The United Nations has unveiled the statue of Nelson Mandela, a former South African President, who died in 2013.
Unveiling the statue on Monday at its headquarters in New York, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, described Mandela as a man who “embodied the highest values of the United Nations — peace, forgiveness, compassion and human dignity”.
According to Guterres, “He was a champion for all people – in his words and in his actions. He was willing to fight and die for the ideals he held so dear. When he achieved the pinnacle of power as president of his beloved country, Madiba set an example that still resounds throughout Africa and the world — he stepped down after one term, confident in the durability of South Africa’s newfound democracy. He did not pursue power for its own sake, but simply as a means of service. This humility is a hallmark of Madiba’s greatness.
“The fight against apartheid marks a landmark in human rights and freedom. The credit goes to the people of South Africa, but the United Nations played its role, a role that we should be proud of. So, it is more than appropriate that our Headquarters should be honoured by this statue. I thank the Government of South Africa for its generosity in donating it. From this day on, all delegates, staff and visitors to the United Nations can be constantly inspired by Madiba’s legacy looking at this wonderful statue.”
Mandela would have clocked 100 in July 2018 and the UN is declaring 2019-2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace.
Also applauding Mandela’s attributes, UN General Assembly president, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, said: “Few people in the history of our world have left such an incredible mark on humanity.”
Anima Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General to the UN, also praised his achievement in fighting for peace, justice and prosperity.
“A statue of a truly global and African hero, Nelson Mandela unveiled at the UN. His legacy of fighting for peace, justice and prosperity lives on.” She tweeted.
Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years during the South African apartheid era, but four years after he was freed in 1990, he became the country’s first black president in its first multi-racial elections.