World will honour Mandela`s legacy: Pranab

Calling him a venerated elder and a great soul, President Pranab Mukherjee today said India has no doubt that the world will honour the historic legacy of Nelson Mandela who taught the true meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation.

PTI| Updated: Dec 10, 2013, 19:52 PM IST

Johannesburg: Calling him a venerated elder and a great soul, President Pranab Mukherjee today said India has no doubt that the world will honour the historic legacy of Nelson Mandela who taught the true meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Representing the government and the people of India, Mukherjee, one of the few foreign speakers to give their eulogies at the Memorial Service for the anti-apartheid icon, said "we stand by you in your hour of bereavement and we share your sense of loss today".

Accompanied by a high-level delegation including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, the President flew in early this morning to join South Africa in paying homage to Madiba, as Mandela was affectionately called.

The FNB stadium, where Mandela had made his last public appearance a few years ago, reverberated to a standing ovation when Mukherjee made his entry and his name was called out.

For India, Mukherjee said, the passing away of Mandela represents the departure of the venerated elder, a great soul.

"We pray for his eternal peace. Madiba lived a life of sacrifice and privation as he pursued a seemingly impossible goal for his people - and the world is richer for his legacy.

"We, in India, have long admired him - and all that he stood for - and we will always cherish his friendship and love for our people," he said.

The President described Mandela as a visionary who epitomised and an uncommon humaneness that inspired all of mankind.

"We have no doubt that the world will honour the historic legacy of Madiba, one of the most influential personalities of our century, who taught the world the true meaning of forgiveness and reconciliation - and steered South Africans onto the path of building a truly Rainbow Nation," he said.