Prepare for the Republican freak out in 3, 2, 1…
President Obama at a memorial on Tuesday in South Africa called the late Nelson Mandela “the last great liberator of the 20th century” who “earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness” along with “persistence and faith.”
Under a rainy sky at the start of summer in South Africa, Obama honored the nation’s first black president and anti-apartheid leader, who was a source of inspiration in Obama’s adult life.
He likened the late leader to Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and said he “speaks to what is best inside us.”
“His struggle was your struggle,” Obama said, speaking at First National Bank Stadium before an estimated crowd of tens of thousands of people including British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Oprah Winfrey and Bono.
“His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.”
Obama compared Mandela to another of his heroes: Lincoln. He said when Mandela emerged from his time in prison “without force of arms, he would, like Abraham Lincoln, hold his country together when it threatened to break apart.”
The president said “Madiba” showed the world “the power of action of taking risks on behalf of our ideals. And he quoted Mandela’s own words saying, “I’m not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
South Africans affectionately call Mandela “Madiba,” which is a term of endearment and has become a nickname. It is a family name and is derived from a chief who ruled in the 18th century, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.0