UN Secretary-General's Statement on the Death of Nelson Mandela
an article by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
Nelson Mandela was a singular figure on the global
stage -- a man of quiet dignity and towering
achievement, a giant for justice and a down-to-earth
The UN Secretary-General speaks at the tribute for Nelson Mandela
click on photo to enlarge
I am profoundly saddened by his passing. On behalf
of the United Nations, I extend my deepest
condolences to the people of South Africa and
especially to Nelson Mandela’s family and loved
Many around the world were greatly influenced by
his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality
and freedom. He touched our lives in deeply
personal ways. At the same time, no one did more
in our time to advance the values and aspirations
of the United Nations.
Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of
his people and humanity, and he did so at great
personal sacrifice. His principled stance and the
moral force that underpinned it were decisive in
dismantling the system of apartheid.
Remarkably, he emerged from 27 years of detention
without rancor, determined to build a new South
Africa based on dialogue and understanding. The
Truth and Reconciliation Commission established
under his leadership remains a model for achieving
justice in societies confronting a legacy of human
In the decades-long fight against apartheid, the
United Nations stood side-by-side with Nelson
Mandela and all those in South Africa who faced
unrelenting racism and discrimination. His 1994
address to the General Assembly as the first
democratically elected President of a free South
Africa was a defining moment. The Assembly has
declared 18 July, his birthday, “Nelson Mandela
International Day”, an annual observance on which
we recognize and seek to build on his
contributions to promoting a culture of peace and
freedom around the world.
I was privileged to meet Nelson Mandela in 2009.
When I thanked him for his life’s work, he insisted
the credit belonged to others. I was very moved by
his selflessness and deep sense of shared purpose.
Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world
and within each one of us -- if we believe, dream
and work together.
Let us continue each day to be inspired by his
lifelong example and his call to never cease working
for a better and more just world.
Question(s) related to this article:
What is the legacy of Nelson Mandela for us today?,
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LATEST READER COMMENT:
ON MANDELA'S LASTING LEGACY
In death, as in his life, Nelson Mandela has captured the imagination of the world. Mourning mixed with celebration has electrified crowds all over South Africa and elsewhere. His life’s achievements and his lasting legacy are the topics of discussions. He has been described as a great warrior, a great liberator, the last giant in the fight against colonialism, forgiver, peace maker, and in many other ways.
All this week, Mandela’s lasting legacy has been on my mind. We tend to capture the legacies of great men and women in a word or two. A scientist becomes famous for an important discovery, a writer for a famous book, a musician for a great composition, and so on.
People like Mandela fall in a different category. He is in the category of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. . ...more.