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Key quotes from world leaders’ speeches
Agence France Presse
A vendor displays cups bearing the portrait of late South African former president Nelson Mandela and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (L) in Gaza City on December 10, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED)
A vendor displays cups bearing the portrait of late South African former president Nelson Mandela and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (L) in Gaza City on December 10, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED)
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SOWETO, South Africa: How Nelson Mandela was remembered at Tuesday’s memorial service in Soweto: U.S. President Barack Obama: “He was not a bust made of marble, he was a man of flesh and blood. ... It is hard to eulogize any man ... how much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice.”

Quoting the poem “Invictus,” which inspired Mandela in jail, he said: “‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ What a magnificent soul it was – we will miss him deeply.”

– South African President Jacob Zuma: “There is no one like Madiba. He was one of a kind. ... He never wanted to be viewed as a messiah or a saint ... Rest in peace, our father and our hero.”

– U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “He has done it again ... We see leaders representing many points of view, and people from all walks of life. All here, united. ... He showed the awesome power of forgiveness – and of connecting people with each other ... the true meaning of peace.”

– General Thanduxolo Mandela, on behalf of the family: “Madiba was a great man but was humble in all things.”

– Cuban President Raul Castro, quoting his brother Fidel: “Mandela will not go down in history for the 27 years he spent behind bars ... but because he was able to free his soul from the poison that such injust punishment can cause.”

– Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff: “Madiba is an example and a reference for us all ... we celebrate and mourn for this great leader who was part of the pantheon of humanity.”

– British Prime Minister David Cameron: “It is clear that people here in South Africa want to, yes, say goodbye to this great man, yes commemorate what he did but also celebrate his life and celebrate his legacy.”

– Andrew Mlangeni, Mandela’s friend and fellow Robben Island inmate: “Madiba is looking down on us now and is no doubt smiling as he watches his beloved countrymen and women celebrate his life and legacy.”

– ANC Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa: “When it rains when you are buried, it means your gods are welcoming you and the gates of heaven are most probably open as well. ... His long walk is over, he can finally rest.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 11, 2013, on page 10.
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