Anti Apartheid activist and first South African black President Nelson Mandela has passed on at 95 due to reoccurring lung cancer infection. After South African President, Jacob Zuma announced the death of Nelson Mandela, shock reverberated around the world. Christian leaders have poured in their tribute to the legend and icon of freedom including the U.S President Barack Obama who eulogized Mandela in front of the world’s media.

Outside Mandela's home in Johannesburg

Outside Mandela’s home in Johannesburg

Part of Obama’s speech read:

“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.”

And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real.  He achieved more than could be expected of any man.  Today, he has gone home.  And 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.”

Pastor of the Daystar Christian Center, Sam Adeyemi defined Mandela as “one of the most inspiring & iconic figures of our time. He is a symbol of Justice, Equality & Dignity.”

Coffin carrying Mandela's body covered with flag

Coffin carrying Mandela’s body covered with flag

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “God was so good to us in South Africa by giving us Nelson Mandela to be our President at a crucial moment in our history. He inspired us to walk the path of forgiveness and reconciliation and so South Africa did not go up in flames. Thank you God, for this wonderful gift who became a moral colossus, a global icon of forgiveness and reconciliation. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Pastor of the Harvester International Christian Center Bolaji Idowu said: “Mandela was one of those men in a generation! Adieu Mandela.”

Reverend Moss Ntlha, General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa said: “Madiba is considered by many as the father of the nation. He modelled firm confrontation with evil and injustice, and magnanimity in his triumph over those who sought his destruction. His passing calls to mind the prophetic tradition of Micah that says: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8).”

Reverend Aiah Foday-Khabenje, the General Secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, said: “The life of Madiba is yet another proof and reminder about the origin, nature and commonality of the human species; created in the image of God with ability to reflect some of God’s attributes though vainly because of finitude, fallenness with feet of clay; regardless of race or geographical location. Heartfelt condolences to immediate family members and the people of South Africa. May his exemplary leadership inspire African leaders”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, has offered his prayers for friends and family, as well as the nation of South Africa.

“The death of President Nelson Mandela was announced in memorable words by president Zuma. South Africa has lost its greatest citizen and its father. Nelson Mandela, fighting to the end, is freed to be with his God in joy and reward for his great service and sacrifice. We pray for his family, for his friends and for his country. We are challenged to show the same degree of humanity, of courage and of generosity.”

Nelson Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994 after he returned from a 27-year imprisonment in a Pretoria jail, South Africa. A symbol of global peacemaking, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.” He was 95 years old.

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