Madiba, the Twitter star

2013-12-06 15:38

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Avatars have gone all iconic on Twitter, with images of Nelson Mandela being put up across the planet to honour and mourn the former president.

Celebrities at home and abroad have replaced their own faces with Madiba’s.

Even Rihanna’s gone there.

After changing her avatar to an image of a regal Mandela seated on a thronelike chair, the controversial, record-smashing singer tweeted a link to her Instagram profile with the following message: “One of the greatest men who’s ever lived, we will never forget the things this man has taught us. We will never truly comprehend the level of strength that it took for him to endure many (sic) of his life. Thank you Mandela.”

Rihanna’s Twitter profile. Picture: Twitter

Also linking to Instagram, talk queen Oprah Winfrey said: “One of the great honours of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you’ve ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all ...”

Actor-turned-politician Anold Schwarzenegger took it even further: “President Mandela’s life is the closest thing we have proof to of God.”

Local celebrities have hailed Mandela on their Twitter streams since just after midnight when the news broke.

Actor and director Hlomla Dandala wrote that Mandela was “born of us, lived for us and now belongs to the world, lala ngoxolo mnt’omdala.”

“Never wanted this day to come. Tears, Heartbroken ...” tweeted starlet Bonang Matheba. “How do we even begin to repay you? Possibly to work and live because of you, never met you but I love you! Thank you Tata. RIP.”

Twitterati boss Khaya Dlanga: “I never met Madiba but I was in a hall where he was speaking, the temperature in the room felt like it changed when he walked in.”

5FM jock Rob Forbes, who describes himself as a humble Mandela fan, cracked a joke: “RIP Madiba, we will miss you, I am not crying there’s just something in my eye.”

Generations star Katlego Danke tweeted: “Words can never do justice to describe the void left by this gentle giant. We will miss you Tata. Robala ka kagiso.”

Spoken word artist Lebo Mashile wrote that she “woke up thinking about Mandela meeting his mother and child whom he could not bury while he was in prison, his ancestors must be so proud”.

Soul star Simphiwe Dana this morning tweeted: “I woke up and it is still true, I know he was old but still my soul grieves. I feel like I have lost a family member.”

Model and TV producer Tyra Banks also turned to the social network to share her thoughts: “He lives with us forever, we will never forget, Nelson Mandela, 95 years on this earth you created freedom for eternity.”

Beyonce, on Instagram, remembered Mandela by saying: “Thank you for all you have sacrificed to improve the lives of other human beings. Rest in peace.”

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