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Former president Nelson Mandela was a genuine leader who put his life in danger to serve, expecting nothing in return, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Wednesday.
“In 67 years of his life in public service, in our common struggle to build a non-racial democracy in South Africa, he understood that he would be failing humankind if he does not sacrifice with his own life,” Vavi told a conference in Centurion.
“It is so important for us to speak about unity today, particularly at a time when we face a serious challenge of pretenders at all levels. Mandela is genuine, he never did things so that he would get some form of support.”
Vavi said Mandela was not only an icon of South Africa, but Africa and the world.
He led delegates at the conference in singing “Happy birthday Madiba”.
July 18 was declared Mandela Day by the UN General Assembly in November 2009. The first president and revered statesman celebrated turning 94 on Wednesday. – Sapa