On Thursday 5th December, South African anti-apartheid conqueror Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela died at the age of 95 at his Johannesburg home after a long-standing lung infection. South Africa's first black president's bereavement left his homeland and the humankind plummeting into grief. Mandela was a person hailed by international leaders as a role model and the revolutionary politician served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
President Barack Obama mourned the death of the anti-apartheid icon. Obama made a an appearance at the White House to address the loss of Mandela and said the former South African president left a legacy of freedom and peace for the generation to come. President Barack Obama shares the merit of being his country's first black president with late former South African president Nelson Mandela.
According the orders of President Barack Obama, on December 9 flags at the White House and other government buildings and military posts would be flown at half-staff through sunset to pay tribute to the passing of Nelson Mandela. The president signed the declaration on Thursday evening.
We have compiled some excerpts from the transcript of Obama's speech provided by the White House.
"At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying: "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." Obama started the speech with these words."
"I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid," continued Obama.
"Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him," said Obama.
Obama, whose parents are(Father black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas), has very often referred to Mandela as a role model.
The president admitted that he read Mandela's writings as a young man and the day Mandela came out from jail gave Obama "a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears." Obama is likely to go to South Africa for Mandela's interment.
"He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home," said Obama.
"We have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. He no longer belongs to us - he belongs to the ages."
He also talked to South African President Jacob Zuma to convey commiseration and regurgitate strong relationship between the two nations, the White House reported.
During his Africa trip, Obama advocated the continent to follow Mandela's paradigm. On Thursday, the former leader's bequest would last forever.
"To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real," said Obama, adding, "A free South Africa at peace with itself - that's an example to the world, and that's Madiba's legacy to the nation he loved," he said, referring to Mandela by his family name.
"We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again," stated Obama, adding, "So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice."
"For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived - a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God bless his memory and keep him in peace," concluded President Obama.
Watch: Obama "Nelson Mandela "belongs to the ages"
www.youtube.com/user/PBSNewsHour Peacemaker Nelson Mandela dead at 95, Jacob Zuma confirms