Leaders' tributes to Mandela picked out by official website creators

In creating the South African government's special website in memory of Nelson Mandela, the comms team negotiated the awkward challenge of ranking tributes paid by world leaders.

Nelson Mandela: tributes from world leaders
Nelson Mandela: tributes from world leaders

The site, mandela.gov.za, is headed by an obituary of Mandela and includes a picture gallery, videos and quotes from the great man.

The ‘tributes by world leaders’ section is led by the natural choice of US President Barack Obama, who concludes:

"Let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived - a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God bless his memory and keep him in peace."

The authors of the site have placed former South African president Thabo Mbeki next, then former US president Bill Clinton, who says:

"History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation."

US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson comes next and then former UK prime minster Tony Blair, with a quote taken from a BBC Radio 4 interview:

"Through his dignity, grace and the quality of his forgiveness, he made racism everywhere not just immoral but stupid; something not only to be disagreed with, but to be despised. In its place he put the inalienable right of all humankind to be free and to be equal."

The sixth and final tribute is from Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, including the words:

"Dr Mandela will always be remembered and honoured by all mankind as one of its greatest liberators, a wise, courageous and compassionate leader, and an icon of true democracy."

UPDATE 12.20: Several more leaders have been added to the list including David Cameron, George W Bush, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Cape Town archbishop Thabo Makgoba and former South African president FW de Klerk.

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