The Executive Committee of Convocation of the University of the Witwatersrand mourns the death of Wits Alumnus and first President of democratic South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
We pay tribute to this great leader who taught us what servant leadership is really about. With his courage, tenacity and patience, he led our country towards democracy during a difficult time. While he was humble he also had incredible presence and influence; he made us understand that true leadership is not just about leading only those who agree with us or are like us. He taught us that the real test of our leadership comes when we have to work with those we do not like or those who do not always agree with us. He met, listened and engaged with South Africans of all cultures and political persuasions, from the AWB to the Ximoko party, irrespective of their representation (or not) in parliament. Mr Mandela was a true Witsie who understood the importance of diversity in building a vibrant democracy in our country. He epitomised the human spirit in its complexity, diversity and optimism.
We pay tribute to his memory, send our condolences to the family and share the sense of loss felt by all true South Africans and freedom loving citizens of the world.
Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng
President of Convocation
(on behalf of the Executive Committee of Convocation)