Today the world has lost an iconic leader; to some a brother, to many a friend, to all an inspiration – former South African President Nelson Mandela.
On behalf of the Bermuda Government, I join with the people of Bermuda in expressing our deep sense of loss at his passing. His lifelong struggle against the forces of repression and darkness embodied the very best of the human spirit.
Though we mourn his departure, we can also celebrate the meaning of his life and draw strength and encouragement from his example.
Mr. Mandela will be immortalized as the man who, by his actions, words and presence, led the fight to abolish apartheid in his native South Africa and then replace it with a multi-racial democracy.
He was an inspiration to people everywhere, no moreso than following his release from prison in 1990 when he turned the other cheek to steer a traumatized and divided nation toward peace instead of war; toward forgiveness instead of retribution.
He was a man whose actions and words set an example for a better world. He saw more completely than most the flaws in human nature and sought more effectively than any other voice of his time to overcome them.
Mr. Mandela’s life was a triumph of perseverance over surrender, of hope over despair, of unity over division. He made his enemies his partners and challenged all of us, by his own example, to be better – to live with love in our hearts, no matter how challenging that might be.
His quest transcended all our differences, to glow in our hearts as a beacon to reconciliation, forgiveness and brotherly love.
He is the role model for humanity, and a towering source of pride and inspiration for oppressed people everywhere, who can know by his life that justice follows injustice, that good can prevail over evil and that the light shall follow the dark.
Nelson Mandela – a just and righteous man; surely touched by God.
May he rest in peace and live long in our hearts.
Statement by OBA chairman Thad Hollis:
The One Bermuda Alliance would like to add its voice to the millions who will be expressing regret tonight at the death of Nelson Mandela, who was without doubt South Africa’s greatest son.
He was that country’s first black president for five years, from 1994 to 1999, until he stepped down to allow his deputy, Thabo Mbeki, to take his place. By the example he set in preaching reconciliation in his deeply-divided country, despite having been imprisoned for 27 years, he was an inspiration to people around the world. . He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
He was a sweet man, a man whose smile lit up every room he entered. He was a man whose simplicity, honesty and humanity made him above all things the most accessible of men.
There is no one in the world who would not be improved by studying and emulating Nelson Mandela. His like will not be seen again.
Statement by PLP Leader Marc Bean
The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party joins with people across the globe in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela. His commitment to freedom, justice and equality as well as his resolute determination to build one South African people out of the ashes of Apartheid, will be an inspiration for generations to come.
On behalf of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, I extend condolences to the family of Nelson Mandela. Those who have known and loved him most, have borne the heaviest burden and have sacrificed much to support the work of this great man. Over the years he was falsely reviled as a terrorist, unjustly imprisoned on Robben Island, elected President of a free South Africa and became a global figure of honour and integrity. His family's sacrifice and support of this icon, allowed not just South Africa, but the world to benefit, grow and progress.
Nelson Mandela was a leader, a freedom fighter, an African and an inspiration to us all. The Father of his nation has become a father to EVERYONE who believes in a world with opportunity for all and special privilege for none.
Statement by Governor George Fergusson:
President Nelson Mandela's death marks the passing of one of the world's few truly unifying figures.
His contribution to transition and reconciliation in South Africa is remarkable.
But the whole world owes him a debt as a symbol of courage, principle and forgiveness.
We will all mourn him.
ADHT press release:
Today, the world has lost one of the most brilliant men, one of the most charismatic leaders, one of the most endearing persons with whom we have been fortunate enough to share this life. Nelson Mandela was not only a distinguished citizen of South Africa and the African continent, he was an outstanding citizen of the world. Virtually every nation, virtually every community, virtually every individual everywhere on the face of the earth, claimed him as their own; adopted him as their friend, brother, father; and saw him as their leader.
Today the world mourns the passing of a great inspiration; today the world mourns the loss of the epitome of character, courage and confidence; a man who brought comfort to the weary, peace to the troubled, contentment to the discontented and love to all.
Today as the world mourns the loss of this outstanding example of humility, we also celebrate the life of this man who lived life in the most exemplary manner.
Nelson Mandela loved his enemies, blessed those who cursed him, extended hands of friendship and love to those who hated him and prayed for those who persecuted him. Neither age nor incursions on his health dampened his resolve to be a positive influence, to make a significant difference, to show Africa and the world that adversity ought not mean defeat and despair.
The African Diaspora Heritage Trail (Bermuda) Foundation shares the grief that the world now experiences, the sense of loss that we all feel at Mandela’s passing. He will be missed, but he will most certainly be long remembered.
“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” (Interview for Mandela, 1994)
Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda statement:
Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda joins all the people of Bermuda in mourning the death of Nelson Mandela, and sends love and support to his wife Graca Machel, family and all who love him.
Nelson Mandela is one of the most inspiring and iconic figures of our age, beloved by many around the world and, over his 27 years in prison, he became a potent symbol for justice and freedom.
For CURB he stood as a beacon for racial justice, respect, authenticity, courage, empowerment and effectiveness, all values that CURB hold dear. He was also a humble man, and never forgot the people whom he worked so hard to empower and raise up.
As we mourn, we also honour and celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life. We remember that through diversity, opposition, imprisonment and threat of death and injury, the authorities in South Africa were unable to keep his spirit and his inspiration from fueling the fires of resistance to injustice among his people. He inspired people from around the world to fight against racism, prejudice and discrimination.
Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to the struggle of the African people, and as he said at his trial in Rivonia in 1963, prior to being given life imprisonment, “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony 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.”
Nelson Mandela’s story is also one of hope, love and humility, and he taught us that we do not have to accept the world as it is... and that we can each do our part to make the world a better place.
His was a passionate voice for reconciliation and he never lost sight of this goal despite all he had endured.
As we contemplate a world without this great man we must remember what he stood for and know that the greatest way we can honour his memory is for each and every one of us to continue to work against injustice wherever we see it.
We salute you Madiba, and hold you in our hearts forever.