Nelson Mandela praised as “one of humanity’s true heroes” after death
Tributes are pouring in for Nelson Mandela, who died today (December 5) at his home in Johannesburg.
The 95-year-old anti-apartheid icon and former South African president had been suffering from a lung infection.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the "world has lost one of its great moral leaders and statesmen".
"Mr. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the former Government of South Africa, for his part in the struggle that would ultimately end the system of apartheid," Harper said in a statement.
“Despite his long years of captivity, Mr. Mandela left prison with a heart closed to calls for a settling of scores. Instead, he was filled by a longing for truth and reconciliation, and for an understanding between all peoples.
“He demonstrated that the only path forward for the nation was to reject the appeal of bitterness. His forbearance was legendary: his magnanimity spared all South Africans incalculable suffering.
“Nelson Mandela’s enduring legacy for his country, and the world, is the example he set through his own ‘long walk to freedom.’ With grace and humility, he modelled how peoples can transform their own times and in doing so, their own lives.”
B.C. premier Christy Clark called Mandela, who was an honorary Canadian citizen, "one of humanity's true heroes".
"With the example he set, incalculable personal courage and true leadership, Mandela literally transformed his country. Largely because of him, South Africa's transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy was peaceful. It's easy to forget it could have been very different," Clark said in a statement.
"Few people can claim a better legacy, or have made a more significant difference.
"My thoughts are with Mr. Mandela's family and the people of the country he loved. He was South African, but he belonged to the world."
Governor General David Johnston also issued a statement.
"When history speaks of the very best examples of humanity, we will speak of Nelson Mandela. His life was dedicated to the greater good. He held strong beliefs and did not give up on his dreams. He was a driving force for change and cared for the well-being of others. We have all learned so much from his fortitude, dedication and compassion. Throughout his life, he overcame many hardships to become a powerful global figure for peace and equality; the legacy he leaves cannot be understated," Johnston said.
"All across our nation, we hold him in the highest regard, evidenced by his investment into the Order of Canada as an Honorary Companion and an honorary citizen of our country."