Today, we have lost one of history’s great leaders. I extend my deepest condolences to the Mandela family and to the government and people of South Africa, the Republic that President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela helped free from the cruelty and hatred of apartheid and forged anew into a rainbow nation of hope and healing. I will always cherish the honor and memory of knowing him.
Even as we mourn, we remember how privileged the world was to witness the transformation he wrought by changing minds and hearts. He was apartheid’s captive but never its prisoner, and he rid the world of one of history’s foulest evils by hewing to universal principles for which he hoped to live but was prepared to die. Let us celebrate Madiba’s life by rededicating ourselves to the values and hopes he embodied: reconciliation and justice, freedom and equality, democracy and human rights, an honest reckoning with the past and an unflinching insistence on embracing our common humanity. Let us strive to follow in his noble path—to stretch out the hand of fellowship and forgiveness across the deepest of gulfs, to find peaceful ways to resolve the bitterest of conflicts, and to insist on the revolutionary power of empathy, persuasion, perseverance, and human dignity.
President Nelson Mandela is gone, but his legacy and example will forever endure. May they continue to inspire South Africa and all humanity for generations to come. He was one of the greatest human beings of our time. Farewell, Madiba—and thank you.
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