The world in mourning gathered to pay homage to beloved South African anti-apartheid pioneer, political revolutionary and Nobel Peace Prize winning peace activist Nelson Mandela at a commemorative ceremony held in Johannesburg overnight. Politicians, dignitaries and world leaders past and present from across the globe were in attendance to address a crowd of more than fifty thousand South African mourners, most notably US President Barack Obama who delivered a poignant memorial address of respect, dignity and adoration in which he called Mandela “a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice and in the process moved billions around the world”.
Other attendees included British PM David Cameron, U2 frontman Bono, Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Campbell and Sir Richard Branson.
“His triumph was your triumph, your dignity and your hope found expression in his life and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy,” Obama said. “It is hard to eulogise any man, to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life but the essential truth of a person, the private joys and sorrows, acquired moments and unique qualities that illuminates someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for someone who moved billions around the world”.
“We mourn the passing of a great leader but we celebrate a great
life,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said before the service. “This is the paradox of a day like today – we’re sad because he’s
gone but we’re thrilled because he’s lived.”
Rest in peace.
Watch Obama’s speech in full below…