Mandela death: Malawi joins world to pay tribute to an ‘epitome of humility’

Malawians  have joined the world in paying their tributes to the  death of former South African president Nelson Mandela, 95, after President Jacob Zuma had announced Mandela’s death just  before midnight on Thursday.

President Joyce Banda mourned Mandela saying she was deeply shocked to learn of the death of man she called “hero” and icon who had great values of equality and justice.

Former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi said he was saddened to learn the death of a “great statesman “, saying he was “ an outstanding political leader I met and shared notes with.”

“I had the privilege of meeting him several times and he was a unique figure to admire and learn from,” said Muluzi.

Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Mandela during his time praised Muluzi for his peace efforts in the region in his role as the then chairman of the 14-member Southern African Development Community, or SADC.

Many Malawians flooded the social networking sites with tributes of the man who was revered from all parts of the world.

CEO of Malawi’s newspaper giant, Nation Publications Limited, Mbumba Banda posted on Facebook: “There were only three people that I wanted to meet in life, Nelson Mandela was one of them. What a life, what a journey, what a man. Thank you for passing this way! God bless your resting soul!”

Human rights activist Billy Mayaya paid tribute to Manadela: “If anyone deserved to be life President, if anyone inspired us with humility, tt was you. You taught us that greatness doesn’t come from wealth or pride but being human .

“You forgave when many would have not. You united where many would have failed. We salute you.”

Zuma’s announcement

A somber Zuma made a national broadcast to announce the death of South Africa’s first black president, who emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide Africa’s biggest economy through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy.

“Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” Zuma said in the nationally televised address.

“Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love,” he added.

Mandela would receive a full state funeral, Zuma said, ordering flags to be flown at half mast.

Other tributes 

• US President Barack Obama mourned Mandela as a “profoundly good” man who “took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice”. He added: “We will not likely see the like of Nelson Mandela again,” and said: “Today he’s gone home and we’ve 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.”

• British Prime Minister David Cameron said “a great light had gone out”, adding that flags would be flown at half-mast at his Downing Street office.

• Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said Mandela “set aside the bitterness of enduring 27 years in apartheid prisons — and the weight of centuries of colonial division, subjugation and repression — to personify the spirit and practice of ubuntu”.

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