Nelson Mandela Foundation

Nelson  Mandela 1996 1

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Nelson Mandela, Johannesburg, 21 August 1996. Photo courtesy of The office of the Dalai Lama

In a letter to the family of Nelson Mandela, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his deep sadness on learning of the passing away of Nelson Mandela. His Holiness wrote: “In his death the world has lost a great leader, whose steadfast and unflinching determination played a key role in securing peace and reconciliation during South Africa’s transition from apartheid rule. Under his leadership South Africa was transformed through peaceful means, in the spirit of reconciliation.”

His Holiness said that he would personally miss a dear friend who he had hoped to meet again and for whom he had great admiration and respect. In his letter, His Holiness continued, “He was a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity; a great human being, someone of whom we can truly say, “He lived a meaningful life.” I pray for him and offer my heartfelt condolences to you, the members of your family and the entire people of South Africa.”

Finally, His Holiness said that although Nelson Mandela had physically departed, his spirit would go on. He said that the best tribute we could pay to him would be to do whatever we can to contribute to honoring the oneness of humanity and working for peace and reconciliation as he did.