Mandela put SA on the map

2013-12-06 10:24

Johannesburg -  Former president Nelson Mandela single-handedly put the country on the map, SA Tourism said on Friday, after the announcement that Mandela died on Thursday night at his Houghton, Johannesburg.

"Travel anywhere and say you are from South Africa and without a doubt the first word people will utter is 'Mandela'," chief executive Thulani Nzima said.

"This is because he is not only a hero for all South Africans, forever changing the course of our combined history, but also because his incredible leadership ability, compassion, and vision made him a hero for the whole world, earning him iconic status in every country on earth."

He said Mandela opened up South Africa, once a pariah state, to the rest of the world and his name alone attracted millions of tourists to the country.

In 1993, before Mandela became the first democratically elected president, South Africa had 3.5 million international arrivals. In 2012 it welcomed 13.5 million people into the country, said Nzima.

"Nelson Mandela will be sorely missed forever by every South African.

"In the next few days and going forward, we will remain true to the authentic soul of this nation -- a warmly welcoming and hospitable people who now, in great sadness, but with immense gratitude for the life of this great man, welcome people from near and far who arrive to mourn Madiba's loss with us," he said.

Managing Director of Table Mountain Cableway Company, Sabine Lehmann also expressed her condolences in a statement saying Nelson Mandela had been a major inspiration behind the successful campaign to have Table Mountain declared one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in November 2011.

"We are deeply saddened at Nelson Mandela's passing. We extend our condolences to his family and pray that they will be comforted during this sad time.

"Madiba held a special place in our hearts and knowing that Table Mountain shone like a beacon during his years of incarceration on Robben Island filled us with immense pride, but also with sadness, that a man of his stature had to sacrifice so much, so that all of South Africa could be free. We salute you Madiba for everything you did for us. And, for generations to come, as our visitors stare out across Table Bay toward Robben Island they will remember the sacrifices you made for our country."

The South African Rugby Union posted this tribute to Madiba.

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