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Tributes paid from across the diocese to global statesman Nelson Mandela

Date: 06 December 2013
Tributes have been paid from across the diocese to the remarkable and inspirational former South African leader following his death aged 95.

The Bishop of Dorking the Rt Revd Ian Brackley said: "Although we have been expecting Nelson Mandela to die it is still shock when it happens.

"When I was an undergraduate in the 1960s he was a hero to all of us at that age for his brave stand against Apartheid in South Africa. His amazing generosity of spirit and offering of forgiveness and reconciliation inaugurated a huge healing process in South Africa.

"His immense dignity and statesmanlike approach to his own suffering and to the problems faced in his own country have been an inspiration to so many. His own Christian faith was undemonstrative but deep rooted. He knew what it meant to take up one’s cross day by day.

"He has left the world a better place and shown us a better way of how to behave as nations and peoples. I thank God for his life and example. May he now rest in peace and rise in glory."

The Revd Pippa Ross-McCabe of St Mary's Church, Byfleet, grew up in South Africa and holds dual nationality. She said: "Mandela (Madiba) leaves an enormous legacy: Love of a people, attentiveness to the invisible and the insignificant, self-sacrifice, integrity, courage and care.

"These are the doors he opened for South Africans but also for people everywhere. These are the doors history shows we most often tend to walk by.

"Madiba is greatly loved by the nation he loved, my prayer is that grief at his departure will deepen our gratitude and renew courage to walk in his shoes."

Vicar of St Paul’s, East Molesey the Revd Paul Webb, said: “I never met Madiba, but like almost any South African (I hold dual nationality) I hold him in high esteem for his ability to unite the nation.

"Watching his release from prison on SABC was extremely moving. I only voted once in South Africa and that was at the 1994 election. I was a reservist in the South African Police at the time.

"The peaceful way in which all South Africans were able to come together, sometimes queuing for hours to vote, was a tribute to his statesmanship and conciliatory attitude.

"His presence at the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in one of the Captain Francois Pienaar's shirts was highly symbolic. I expect an enormous outpouring of genuine and deep grief. I hope that his legacy can continue to challenge and inspire those currently in high office."

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