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President Obama’s Mandela Eulogy

Published: December 6, 2013

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After South African President,  Jacob Zuma announced the death of Nelson Mandela shock reverberated around the world.  President Barack Obama eulogised Mandela in front of the world’s media.

Below is Obama’s entire eulogy of Africa’s greatest son:

“At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.  I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.  It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.  But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real.  He achieved more than could be expected of any man.  Today, he has gone home.  And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth.  He no longer belongs to us — he belongs to the ages.

Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa — and moved all of us.  His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.  His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives.  And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humour, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable.  As he once said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life.  My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid.  I studied his words and his writings.  The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears.  And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him.

To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us.  His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most.  And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real.  A free South Africa at peace with itself; that’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.

We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.  So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set:  to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.

For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived — a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.  May God Bless his memory and keep  him in peace.”


WPSN comments

12 Comments on "President Obama’s Mandela Eulogy"

  1. BASHAR AL ASSAD on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 8:27 am 

    Kikikiki vanaObama wat do u know abt mandela.We know him.He was not dat big.Why shld blacks 4give wh!tè.s wen they killd our pple,raped our women,took our land,starvd us.NO NO NO.In zim we wil continue kickin whì.t,è à,ss-è.s.

  2. Reasonable on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 8:44 am 

    Mandela’s commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to… Yet he once said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” My South African friends I mourn with you for the loss of Tata

  3. Kamudhosvo on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 8:54 am 

    This is an important message by Obama to people of the world. Only bandits and rogue regimes will dispute the ideals that Mandela fought for.

  4. El Barto on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 9:05 am 

    BASHAR AL ASSAD on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 8:27 am Why a lot of your sisters, brothers and friends are suffering in RSA is the reason Mandela is big. Why you will continue kicking them is why more people in your country cnt’t get jobs. Why you are so dull of thinking is why you think you are kicking white asses when there are no more asses left worthy to kick.

  5. Charles Chamunorwa on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 9:28 am 

    Mugabe-can someone knock sense into your head so that you get inspiration from Mandela. His people never suffered during his presidency. The fact that more than 3 million Zimbabweans are in South Africa is great testmony of how good Mandela was and how bad, selfish and power hungry you are. Rest in peace NELSON R. MANDELA

  6. Shuttle on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 10:19 am 

    A true liberator has left us. R.I.P.

  7. ngugude on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 11:22 am 

    We mourn you World Icon, We will ever cherish your memorable deeds on earth. Now R.I.P Ntate Madiba.

  8. KINGSLEY MKATA APHIRI on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 4:52 pm 

    FORMA PRESIDENT NELSON MANDELA.

    Forma president Nelson Mandela is no more. World leaders have responded and paid their condolences to the great Leader. He is gone; we shall see him no more. The wisdom and love of the people is gone.

    He was everything that the people had. A leader who took criticism if found on the wrong side of the law. The world at large shall miss the Madiba jive and long safari shirts.

    The smiles and the people’s president gone for ever. It is the end and, the beginning of democracy. The stories of president nelson Mandela are end less. What one could wander is, how far has other African leaders learnt from him. I and my family are really touched by this amazing man who lived ordinals life unlike those African leaders with so many political scars and crimes against their own people.

    Madiba never store state money or killed anybody unlike other African leaders with blood in their hands. Madiba surrendered power to much younger president after serving for only five years. He was never power hungry than these other African dictators who prefer to die in presidency in regardless of their ages.

    He lived like a common citizen of the country, ate simple food, dine with ordinary people, forgiven his enemies. He preached peace, encouraged everybody to respect other people.
    The aspiration of madiba goes beyond the boarders of South Africa.

    He was admired by many people all over the world because of democratic policies. Mandela never imprisoned his enemies. He said that the best way to make peace is to work with your enemy, bring the enemy closer so that you will learn more about him. Madiba never insulted any one.

    No body in Africa shall replace his absence. During my overseas trips every body I met associated me with the Madiba Magic.

    Surely we are going to miss him. While in overseas a certain old man said to me that “GOOD PEOPLE NEVER SURVIVE, FROGS DO” TATA GO IN PEACE.

  9. McAaron on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 6:49 pm 

    Mandela, the man who taught the world how to love, is no more. I know his great memory and legacy started growing even more after the news of his death broke out, the world is poorer without him. Northerners the bell is tolling!!!

  10. shungu on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 8:11 pm 

    Thanks oh Lord for Nelson Mandela.

  11. Blackhammer! on Fri, 6th Dec 2013 11:16 pm 

    Completely released now the big or large question on many people of Southern Africa origin’s minds is or will be ‘Ko iye?’, ‘Undoda kuqina ke?, ‘What about him?’ From prisoner to president our history has been set in stone for generations to come. Thank you and rest in peace. A towering figure in the 21st century. Deserves a holiday or a sickie and you know which I am taking.
    Simon M Tozvireva

  12. HEZVO-KA on Sat, 7th Dec 2013 1:24 pm 

    WHITES and PSEUDO-WHITES like Obama are shameless HYPOCRITES!!…Mandela is now a saint but you had him classified as a TERRORIST from way back until as recent as 2008!! His crime?…daring to fight your kith & kin who were benefiting from apartheid!!

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