Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela was a freedom fighter, liberator, reconciler, and unifier, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) said on Friday.
“The Contralesa unequivocally expresses its appreciation for the contribution made by president Nelson Mandela in the decades-long struggle for the liberation of the people of South Africa,” it said in a statement.
He had believed implicitly in the truth that Africans, their way of life and belief systems, were in no way inferior to those of Europeans.
Contralesa saw in him a progressive leader and statesman whose approach to his political work, as a royal, public official, president and commander-in-chief mandated him to look after the South African nation.
“President Nelson Mandela instilled a sense of pride in many a modern African by making it quite normal and proper 1/8for 3/8 South Africans to consult heritage practitioners, including African doctors, in public,” Contralesa said.
This was rather than seek their help under the cover of darkness.
“At a time when the political leadership and the educated class of our land continues to be baffled by what to do with the institution of traditional leadership..., president Mandela had no hesitation in reaching out to traditional leaders.”
Mandela had been groomed and prepared for leadership by the very institution of traditional rule, Contralesa said.
Its leadership joined millions of people in Africa and the world over in conveying heartfelt condolences to the entire Mandela family, his clan, the AbaThembu tribe, and the South African nation.
“We share in your pain during this hour of difficulty,” it said.
“May the ancestors of the mother continent give you strength and courage so that together we can work around-the-clock to deliver a remarkable farewell for this royal African legend.”
Mandela died at the age of 95 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night.