SA needed a leader like Mandela - Zuma

2013-12-10 15:31
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - If the apartheid government had its way people would have been burned for even thinking about former president Nelson Mandela, President Jacob Zuma said at his memorial at FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.

"Madiba was in the minds of all of us for 27 years... and he inspired us every day," said Zuma.

"For 27 years, the South African people spoke of him in hushed tones... He had unique leadership. He started negotiations with the enemy while in prison. He negotiated for the release of his fellow prisoners before his own release."

His release from Victor Verster Prison was one of the most remarkable moments, said Zuma, adding that the world had come to a standstill.

"This tall and imposing figure walking out; South Africa needed a leader like Mandela."

When Zuma said Mandela had brought the country out of catastrophe, the crowd held up colourful umbrellas.

Some of them seemed to be losing interest in the proceedings.

"Madiba's love for peace was also evident in the work he did on the continent," said Zuma.

Zuma also announced that the amphitheatre at the Union Buildings will be renamed the Nelson Mandela Amphitheatre.

"Tomorrow our people will accompany Madiba on his last journey to the seat of government where his body will lie for three days," said Zuma.

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:    nelson mandela  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg

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