The death of former South African President Nelson Mandela marks the passing of a global legend: a man and a leader whose example moved humanity and the world.
For the people of South Africa, in particular, it is a time of great sadness. They mourn the loss of Madiba, often described as their “father of the nation.” However, in every country the world over, many will sense that a bright light has been extinguished; that we have lost a statesman who showed that patience, humility and forgiveness could work miracles and could overcome the forces of dogma, inertia and violence. In New Zealand too, we deeply mourn his passing.
I am keenly aware of the great legacy Nelson Mandela bestowed to his country and to the world. He was a man of great courage, vision and mana who peacefully guided South Africa from the evil of apartheid to a racially inclusive democracy. Despite spending 27 years of his life in prison, he emerged without bitterness, committed to a vision of a free and democratic South Africa based on peace, justice and reconciliation. He held out his hand in peace to his former foes, saying that he was prepared to forgive, but never to forget. His leadership showed oppressed peoples worldwide that moral force can end tyranny. His leadership brought hope for a better future to millions.
While Mr Mandela was an iconic symbol of hope, peace and justice worldwide, he was also a family man; whose wife, children and wider family grieve for the loss of the private man that only they knew.
As Governor-General of New Zealand, on behalf of all New Zealanders, my wife Janine and I extend our deepest sympathies to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa at this very sad time.
Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
Governor-General of New Zealand
For more information, contact Antony Paltridge, Public Affairs Manager, Government House on 021 470-583 or 04 382-0827