By Cecilia Ologunagba
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has hailed late Nelson Mandela, the first black President of Post-Apartheid South Africa and racial justice icon for the outstanding legacy he left after his demise.
Guterres described Mandela as healer and mentor to generations, in a video message to mark the 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.”
According to him, Mandela is “a giant of our time”, who remains a “moral compass” for us all.
Guterres further described the champion of a free and democratic South Africa 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.”
He demonstrated through his life that everyone has the ability – and responsibility – to build a better future, the UN chief said.
“Our world today is marred by war; overwhelmed by emergencies; blighted by racism, discrimination, poverty, and inequalities; and threatened by climate disaster.
“Let us find hope in Nelson Mandela’s example and inspiration in his vision.”
In addition, the UN chief that the best way to honour his legacy, is by taking action, amid a rising in hate speech around the world, everyone has the duty to speak out.
“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.”
“Together and by following Madiba’s example, we can make our world, “more just, compassionate, prosperous, and sustainable for all,” the secretary-general said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mandela died on Dec. 5, 2013 in Johannesburg. He was 95 years.