Demise of Nelson Mandela: French Flag at Half-Mast

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Statement by François Hollande, President of the French Republic:


«Nelson Mandela has shaped history: not just South Africa’s history but also the history of the world.

This indefatigable warrior defeated apartheid through his courage, his determination and his tenacity.

In spite of personal ordeals and ceaseless humiliations endured over 27 years of imprisonment, he was able not only to overthrow a revolting regime, but also to offer reconciliation and healing to South Africans and to establish democracy.

Nelson Mandela was for all these years the living symbol of the South African nation, the cement holding it together and the pride of Africa as a whole. He devoted his energy to giving his country the place it deserved among the world’s leading powers. He was personally committed to finding solutions for protracted conflicts across the world. To the end of his life, he was a tireless architect of peace.

Nelson Mandela’s message will not disappear; he will continue to be an inspiration to those who struggle for freedom, and to instill confidence in those peoples who are defending just causes and universal rights.

Nelson Mandela was an exceptional fighter and a magnificent conqueror.

He showed that human determination could not only break the yoke of servitude but also liberate the energies needed to build a common destiny.

France shares the immense grief of the South African people.
I wish to extend my deepest sympathies and those of the entire French nation to Graça Machel, and to his family and friends.»

Statement by Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs


«With Nelson Mandela we mourn the passing away of the father of South Africa, the pillar of the struggle for freedom and the builder of reconciliation.

Universally admired, his life truly gives the word “humanity” its full meaning. I personally admired him all the more as the fight against apartheid has been one of the causes I have constantly and vigorously defended.

I wish to pay tribute to the towering charismatic leader who has left us, and I extend to his family, his friends, his country, my deepest condolences.»

Last modified on 15/12/2013

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