VATICAN: Pope Francis pays tribute to Nelson Mandela, greatly acknowledging his efforts for a peaceful transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s.
Pope Francis on Friday December 6, paid tribute to Nelson Mandela expressing his expectation that the deceased President’s paradigm will encourage generations of South Africans to put justice and common good at the centre of their political ambitions. Mr. Mandela was an amateur boxer and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, rose from poverty and gloom to crush the white minority rule of apartheid and became the president of South Africa. Known now to everyone everywhere: one of the best men of a bad century he fills four or five shelves of world biography. He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital. Announcing the sad news on South African national TV, President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela was at peace. “Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.
The Pope’s words came in a telegramme of commiseration that he sent to the South African President, Jacob Zuma. The full text of the telegramme is as below:
It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the Government and to all the people of South Africa. In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss. Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments, I invoke upon all the people of South Africa divine gifts of peace and prosperity.