President George Weah has called on leaders and people of the world to honor the immaculate life and legacy of peace icon and former South African President, the late Nelson Mandela, by promoting global peace because the world will not be stable in the absence of peace and reconciliation, a dispatch from New York has said.
President Weah said Mandela demonstrated the highest sense of selflessness, forbearance and commitment to the peace of South Africa and the world when he chose to forgive his captors and oppressors, following his release from detention and subsequent election to the presidency of South Africa in March 1994.
Weah’s comments, according to the dispatch, were contained in a special statement he delivered on Monday, September 24, at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. “It is an honor today for me to stand before you to pay homage to Africa’s greatest hero, Nelson Mandela, on the centenary of his birth,” President Weah said.
He said the late South African icon fought to free his people from the shackles of apartheid; enlightened the minds of South Africans, and gave them courage and hope to stand against racial discrimination.
“He was a man whose enemies kept him for decades but did not break his spirit,” President Weah reflected of Mandela, adding, “When he was freed and given the mantle of authority, he united South Africans of all races,” President Weah said.
President Weah also declared that the former Nobel Prize winner was a role model and hero to many and served as an inspirational reservoir of courage in the face of much adversity.
He said Mr. Mandela pursued the reconciliation of South Africa and South Africans, because he believed a reconciled nation brings about development and prosperity for its people.
“His example was emulated by many including myself. I followed his philosophy and accepted the role as United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) Peace Ambassador to help humanity. This helped me to travel around the world in the quest for peace and true reconciliation,” President Weah said.
President Weah also recalled how the life of the late Mandela inspired him to tirelessly work toward disarming child soldiers in the Liberian civil war and bringing peace to Liberia.
He then reminded world leaders of Mandela’s favorite quote, “Courageous people do not fear forgiving for the sake of peace.”
Weah also called for peace and reconciliation to flourish around the world. On Monday, a statute donated by South Africa was unveiled at the UN in commemoration of 100 years since Mandela’s birth.
At the occasion, graced by world leaders including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, President Weah said the statue will serve as a reminder of the values of Mandela.
As a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist, Mandela served as the country’s first black Head of State and President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 as well as the first elected leader in a fully representative democratic election.
The late Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in Mvezo, South Africa, and died on December 5, 2013.