I will especially strive to help more women to achieve their professional goals, writes new US ambassador to SA Lana Marks.
Now as much as ever, South Africa needs disciplined leaders, Nelson Mandela has said at birthday celebration in Pretoria.
Johannesburg - Former South African president Nelson Mandela is many things to many different people around him. Some quotes from family and friends as he turns 90:
"He is simply a wonderful husband. We met in life at a time when we were both settled. We were grown up. We were settled. We knew the value of a companion as a partner. Because of that we have enjoyed this relationship in a really special way. It's not like when you are still young. You are too demanding. No no. We just accept each other as we are." - Mandela's third wife Graca Machel in an interview with CNN
"You know Queen Elizabeth? They refer to each on a first name basis. We say to him, "You have to say 'Your Majesty'." He will constantly reiterate "but no she is my friend this is how we call each other'." - Mandela's grandchild Ndaba, 25.
"Growing up with politics in our family and knowing him has helped us a lot. Like it's taught us to be humble, taught us to take people for who they are - not their colour or how much money they have, but what they saying and what they live their life by. That's important." - another grandchild, 23-year-old Kweku.
"He is an impossible act to follow. Whoever has had to could be only himself and not try to emulate Madiba. We are feeling a little rudderless" - Archbishop Desmond Tutu tells AFP what South Africa is missing in the post-Mandela (Madiba) political era.
"He is a very special man and his leadership qualities are obvious to all ... and he's a darn difficult thing to measure up to." - veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Helen Suzman, also 90 years old.
"The legacy of your struggle leaves future generations of South Africans with a freedom their ancestors only dreamed of; your charities will continue to give them a real chance for a brighter, healthier future; and the power of your example provides people everywhere with a source of strength on their own long walks to freedom." - former US president Bill Clinton
"Nelson Mandela is a leader no prison cell, no intimidation, no threat could silence. A man who's belief in the future was so powerful that not even 27 years behind bars and barbed wire could destroy his dream that millions could be free" - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
"You know, he says when he dies he's going to join the nearest branch of the ANC in heaven" - prominent human rights lawyer George Bizos.
"I have been saying Happy Birthday' to Mandela for over 30 years and, quite frankly, I'm tired. Of course he's helped a lot of people, but after that it's all about him, him, him."
- Popular jazz musician Hugh Masekela responding to a request by The Times newspaper to pay tribute to Mandela on his birthday.
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African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma says former president Nelson Mandela is the glue holding the country together.
Hundreds of people have started to gather at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium to celebrate former president Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday.
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