, WASHINGTON, Dec 5 – America’s first black president Barack Obama on Thursday mourned Nelson Mandela as a “profoundly good” man who “took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice.”
Obama – who met the former South African president briefly only once in 2005, but was inspired to enter politics by the anti-apartheid hero’s example – paid a somber heartfelt tribute within 45 minutes of Mandela’s death being announced.
“We will not likely see the like of Nelson Mandela again,” Obama said in a televised statement, hailing his political hero for his “fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others.”
Obama said Mandela, in his journey from a “prisoner to a president,” transformed South Africa and “moved all of us.”
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man.”
“Today he’s gone home and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth.
“He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages.”