Summarizing Mandela’s legacy, de Klerk paraphrased Mandela’s own words on eNCA television: “Never and never again should there be in South Africa the suppression of anyone by another.”
Mourners also gathered outside Mandela’s former home on Vilakazi Street in the city’s black township of Soweto. Many were singing and dancing as they celebrated Mandela’s life.
The liberation struggle icon’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, said he is strengthened by the knowledge that his grandfather is finally at rest.
“All that I can do is thank God that I had a grandfather who loved and guided all of us in the family,” Mandla Mandela said in a statement. “The best lesson that he taught all of us was the need for us to be prepared to be of service to our people.”
“We in the family recognize that Madiba belongs not only to us but to the entire world. The messages we have received since last night have heartened and overwhelmed us,” the grandson said.
Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s personal assistant for almost two decades, said the elder statesman inspired people to forgive, reconcile, care, be selfless, tolerant, and to maintain dignity no matter what the circumstances.
“His legacy will not only live on in everything that has been named after him, the books, the images, the movies. It will live on in how we feel when we hear his name, the respect and love, the unity he inspired in us as a country, but particularly how we relate to one another,” she said in a statement.
Helen Zille, leader of South Africa’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, and premier of the Western Cape, the only province not controlled by the ANC, commented: “We all belong to the South African family — and we owe that sense of belonging to Madiba. That is his legacy. It is why there is an unparalleled outpouring of national grief at his passing. It is commensurate with the contribution he made to our country.”
The ANC has postponed its national executive committee, scheduled for this weekend, following Mandela’s death. Banks will close on the day of Mandela’s funeral, said South Africa’s banking association.