Mandela a role model for students

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People sing and dance during a gathering of mourners on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where Nelson Mandela once resided.

Cape Town - Students can look to former president Nelson Mandela as an example of completing studies under difficult circumstances, Stellenbosh University rector and vice chancellor Russel Botman said on Friday.

“For our country's youth and our university's students there is no better example than Dr Mandela,” he said in a statement.

“Difficult circumstances did not deter him from completing his studies, and as a principled leader he dedicated his life to democracy and justice, even when it was to his own detriment.”

Botman said the university honoured Mandela with a Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa degree in 1996 because he was a symbol of empowerment through learning.

He conveyed condolences to Mandela's widow Graca Machel, who also received an honorary doctorate from the university.

“Our country's people owe Dr Machel a debt of gratitude for her supporting role in the period after Madiba's release from prison and during his last years.

“While he was in public office it was remarkable to observe her presence in the background, caringly supporting him.”

Mandela died at the age of 95 at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Thursday night.


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