THY BROTHER'S KEEPER: The South African leader greets Jamaica's Michael Manley on arrival in Kingston in 1991.
On account of his phenomenal and selfless work as untiring crusader against apartheid and other forms of social injustice, South Africa's Nelson Mandela emerged as one of the planet's most revered patriarchal figures and a global symbol of remarkable decency and grace under fire. That's why his passing is so deeply felt around the world.
To my mind, Nelson Mandela, who drew his last breath at age 95 on Thursday after ailing for quite some time, was the utter definition of perseverance and how to deal with adversity. Such well-deserved accolades, as the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, were testament to a life fully lived in the service of others.
"I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideals of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities," Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa, remarked in one of his most famous public speeches. "It is an ideal which I hope to live for an to achieve. But, if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Based on his internationally acclaimed autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, a new film starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, is currently doing the rounds in cinemas. July 18 of this year was observed as International Nelson Mandela Day.
LET'S RECALL A GREAT MAN: Jamaican political figures salute the late Nelson Mandela
"I convey the heartfelt sympathy of the government and people of Jamaica on the loss of the father of the South-African nation. His life will inspire countless generations and his illustrious legacy will endure. He was, without doubt, one of the greatest human beings in the history of humanity." -- Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller
"Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders to have ever walked the Earth. We all are fortunate to have witnessed his selfless leadership and dedication to humanity and to his people and to his country." -- Opposition Leader Andrew Holness
"Nelson Mandela overcame the tyranny and racial oppression to become an apostle for a world where people, irrespective of colour or creed, could dwell together in peace and harmony." -- Former prime minister P.J. Patterson
"[Mandela] tried to transform [South Africa] into a country in which people of different races could live together in a multiracial society, and he succeeded to a great extent." -- Former prime minister Edward Seaga