11 Dec 2013 16:30pm
WINDHOEK, 11 DEC (NAMPA) - President Hifikepunye Pohamba has described the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as an anti-apartheid icon, who sacrificed his life for the dignity of others.
He believed in a united South Africa, Pohamba said at the memorial service held in honour of the former South African president at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Mandela, affectionately known by his clan name Madiba, died in Johannesburg last Thursday evening after a long battle against lung infection.
He was 95.
Pohamba noted that Mandela was an inspiration to the people of Namibia with regards to the countrys struggle for freedom and independence, which was finally gained in 1990.
He also acknowledged the presence of retired Namibian politician Andimba Toivo ya Toivo at the memorial service, who was arrested in 1966 and imprisoned at Robben Island with Mandela in 1968.
Ya Toivo, a founding member of the Ovambo Peoples Congress (OPC), which later became the South West Africa Peoples Organisation (Swapo), was incarcerated at Robben Island for 16 years under South Africas anti-terrorism laws.
He was released in March 1984.
Madiba was a symbol of fundamental human rights, freedom, peace and justice not only for the people of South Africa, but for humanity as a whole, the Namibian Head of State noted.
The president also urged people around the world to stand together for the second phase of the struggle, which includes the struggle against economic and social problems, and for people to be guided by the principles of democracy, equality and justice.
He further stated that Mandela was a unique and special gift to the world, and that his legacy will live on forever.
Many Namibians have described Pohamba's speech as short, powerful and to the point.