End of an era says Mbeki

By Drum Digital
06 December 2013

The death of former president Nelson Mandela signals the end of a historic era, former president Thabo Mbeki says.

"His passing signals the end of an historic era represented by the heroic deeds of his generation," Mbeki said in a statement.

Mandela died at his Houghton residence on Thursday.

"He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20.50pm on December 5," President Jacob Zuma said on a national broadcast shortly before midnight. "He is now resting, he is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son."

Mbeki said Mandela's mission should still be fulfilled. "As we mourn President Mandela's passing we must ask ourselves the fundamental question -- what shall we do to respond to the tasks of building a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa, a people centred society free of hunger, poverty, disease and inequality, as well as Africa's renaissance, to whose attainment President Nelson Mandela dedicated his whole life?"

Barack Obama, the US president, also paid tribute to South Africa's first black president, calling him "influential, courageous and profoundly good."

"Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, he transformed South Africa and moved all of us," Obama said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday said "a great light had gone out" following Nelson Mandela's death, revealing that flags would be flown at half-mast at his Downing Street Office.

"Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death -- a true global hero."

"Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life. My heart goes out to his family - and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage. I've asked for the flag at No.10 to be flown at half-mast."

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