What People Are Saying About Nelson Mandela

Courtesy of OWN

Politicians, celebrities and everyday citizens alike are mourning the loss of beloved former South African president Nelson Mandela, who passed away December 5 at 95. Below are a few sentiments people have shared. Feel free to add your own in the comments…

President Barack Obama:

“Today he’s gone home and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us; he belongs to the ages. Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better.”

Interim NAACP President and CEO Lorraine Miller:

“President Mandela was humanity’s greatest living hero. His unwavering sense of justice and peace transformed a nation and inspired the world.”

Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali:

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Mandela. His was a life filled with purpose and hope; hope for himself, his country and the world. He inspired others to reach for what appeared to be impossible and moved them to break through the barriers that held them hostage mentally, physically, socially and economically.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey:

“One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you’ve ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all.”

TV host and Managing Editor of News One Now Roland S. Martin

“In a world where we slap the hero label on just about anyone, Nelson Mandela was a true, real-life hero. In a world where we call our sports stars warriors, Nelson Mandela was a real warrior. Everyone, no matter your color or nationality, should be thanking the Good Lord that a Nelson Mandela was placed on this earth to show the world what true, moral leadership looks like. He is a giant among giants. A king among king. We will miss him dearly. His death saddens us all, but it’s also a celebration of a man who lived a full life.”

Actor Samuel L. Jackson:


Secretary of State John Kerry:

“Madiba’s ‘long walk to freedom’ gave new meaning to courage, character, forgiveness, and human dignity. Now that his long walk has ended, the example he set for all humanity lives on. He will be remembered as a pioneer for peace.”

Comedian Whoopi Goldberg:


Former President George W. Bush:

“Laura and I join the people of South Africa and the world in celebrating the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.  President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time.  He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example.  This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever.  Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy to President Mandela’s family and to the citizens of the nation he loved.”

Former President Bill Clinton:

Race Forward President Rinku Sen:

“Nelson Mandela’s death constitutes the enormous loss of a great man who deserves his rest. We were lucky to have him on this earth at this time, and his lessons of struggle, confrontation and love will never leave us.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority President Carolyn House Stewart:

“Serving with compassion and in a spirit of love will be Psi Tau Omega’s [the sorority’s newly-formed chapter in South Africa] ultimate tribute to this iconic champion. While President Mandela is no longer with us, he will continue to live in the hearts and minds of all of our members, who will use his example as a guidepost as they serve South Africa with the intensity and integrity that Mandela symbolized.”

Family Member Gen. Thanduxolo Mandela: 

“To him, life was all about service to others. He mingled with kings, queens and presidents … At the core, he was a man of the people.”

Cuban President Raul Castro:

“Let us pay tribute to Nelson Mandela: The ultimate symbol of dignity and unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle, to freedom and justice , a prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation. As Mandela’s life teaches us, only the concerted effort of all nations will empower humanity to respond to the enormous challenges that today threatens its very existence.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

“Mr. Mandela was more than one of the greatest pillars of our time. He was one of our greatest teachers. He taught by example. He sacrificed so much … for freedom and equality, for democracy and justice.”

Brazilian President President Dilma Rousseff:

“He also was a source of inspiration for similar struggles in Brazil and across South America. His fight reached way beyond his nation’s border and inspired young men and women to fight for independence and social justice.”

Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao:

“Mr. Mandela was the pride of the African people. He has dedicated his entire life to the development and progress of the African content.”

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown:

“His life was just an extraordinary journey, from beginning to end, with such an effect, both on his own country, and on the rest of the world. So, enjoy today, enjoy and celebrate what he achieved. We may not see his like again.”