Nelson Mandela was lauded as a “giant of history” and “one of the greatest leaders of our time” as tens of thousands cheered and almost 100 world leaders paid tribute to the anti-apartheid icon at a memorial service Tuesday.
At the memorial celebration for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon instructs the crowd to keep the memory of the anti-apartheid icon alive by embodying his example in our lives.
President Barack Obama, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and some of his grandchildren addressed a service honoring the freedom fighter, prisoner, president and Nobel laureate who led South Africa out of apartheid.
“His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy,” Obama told the crowd at the 95,000-capacity stadium in Soweto. “The world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.”
Ban described Mandela as “one of the greatest leaders of our time.”
He added: "South Africa has lost a hero, we have lost a father, the world has lost a beloved friend and mentor. Nelson Mandela showed us the way with a heart larger than this stadium."
Leading an interfaith prayer service held under driving rain, South Africa's Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein recalled Mandela's "mighty power of forgiveness" and his ability to "to forgive and embrace his brothers and sisters who inflicted so much pain on him and millions of others."