UN secretary-general António Guterres has hailed the late Nelson Mandela, the first black president of post-apartheid South Africa and racial justice icon for the outstanding legacy he left behind.
Mr Guterres described Mr Mandela as a healer and mentor to generations, in a video message to mark Mandela International Day, commemorated on July 18 annually.
“Nelson Mandela – or Madiba, the clan name he’s affectionately known by at home – was a healer of communities and a mentor to generations. He walked the path to freedom and dignity with steely determination – and with compassion and love,” stated the UN chief.
According to him, Mr Mandela is “a giant of our time,” who remains a “moral compass” for us all.
Mr Guterres further described the late South African leader who spent nearly three decades in prison resisting the racist apartheid regime, as “a leader of unparalleled courage and towering achievement; and a man of quiet dignity and deep humanity.”
“Our world today is marred by war; overwhelmed by emergencies; blighted by racism, discrimination, poverty, and inequalities; and threatened by climate disaster,” he added. “Let us find hope in Nelson Mandela’s example and inspiration in his vision.”
The UN chief urged the world to take action against rising hate speech as a way to honour Mr Mandela.
“Everyone has the duty to speak out and stand up for human rights, by embracing our common humanity – rich in diversity, equal in dignity, united in solidarity,” Mr Guterres stressed. “Together and by following Madiba’s example, we can make our world, “more just, compassionate, prosperous, and sustainable for all.”
Mr Mandela died on December 5, 2013, in Johannesburg. He was 95 years old.