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Dorset pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
6:18pm Friday 6th December 2013 in News
DORSET has paid tribute to South African leader Nelson Mandela.
The former South African president, who led the country’s transition from white-minority rule, died on Thursday evening at the age of 95.
Chairman of the South West Multicultural Network, Anne-Marie Vincent, who lives in Bridport, remembered meeting the man she describes as an ‘icon’.
She said: “I was working for the Racial Equality Commission at the time and there was an event at the Albert Hall which he attended.
“He was an incredibly inspirational person and I think he led the way in terms of the peace process in Northern Ireland because, of course, if it can happen in South Africa, which was so much more oppressive and exploitative, then surely it could happen there.
“He is an icon and a symbol of hope and tolerance.”
Ms Vincent added: “I don’t think anyone in my lifetime will accomplish what he has done.”
South Dorset MP Richard Drax said: “To me the most remarkable aspect of the man was that, having spent a quarter of his life in jail, to come out and live and breathe and preach a life of peace and reconciliation, which he did with huge dignity, is the mark of an extraordinary man.”
Chief officer of the Dorset Race Equality Council Adnan Chaudry said he would remember a man who was ‘magnanimous’ to his captors and a ‘giant’ in the fight against racism.
He said: “Mr Mandela was the world’s most famous prisoner, and for us he was a symbol of defiance and resistance against the apartheid system.”
Mr Chaudry added: “Growing up in the 1970s my mother would boycott South African goods. That was incredibly inspirational for me.”
The tributes join thousands of others from world leaders and celebrities. The Queen visited a plaque commemorating Nelson Mandela’s 1996 visit to Parliament after saying she was ‘deeply saddened’ to learn of his death. The Prince of Wales also paid tribute to the man known to friends by his clan name Madiba. Mr Mandela will be buried on Sunday, December 15, South African president Jacob Zuma said.
Prime Minister David Cameron was the first person to sign a book of condolences at South Africa House in London yesterday, writing: “Your generosity, compassion and profound sense of forgiveness have given us all lessons to learn and live by.”
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