Western Province Rugby has paid tribute to former state President, Mr Nelson Mandela, who passed away on Thursday, December 5, 2013. Mr Mandela – who was 95 years old – passed away peacefully at his home.
WP Rugby President, Mr Thelo Wakefield, said: “On behalf of Western Province Rugby I would like to pay tribute to one of the greatest leaders this world will ever see.
“Mr Mandela meant a lot to every single person in this proud nation of ours and we can only marvel at what he did for our country.
“Hopefully his legacy will continue to live on for a long time and I would like to offer my sympathies and best wishes to the Mandela family during this sad time.”
DHL Stormers and Springbok captain Jean de Villiers said: “My lasting memory of Madiba is that of a person who had enormous ability to bring people together. His presence at a Test match just lifted the crowd and energised the team – it is actually hard to describe.
“Of course, as a sportsman I am so grateful for him for what he did for our country. He inspired South Africans, who for so long were very divided, to peacefully build a united Rainbow Nation.”
Meanwhile, the South African Rugby Union (SARU) also paid tribute to Mr Mandela.
“All of our lives are poorer today at the extinguishing of the great beacon of light and hope that led the way for our country through the transition to democracy,” said Mr
Oregan Hoskins, President of the South African Rugby Union.
“We have been steeling ourselves for this day for some time but, now it has arrived, the sadness is no less. Madiba had a place in all our hearts -and his passing is a personal blow to us all.
“The South African Rugby Union shares in our nation’s sadness: Madiba was a great man of vision, determination and integrity who performed a miracle that amazed the world as much as it amazed his fellow countrymen.
“His name will rank among that of the greatest liberators and humanitarians for as long as mankind walks the earth. It was our privilege to have lived in this country during his lifetime.”
Mr Mandela was a legendary freedom fighter, the first democratically elected South African State President and a Noble Peace Prize winner.