Rawlings: Mandela Man Of Great Spiritual Elegance

President Jerry John Rawlings (l) pictured here with Prasident Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was an enigma, yet an icon of true reconciliation. Few adjectives can do justice to the man who came to embody a unique political culture.

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Mandela stood as a symbol of resilience, fortitude, patience and tolerance. He also exhibited exceptional leadership qualities, which will shape and inspire generations to come.

I had deep respect for Mandela the man, the institution, because he rose from decades of fruitless persecution and sowed a unifying seed for South Africa.

He stood against the politics of retribution and worked with Frederick de Klerk to further the cause of a unified post-apartheid South Africa.

Madiba was a man of great spiritual elegance, a man of towering moral height. His moral compass pointed out to millions around the world a sense of purpose and a moral mandate strong enough to prompt defiance of leaders bent on propping up the apartheid regime.

What will now be lost to the world is the unifying effect of a man who held to his principles in the face of Western governments who branded him for years as a terrorist, when he was a dignified freedom fighter.

We have lost not only a statesman, but also a grand pillar of sincerity in global affairs, originality and one who demonstrated a pure sense of humanity.

My sincere condolences go to the family, government and people of South Africa on the passing of our dear brother and friend.