We have lost a hero


HARARE – Yesterday, the world woke up to the reality that anti-apartheid icon, freedom fighter, revered statesman and one of the most influential figures of our time, former South African President Nelson Mandela had died.

Mandela’s death has shaken the globe — the whole world is in mourning.

Eulogies flying from all corners of the globe speak volumes of the great man we have lost — a man who sacrificed 27 years in jail fighting for the freedom of South Africa.

Mandela, a true democrat who served only one term after 27 years in prison, is being mourned by all and sundry, including dictators who have no option except sing praises of this great proponent of democracy.

Political leaders,  top sportsmen, famous actors, musicians, churches and the world at large have joined South African president Jacob Zuma in mourning a true African son who defied the dictator syndrome in Africa to become a global adored leader.

We call on Zimbabweans and the rest of the world to celebrate the life of Mandela as taught us the tenets of democracy and freedom.

Mandela’s legacy of democracy and forgiveness should be emulated by leaders in Africa, most of whom want to hang on to power or use whatever means at their disposal to cling on even if they know that the people don’t want them.

The world has indeed gained a lot from Mandela.

Top actor Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in the 2009 movie “Invictus” described Madiba as a giant.

Said Freeman: “ “Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honour, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve — a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind.

“As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us.”

Tributes for Mandela poured in from among others, United States President Barack Obama, his predecessors George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, Mandela’s successor Thabo Mbeki, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Britain’s Prince William, and golfer Ernie Els among others.

So revered is Mandela that Obama ordered flags to fly at half-mast at White House and public buildings.

US foreign missions, military posts, naval stations, and military vessels will also lower the flag until sunset on Monday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “A great light has gone out in the world.”

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi had this to say: “He made us all understand that nobody should be penalised for the colour of his skin, for the circumstances into which he is born. He also made us understand that we can change the world.”

We have lost a man who has and will inspire generations to come.

Go well, giant of democracy. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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