QUNU, South Africa (AP) — Leaders and family members on Sunday praised South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela as a man who united and freed his nation by fighting to end racist rule and then embracing forgiveness and reconciliation.
This is a selection of quotes from the funeral service in Mandela's southeastern childhood village of Qunu:
"It is the end of an extraordinary journey that began 95 years ago. It is the end of 95 glorious years, of a freedom fighter, a dedicated and humble servant of the people of South Africa. Fountain of wisdom, a pillar of strength, and a beacon of hope for all those fighting for a just and equitable world order ... Your long walk to freedom has ended in a physical sense ... Our own journey continues ... We wish today to express two simple words: Thank you. Thank you for being everything we wanted and needed in a leader during a difficult period in our lives." - South African President Jacob Zuma.
"Your abundant reserves of love, simplicity, honesty, service, humility, care, courage, foresight, patience, tolerance, equality, justice continually serve as a source of enormous strength to many millions of people in South Africa and the world ... Today mingled with our grief is the enormous pride that one of our own has during his lifetime and now in your death united the people of South Africa and the entire world on a scale never before experienced in history ... My life is in a void, and I don't know who to turn to." - Ahmed Kathrada, imprisoned on Robben Island with Mandela for years.
"Go well Madiba . go well to the land of our ancestors, you have ran your race ... We will carry lessons you taught us throughout our lives ... As South Africans we must stop pointing fingers, but must rather lead by example, as you did and do something positive for South Africa." - Mandela's granddaughter Nandi Mandela, using his clan name.
"It is through Mandela that the world cast its eyes on South Africa and took notice of the severe and organized repression of the black South Africans. Yet it was also through Mandela that the world would learn the spirit of endurance, the triumph of forgiveness and the beauty of reconciliation." - Ndaba Mandela, Mandela's grandson.
"The Madiba song may have ended, but its melody lingers on." — Bantu Holomisa, family friend.
"There is no tomorrow without a yesterday. There is no tonight without a yesternight. The bones of our ancestors are vibrating. The waves of African oceans are reverberating." - Zolani Mkiva, Mandela's former praise singer.
"As we celebrate Madiba's life, we also remember important concepts that Madiba taught us: Tolerance and forgiveness." - Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy leader of the country's governing party, the African National Congress.
He "gave his life for the sake of justice and freedom, who lived the world healing practices of forgiveness and inclusivity, compassion and integrity ... We praise and thank you, oh God, for that Nelson Mandela, for his faithfulness to your call, his example of justice, peace and reconciliation and his courage to endure suffering, rejection and persecution for the sake of others." - Bishop Don Dabula.
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