, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 10 – “The South African loss is not a singular one, even in death; Tata Madiba has united the whole world in his honour in the same spirit of Ubuntu that he preached.”
“Never in history has the world come together as is today, to celebrate a man.”
Those were the simple but powerful words of Ratubatsi Super Moloi the South African High Commissioner to Kenya as he fondly remembered the African icon, Nelson Mandela.
Moloi spoke at a requiem mass held in Nairobi on Tuesday that brought together South Africans living in Kenya and dignitaries who all mourned the anti-apartheid statesman.
“Nelson Mandela was a courageous leader and as Africans we see this period of mourning as a chance to unite and celebrate the ideals for which Madiba lived.”
“Never did we think that he would go even as we saw him ailing and now that he is gone, we know that the pain of the fact that he has ceased to be, and the love for him will linger in our hearts forever,” said the emotional South African envoy.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who attended the service eulogised the statesman saying he was a selfless man whose leadership should inspire the entire world.
Odinga further urged African leaders to emulate Mandela’s legacy and fight for democracy and peace throughout the African continent.
“Madiba is easily Africa’s Lincoln; his one term has endured longer than the never ending terms of many of our leaders.”
“With the fall of Mandela, one chapter of African history has closed and in the words of Shakespeare, here was a Madiba when comes another,” he added.
Even in death, Mandela managed to unite people of opposing political and social camps, albeit in grief, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.
“He showed the awesome power of forgiveness – and of connecting people with each other… the true meaning of peace,” Ban told a memorial service for the democracy icon in Soweto.
“He has done it again,” the UN Secretary General said, looking around the stadium where rivals both local and international had gathered to honour the memory of South Africa’s first black president.
“Look around this stadium and this stage,” Ban told tens of thousands gathered in the Soccer City stadium, Johannesburg.
“We see leaders representing many points of view, and people from all walks of life. All here, united.”