Madiba's grandson hailed the global icon as a "survivor who defied the odds" and looks forward to interactions with Mandela as a beloved ancestor.
Mandla Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, on Friday described his grandfather as the embodiment of strength, struggle and survival. While deeply saddened by the news of his grandfather's death, Mandla Mandela said he was "strengthened" by the knowledge that "he is now finally resting".
"During his life, Madiba has defied the odds and together with his organisation the ANC and his comrades, he fought against apartheid to gift us the freedom we are enjoying today. All that I can do is thank God that I had a grandfather who loved and guided all of us in the family. The best lesson that he taught all of us was the need for us to be prepared to be of service to our people," Mandla Mandela said.
He described his grandfather as a survivor who had defied the odds.
"Even during his long fight to regain his health, Madiba demonstrated his fighting spirit to his last strength. When everyone wrote him off, he kept surviving and getting better. He is an embodiment of strength, struggle and survival, principles that are cherished by humanity. As a grandfather, we have all known him as a kind-hearted, generous and wise person who was always prepared to offer us advice on how to be good members of our communities."
Shared with the world
Mandla Mandela said he recognised that the Mandela family had to share the icon with the world and expressed his gratitude for the messages of support the family had received.
"I am sincerely grateful for the national and international support that our family received during Madiba's long health challenges. We in the family recognise that Madiba belongs not only to us, but to the entire world. The messages we have received since last night have heartened and overwhelmed us. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to the South African government, the ANC and the doctors in charge of Madiba's health during all his long health challenges.
"We are now preparing to celebrate his contribution to this country, to the world and to our family. Celebrating his long life is the best accolade we can give him. Celebrating his contribution to society will make him smile in his resting place. We look forward to continuing our interaction with him as one of our beloved ancestors," Mandela said.