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Quotes from leaders, family at Mandela memorial

First Published Dec 10 2013 09:33AM      Last Updated Dec 10 2013 09:36 am

Johannesburg • World leaders, family, friends and thousands of mourners who queued for hours to secure a seat in Johannesburg’s FNB stadium paid tribute to South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.

Here’s a selection of quotes from the speeches at the memorial service and from mourners attending the event compiled by The Associated Press:

"For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe — Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate a heroic life," said U.S. President Barack Obama in his speech at the memorial service, calling Mandela a "a giant of history ... In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness; through persistence and faith ... He accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price ... We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. But let me say to the people of Africa, and young people around the world: You can make his life’s work your own."



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Mandela family friend Andrew Mlangeni said in his opening remarks Mandela "created hope where there was none." "He touched my heart, my soul, my life and those of the millions of South Africans," he added.

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"To him, life was all about service to others," said family member Gen. Thanduxolo Mandela. "He mingled with kings, queens and presidents ... At the core, he was a man of the people."

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"Let us pay tribute to Nelson Mandela: The ultimate symbol of dignity and unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle, to freedom and justice , a prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation," Cuban President Raul Castro said through a translator. "As Mandela’s life teaches us, only the concerted effort of all nations will empower humanity to respond to the enormous challenges that today threatens its very existence," he said, appealing for a global Mandela-inspired spirit of unity.

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"Mr. Mandela was more than one of the greatest pillars of our time," United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his speech at the service. "He was one of our greatest teachers. He taught by example. He sacrificed so much ... for freedom and equality, for democracy and justice."

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"He also was a source of inspiration for similar struggles in Brazil and across South America," Brazilian President President Dilma Rousseff said through a translator. "His fight reached way beyond his nation’s border and inspired young men and women to fight for independence and social justice."

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"Mr. Mandela was the pride of the African people," Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao said through a translator. "He has dedicated his entire life to the development and progress of the African content."

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"His life was just an extraordinary journey, from beginning to end, with such an effect, both on his own country, and on the rest of the world," former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said before the service. "So, enjoy today, enjoy and celebrate what he achieved. We may not see his like again."

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