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Key South Somerset figures pay tribute to Nelson Mandela
1:00pm Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
NELSON Mandela’s death last week has prompted people around the world to reflect on his life.
The former South African leader died surrounded by his family at his home on Thursday (December 5) after several months of ill health.
He campaigned tirelessly against the divisive and racist apartheid regime in his home country, sacrificing 27 years of freedom for what he believed in.
Within just four years of being released from prison on Robben Island he had become a Nobel Peace Prize winner and South Africa’s first black president.
These and other notable achievements mean his name is indelibly written in the history books and he stands as a symbol of hope and inspiration to people of all ages, colours and backgrounds.
David Laws MP said: “The loss of Nelson Mandela is extremely sad. “He played the key role in taking South Africa from being a country of bitter nations to the peaceful, multi-racial nation of today.
“In doing so, he set an example of tolerance and forgiveness which has been admired throughout the world and which will, hopefully, have a benign influence in resolving other long-running divisions.”
Other key figures in the district shared their thoughts on his life.
The Mayor of Chard, Cllr Jenny Kenton, said: “Nelson Mandela was an inspirational man who refused to allow his treatment under an oppressive regime cloud his wish for a unified country.
“He died at home with his family after a long life and will leave behind a hope and blueprint for world peace. What more could a human being aspire to?”
Cllr Emma Jane Taylor, Mayor of Ilminster, added: “I can only echo the sentiments of other people as so much has been said about Nelson Mandela and what he achieved which, in itself, is testament to a person whose life has touched and influenced so many others.”
Stuart Shepherd, owner of Ilminster’s Shrubbery Hotel, has seen for himself what Mandela did for South Africa, during visits to family in the country over the last 40 years.
He said: “I was always very supportive of the antiapartheid movement.
“I knew South Africa before Nelson Mandela and saw the huge difference after apartheid.”
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