By Thabo Mbeki
Earlier tonight, my wife Zanele and I learnt with immense distress and profound sadness of the passing away of one of the greatest sons of our people, Esteemed Member of the Order of Mapungubwe and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Isithwalandwe President Nelson Mandela.
His departure represents a very sad moment of grief for his family. But it also constitutes a personal loss for us because over many decades, he served both as our guide and one of our fathers.
President Mandela, Madiba, and his generation of freedom fighters walked their long walk and made enormous sacrifices which eventually led to our freedom in 1994.
His passing signals the end of an historic era represented by the heroic deeds of his generation.
Thus, President Mandela’s departure demands of those of us who remain, South Africans and all Africans on the rest of our Continent, that we commit ourselves selflessly to address the many challenges we face.
President Mandela and his generation discovered the mission of their generation. They were at all times faithful to it, as a result of which they fulfilled it.
As we mourn President Mandela’s passing we must ask ourselves the fundamental question – what shall we do to respond to the tasks of building a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa, a people centred society free of hunger, poverty, disease and inequality, as well as Africa’s renaissance, to whose attainment President Nelson Mandela dedicated his whole life?
We convey our heartfelt condolences to his dear wife, Graça Machel, and the rest of his entire family.
Issued by the Office of former President Thabo Mbeki.