CONDOLENCES were sent from all over the world to South Africa, whose former president and one of the most significant fighters against apartheid, Nelson Mandela, died on December 5. Slovak politicians expressed their sympathy, and spoke of the life of one of the most influential personalities in the modern era of South Africa.

“The Gandhi of Africa is gone,” Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič wrote in his condolence letter to his South African counterpart, President Jacob Zuma, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “Together with him, one epoch in the modern age of South Africa and the African continent also ends.”

Gašparovič added that people will remember Mandela as a respected personality and a natural leader with extraordinary courage who “did not regret any sacrifice on the way of resistance against undemocratic practices in his country”.

“We will always appreciate his remarkable contribution to implementing a policy of national reconciliation in South Africa and to ensure stability and prosperity for the people of his country,” Gašparovič wrote.

Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák called Mandela’s death a loss for the whole democratic world. He said he honoured him as a respected person who “not only suffered much in his life, but achieved even more”, as reported by SITA.

Freedom and democracy are not free or permanent and are not here forever, but it is necessary to fight for them every day, Pavol Frešo, chair of the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), told SITA. According to him, Mandela’s life should be an example of this struggle.

Frešo also said that with his life, Mandela impacted not only the destiny of his country, but the whole world.

Mandela, who symbolised the resistance of South Africa's black inhabitants against apartheid, and who was a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a former South African president, died at the age of 95 in his home in Johannesburg. His death was announced by current South African President Zuma.

“Our nation has lost one of its greatest sons,” Zuma said, as quoted by the Sme.sk website.

Source: SITA, Sme.sk

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.