Johannesburg - The world thanked South Africa for Nelson Mandela, US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg where a memorial service for Mandela was held, Obama said Mandela's triumph was South Africa's triumph.
“Your freedom from apartheid is cherished,” Obama said to a big cheer from the crowd.
“He moved the nation towards justice and moved millions around the world.”
Obama, dressed in a dark suit and baby blue tie, said Mandela was the great liberator of the 20th century and gave those who were oppressed during apartheid a voice.
“He endured brutal imprisonment,” the US president said.
“Like Abraham Lincoln, he held his country together when it threatened to break apart.”
Mandela's leadership was “ratified not only by this election, but by his willingness to step down after one term in office,” Obama said.
“He was a man of flesh and blood, a husband, a father, a friend,” Obama said.
“Nothing he achieved was inevitable.”
Rather, he showed us what was possible in our own lives.
Obama made special reference to the Sisulu and Tambo families, eliciting a roar from the crowd.
“Mandela taught us the power of logic, the power of reason and ideas,” Obama said.
“Mandela demonstrated ideas were not enough but chiselled into law....he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of the larger (good)”
Mandela died on Thursday night in his Houghton home. He was 95.