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Sunday 17 December 2017

What they said about Mandela

President Barack Obama waves to the crowd as he arrives for the memorial service (AP)
President Barack Obama waves to the crowd as he arrives for the memorial service (AP)

A selection of quotes from the speeches at the Mandela memorial service and from mourners attending the event:

"He touched my heart, my soul, my life and those of the millions of South Africans," said Mandela family friend Andrew Mlangeni in his opening remarks at the memorial service. "He created hope where there was none."

"To him, life was all about service to others," said family member General Thanduxolo Mandela. "He mingled with kings, queens and presidents ... At the core, he was a man of the people.

"Mr. Mandela was more than one of the greatest pillars of our time," United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his speech at the service. "He was one of our greatest teachers. He taught by example. He sacrificed so much ... for freedom and equality, for democracy and justice."

"His life was just an extraordinary journey, from beginning to end, with such an effect, both on his own country, and on the rest of the world," former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said before the service. "So, enjoy today, enjoy and celebrate what he achieved. We may not see his like again."

"I think Madiba would like us to celebrate and not be sad, to have smiles on our faces," said Muhammad Choonara, a 24-year-old university student, before the memorial. Madiba is Mandela's clan name that most South African use as an endearment when speaking about the former president.

"It's to honour the legend: He emancipated the South Africans, he freed our country, he united black and white," said Lefentse Nkosi, a 39-year-old South African government worker, as she queued to get into the stadium.

"Mandela was a very humble man and he gave himself to the world. He sacrificed time with his family for us and for me. It is a privilege to be here, it is a humbling experience," said Dipolelo Moshe, 35, who works for a marketing company. She had a South African flag draped over her shoulders and was carrying a big photo of Mandela as she stood in line at the stadium.

"I would not have the life I have today if it was not for him. I'm here to show my gratitude to Madiba. He was jailed so we could have our freedom," said Matlhogonolo Mothoagae, 24, a marketing student, as he lined up to enter the stadium.


Press Association

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