Following the death of the revered South African political leader and human rights advocate, Nelson Mandela, Pope Francis addressed his condolences to President Jacob Zuma of South Africa. In the message, the Pope conveyed his condolences to Mandela's family and to the South African nation.
Pope Francis paid 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.”
The message also said that the Pope hopes that Mandela's example will inspire South Africans to "to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations," while he also wished peace and prosperity for the African nation.
In the United States, President Barack Obama spoke at the White House on the evening of December 5 that Mandela "belongs to the ages." Obama said "I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life," and added, "And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set." Obama is expected to attend Mandela's state funeral, which is planned for December 15 as part of 10 days of national mourning.
For her part, Alveda King - the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and a noted prolife advocate - paid tribute to Mandela and highlighted his trademark dignity and smile. Said King, "A portrait hangs in my home. In the frame, poised between his fellow champions Martin and Malcolm, Mandela smiles while Martin is solemn and Malcolm is stoic. To be able to radiate joy in times of conflict is a gift. To experience their three different expressions, the combined epitome of the human dream of freedom is simply amazing. "
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