Former president Nelson Mandela showed his greatness in his willingness to acknowledge mistakes, Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said on Thursday.
“Today, it is testimony to Mr Mandela's greatness and his success as an agent of transformation that he will be mourned by all South Africans from all walks of life,” she said in a statement.
“As we mourn his loss, and celebrate his life and his achievements, let us dedicate ourselves to the kind of selfless service which he exemplified.”
Ramphele said she first met Mandela when he invited her to visit him in Pollsmoor Prison in July 1988.
She said she was in awe of the anti-apartheid icon, who put her at ease during their meeting.
“At our meeting he oozed authority and grace, and his sensitivity and respect for others, no matter their social status, marked him out as a man of true greatness.”
Ramphele said Mandela showed his greatness in his willingness to acknowledge mistakes.
An example of this was when he approached leaders of the African National Congress during Thabo Mbeki's presidency to plead that the party abandon its HIV/Aids denialism.
“He could not live with the impact of his party being responsible for the deaths of countless thousands of South Africans who were denied anti-retroviral treatment,” said Ramphele.
“Let us honour his memory and live out the foundational values that can make us the great nation he showed us we have the potential to be.” - Sapa