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Stars honour ‘humble, funny, legend’

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Former South African president Nelson Mandela poses with television personality Oprah Winfrey in Henley, Johannesburg, in this December 6, 2002 file photo. Photo: Juda Ngwenya


Cape Town - Celebrities around the world took to social media on Friday to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and express their condolences to his family and to South Africa.

British funnyman and star of US series House Hugh Laurie was “trending in Cape Town” on Friday after posting his condolences.

“God bless his memory, his friends and family, and the people of RSA,” he said.

Media mogul and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey posted a photo of her and Mandela to Instagram, both of them full of smiles.

Winfrey said one of the great honours of her life was to be invited to Mandela’s home, to spend private time with him and to get to know him.

“He was everything you’ve ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke.

“Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all,” she said.

Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom film, said he felt “stunned, crushed, in mourning with you and his family”.

“I feel only honoured to have portrayed him. He’s in a better place now,” he added.

US pop star Rihanna, who recently performed in South Africa, posted on Twitter and Instagram. She described Mandela as a legend, one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

“We will never forget the things this man has taught us, and we will never truly comprehend the level of strength that it took for him to endure many of his years. Thank you Mandela,” she said.

A picture of a Tweet from US heiress Paris Hilton did the rounds on social media, saying: “RIP Nelson Mandela. Your ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was so inspiring. An amazing man.”

However, the picture of the Martin Luther King jr mistake turned out to be fake, and Hilton later tweeted that it wasn’t her – it was photoshopped.

SA celebrities also took to Twitter to express their grief. Local comedian Trevor Noah said Mandela was one of the funniest and most amazing human beings that he had ever met.

He added: “We celebrate your life! #VivaMandela.”

Fellow funny man Rob van Vuuren said on Friday that Mandela “didn’t just free the oppressed”, but he “freed the oppressors too”, and “that is true power”. Van Vuuren, who also appeared in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, also posted on Twitter late on Thursday night after first hearing the news.

“So grateful. Thank you. You taught us how to see each other and listen and love. You gave us our pride back. I will love you forever,” he said.


Afrikaans rapper Jack Parow described Mandela as a “blerrie legend”. He said it was a sad, sad moment when he heard the news.

“You made this country a better place. You will be missed by the world,” added Parow.

Benoni-born beauty turned Hollywood star Charlize Theron said Mandela would be missed, but that his impact on this world would live forever.

She also expressed her own sadness, saying that she was saddened to the depths of her soul.

*Buy any Independent weekend newspaper for the special Nelson Mandela supplement.

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