London: Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head by Taliban for campaigning for girl education in her country, Friday described former South African President Nelson Mandela as "my leader" and said he was a "perpetual inspiration" for people across the globe.
"Nelson Mandela is physically separated from us but his soul and spirit will never die. He belongs to the whole world because he is an icon of equality, freedom and love, the values we need all the time everywhere," the 16-year-old said in her condolence message.
"His long, long struggle is a great demonstration of humanity. I have learned so much from Nelson Mandela and he has been my leader. He is a perpetual inspiration for me and millions of others around the world," said Malala, who earlier this year was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize that Mandela won in 1993.
Malala became a global icon for girls` education after being brutally attacked by Taliban militants while on her way to school in Swat valley on October 9, 2012. She successfully underwent several surgeries in Britain.