Mandela a "towering figure" - ALDE President Sir Graham Watson | ALDE Party

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ALDE Party press release
06/12/2013

Nelson Mandela was a "towering figure" in world politics: ALDE Party President pays tribute to former South African leader

The death of former South African President and anti-apartheid figurehead Nelson Mandela is not only a great loss for South Africa but also for the world as a whole, said ALDE Party President Sir Graham Watson MEP.

 ‘’Sadly, our planet has seen few figures of the calibre of Nelson Mandela. His tenacity in the face of overwhelming opposition and his unswerving commitment to the value and importance of human dignity and integrity make him an individual unique in history."

“Mandela’s life-long struggle against the Apartheid regime in South Africa, which included 27 years in prison, many incarcerated in the notorious Robben Island jail, eventually proved to be a game-changer.  A hero to many but a controversial figure for some, he nevertheless deserves acclaim for his unswerving dedication to fighting institutionalized racism.“

‘’Nelson Mandela dedicated his entire life to establishing and defending the kind of values that European liberals hold dear. On behalf of European Liberal Democrats I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the Mandela family and to the people of South Africa.’’

Nelson Mandela, who has passed away at the age of 95,  was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office and the first to be elected in a fully representative, multiracial election.  His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid and fostering a new era of racial reconciliation.

In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

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