In a rain soaked stadium in Soweto South Africans by the tens of thousands have gathered alongside close to 100 world leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
Several world leaders addressed the crowd, including US President Barack Obama.
President Obama‘s speech at Nelson Mandela memorial service has been republished in full below:
Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you.
To Graca Machel and the Mandela family, to President Zuma and members of the Government, to heads of State and Government past and present, distinguished guests.
It is a singular honour to be with you today to celebrate a life like no other.
To the people of South Africa. People of every race and every walk of life, the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.
His struggle was your struggle.
His triumph was your struggle.
His triumph was your triumph, your dignity and your hope found expression in his life and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.
It is hard to eulogise any man, to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life but the essential truth of a person, the private joys and sorrows, acquired moments and unique qualities that illuminates someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for someone who moved billions around the world.
Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by the elders of his tribe, Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century.
Like Ghandi he would lead a resistance movement, a movement that at its start had little prospect for success. Like Dr King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and the moral necessity of racial justice. He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and reach the final days of the Cold War, emerging from prison without the force of arms he would, like Abraham Lincoln, hold his country together when it threatened to break apart.
And like America’s founding fathers he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedomfor future generations. A commitment to democracy and rule of law, ratified not only by his election but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term.
Given the sweep of his life, the scope of his accomplishments, the adoration that he so rightly earned, it’s tempting, I think, to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men but Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait.
Instead, Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts and his fears, his miscalculations along with his victories. I am not a saint, he said, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.