Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela's long-time friend and fellow Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni says he will cherish his memories of the international peace icon.
“I will forever cherish the 26 years we spent on Robben Island together as neighbours in our prison cells, having discussions, arguments or sharing ideas,” Mlangeni said in a statement on Friday.
Just before midnight on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma announced that South Africa's first democratically elected president had died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg.
Mlangeni said that he met Mandela in the 1950s, when they were young cadres in the liberation movement, and they made a solemn undertaking to achieve freedom in their lifetimes.
This was an undertaking “worth dying for” and Madiba demonstrated this by never flinching, despite the suffering and personal sacrifice he was forced to endure, he said.
“He set an example with his commitment to peace, humility, integrity, unlimited commitment to serving the poor, and love for all people.
“This is the legacy that will remain enshrined in the memory of all the people of the world, and for everyone to try and emulate to create a better world.”
Mlangeni wished Mandela's family strength as they mourned the father of the nation.