Mandela a moral compass - Annan

2013-12-10 19:14
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan hailed former president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday as an inspirational moral compass.

"The world has lost a visionary leader, a courageous voice for justice and a clear moral compass," the chairperson of The Elders said before Mandela's official memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

The Elders is a co-operation between world leaders on peace and human rights which Mandela started in 2007.

"We send our affection and wishes of comfort to Madiba’s wife and our fellow member of The Elders, Graça Machel, and the entire Mandela family."

Annan said he was saddened to be bidding farewell to Mandela, who led a life of sacrifice in the name of freedom and human rights.

"He taught the world that the very path to freedom and human dignity lies in love, wisdom and compassion for one another. He stands as an inspiration to us all. And like few others, he will inspire generations to come," Annan said.

He said that three years ago The Elders, as a group, met Mandela for the last time in Johannesburg, and that they looked forward to continuing his legacy.

When Mandela founded The Elders in 2007 he said: "The Elders will support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair".

Annan said: "Today, we reflect on the man who uttered those words, how his courage and compassion helped millions around the world to triumph over despair, conflict and fear."

Mandela's memorial service was an opportunity to mourn his death, but also to celebrate his life and his values.

"And tomorrow we shall return to our work, inspired by Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, in the name of peace, justice and human rights," Annan said.

Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night. He will be buried on Sunday in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up.

Friends, colleagues, comrades and family of Nelson Mandela are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at

- Share your memories of Nelson Mandela with us.

Read more on:    un  |  kofi annan  |  nelson mandela  |  graca machel  |  johannesburg

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