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Tribute to icon of freedom

Nasik Swami
Saturday, December 07, 2013

NELSON Mandela was an icon of freedom who was prepared to pay any price for his people's struggle against apartheid.

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the world mourns with South Africa on the passing away of a great humanitarian.

Mr Chaudhry said while he did not meet Mr Mandela, he had the opportunity to visit the Robben Island where Africa's first black president was sentenced for 27 years.

"He (Mandela) stands today as an inspiration to people the world over who are fighting against oppression and racial discrimination."

Mr Chaudhry said Mr Mandela's greatness as a statesman was in his willingness to forgive and reconcile with those who had wronged him and his people.

United Nations Population Fund executive director Dr Babatunde Osotimehin in a statement said following the death of Mr Mandela, the world had lost a true statesman, a leader and a pragmatic visionary.

"As a formidable and tireless champion of human rights, Mandela strove to address inequality and indignity wherever he found them. Be it in his own country or beyond South Africa's borders," Dr Osotimehin said.

"Having won the battle against oppression in his own country, Mandela's influence and inspiration were truly global and he was called on to mediate conflicts across Africa and the Middle East, in each case, applying his deeply held belief that reconciliation, negotiation and inclusion of all sides in a conflict were the only way to move forward in an impasse."