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Mandela hailed as Africa's greatest leader

by Nthambeleni Gabara
on 11 Jul 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

South Africa's first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela, has been described as Africa's greatest leader by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Briefing reporters at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on Thursday, the Liberian President described Mr Mandela as a selfless leader who was committed to improving other people's lives.

"I strongly believe that Mr Mandela is not only a world peace icon, but he is also Africa's greatest leader," she said, adding that he was the master of reconciliation because he was able to reconcile with his oppressors after being incarcerated for 27 years.

President Johnson Sirleaf received an invitation by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to be a part of Madiba's 90th birthday celebrations.

Mr Mandela's actual birthday is on 18 July, however numerous celebrations are held throughout the year around the world to honour him.

"It is an honour for me and the Liberian people to be part of this. It is also important to indicate that our relations with former oppressed South Africans date back to the liberation struggle era," she said.

According to the Liberian President, Africa is transforming into a continent of leaders, who no longer consider themselves as single self-appointed rulers.

"The majority of African leaders are no longer believing in violating the law by infringing their people's rights or abusing state resources," she said.

Ms Johnson Sirleaf further told reporters that women leadership was just as powerful as leadership by men.

"As a woman, I can do everything my male counterparts can do. We've spent 14 years in civil war, but within two years, we've moved our country's economy to a level where it can be recognised the world over.

"We've also consolidate peace and we are re-training the army. I am committed to drive Liberia from a dependent to a self-reliant and efficient country," she said.

On Friday, the President addressed a breakfast gathering of leaders at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. She is later scheduled to attend a dinner with captains of industry to be addressed by Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Executive Chair of Circle Capital Ventures.

On Saturday, Ms Johnson Sirleaf will deliver the sixth Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. - BuaNews

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