THE government has joined the rest of the world in conveying their deepest condolences to the people of South Africa on the passing of Nelson Mandela.
In a message to South African President Jacob Zuma Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the passing of Mr Mandela — lovingly referred to as Madiba, his clan name by South Africans — was a loss for the entire world.
"Every Fijian joins me in being deeply saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela," Commodore Bainimarama said.
"We keenly feel his passing and convey our profound regret and condolences to the government and people of South Africa.
"Your former President gained global fame for his struggle against the evil of apartheid.
"But he will be most remembered by us for the way in which he reconciled former enemies, united all South Africans and set the nation on a different path.
"This was an example to the whole world and will continue to set a benchmark of exemplary national leadership.
Commodore Bainimarama said Mr Mandela's personal qualities of humanity, dignity and bearing were deeply valued in Fijian society which made him a revered figure in Fiji.
"The thoughts of every Fijian are with the South African people as you mourn the loss of this great man.
"He was not only leader of South Africa but a beacon of courage, decency and selflessness for the whole world.
"He was genuinely loved and we will never forget him."