Indonesian Leaders Pay Tribute to Nelson Mandela, ‘Man of Honor and Principle’

Former South African President Nelson Mandela. (Reuters Photo/Paul McErlane)

By : Jakarta Globe & Agence France-Presse | on 9:59 AM December 07, 2013
Category : News, Featured

Former South African President Nelson Mandela wave to the crowd in London's Trafalgar Square during a Make Poverty History rally on Feb. 3, 2005. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson) Former South African President Nelson Mandela wave to the crowd in London's Trafalgar Square during a Make Poverty History rally on Feb. 3, 2005. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Indonesia expressed its condolences at the passing of former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

“On behalf of the nation, the people, the government and as an individual I express the deepest condolence for the passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Friday.

Yudhoyono praised Mandela as a great peacemaker and a true humanitarian, and made special mention of his role in ending apartheid in South Africa.

“We all adore him. For decades he was imprisoned but he led the country with his heart. There was never any retaliation for the torture he endured for decades,” he said.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa echoed the president’s words and added that Mandela’s fight had inspired the whole world, especially developing countries.

“We deeply mourn the passing of a man of honor and principle; a towering figure against the heinous policy of apartheid whose struggles served as a rallying call the world over against racialism, colonialism and other forms of injustice,” the minister said.

Vice President Boediono said that the world had lost its most influential figure.

“Of course we have lost the great human of the century, the father of South Africa,” Boediono said.

Mandela, who was elected South Africa’s first black president after spending nearly three decades in prison, had been receiving treatment for a lung infection at his Johannesburg home since September, after three months in hospital in a critical state.

His condition deteriorated and he died following complications from the illness, with his family by his side. He was 95.

The news was announced by an emotional Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president.

The 1993 Nobel Peace Prize laureate spent 27 years behind bars before being freed in 1990. He led the African National Congress in negotiations with the white minority rulers, which culminated in the first multiracial elections in 1994.

A victorious Mandela served a single term as president before taking up a new role as a roving elder statesman and leading HIV/AIDS campaigner before finally retiring from public life in 2004.

He was a global cause celebre during the long apartheid years, and popular pressure led world leaders to tighten sanctions imposed on South Africa’s racist white minority regime.

While underground back home in South Africa, Mandela was captured by police in 1962 and sentenced to five years in prison.

He was then charged with sabotage and sentenced in 1964 to life in prison at the Rivonia trial, named after a Johannesburg suburb where a number of ANC leaders were arrested.

He used the court hearing to deliver a speech that was to become the manifesto of the anti-apartheid movement.

Jakarta Globe & Agence France-Presse

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