The death of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, seems to have left Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, world acclaimed wordsmith, short of words.
He appears to be so shell-shocked and devastated that he has only succeeded in crafting a 15-word tribute to Mr. Mandela.
“The soul of Africa has departed, and there is nothing miraculous left in the world,” the Nobel Laureate said in a rare tribute published on saharareporters Friday morning.
It is unclear if Prof. Soyinka will, in the coming days, offer a more detailed tribute to the late apartheid fighter.
Mr. Mandela passed away Thursday night at 95, throwing the entire world into unprecedented mourning.
Already, American President, Barak Obama, has ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half-mast Thursday night to sunset on Monday in honour of Mr. Mandela as tributes from world leaders and notable people all over the world continue to pour in.
“Mandela no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages,” Mr. Obama said in a moving tribute moments after the death of former South African was announced.
Similarly the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, also ordered the country’s flag in all government and public buildings be flown at half-mast on Thursday and on the day of his funeral.
Meanwhile, tributes have continued to pour following the death of the man who is credited for reconciling White and Black South African after the brutal apartheid era that saw the black majority suffering hideous human rights abuses under successive white minority regimes.
F.W. De Klerk, South Africa’s last white president, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993 described him “as a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard beyond everything else he did.”
“It’s extremely sad and tragic news, were just been reminded about what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family right now,” Said Prince Williams who learnt of Madiba’s (as Mandela is fondly called by South Africans) passing at the premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” a new film about his life alongside Mandela’s two youngest daughters. His two daughters left the cinema as soon as they were told of their father’s death but asked that the screening should be continued.
The film’s producer announced the news to the audience at the end of the screening and asked for a minute silence in honour of the fallen leader.
“He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison. He taught us how to come together and believe in ourselves.” said human rights activist and Nobel Prize winners, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Mandela was born in 1918. He was sentenced to life in imprisonment by the apartheid government for his armed struggle against a government infamous for killing unarmed protesters. He spent 27 years in prison before was released and elected first black South African president in 1993.