Madiba: Leaders pay tribute to ‘one of the brightest lights of the world’

2013-12-06 02:51

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Tributes started pouring in for former president Nelson Mandela minutes after his death was officially announced.

US president Barack Obama was the first tribute to be broadcast by CNN, addressing journalists at the briefing room in the White House.

Starting with the famous quote by Mandela during the Rivonia trial about fighting against white and black domination, Obama said: “The day ... he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when ... guided by their hopes rather than ... fears.”

He added: “Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by Nelson Mandela.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron in a tribute broadcast live shortly after Obama’s, said: “Tonight, one of the brightest lights of the world has gone out. Mandela wasn’t only a hero of our time, but all time.”

One of the first African leaders to pay tribute to Mandela was Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

“Madiba’s death will create a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill in our continent,” he said in a statement.

Former president FW de Klerk also paid tribute to Mandela as a great reconciler and someone he had clicked with instantly.

Another early tribute came from former US president Bill Clinton, who tweeted a picture of him and Mandela, saying “I will never forget my friend Madiba”.

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