10, 2013
Inspiring, glad I stayed awake to watch. Time to get these few hours of sleep in. Nite/Mornin 💜✌️#RIPMadiba
— Amber Patrice Riley (@MsAmberPRiley) December 10, 2013
Respect to Mandela, his family and his legacy.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) December 9, 2013
At a young age my mother taught me the importance of his work. Mandela sacrificed his life for the betterment of mankind.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) December 9, 2013
Mandela was a driving force in the world freedom frm oppression of any kind & an advocate 4 forgiveness & I asked him how and Y after what
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) December 9, 2013
Mandela has influenced an incredible number of lives and will be missed tremendously. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this time.
— Ivy Jacobson