It is with much sadness and regret that we note the passing of President Nelson Mandela at the age of 95. The South African Union for Progressive Judaism and the South African Association of Progressive Rabbis offer their sincere condolences to the family and the country at large on the passing away of our beloved president and father of the nation ‘Tata’. All who knew him suffer the absence of this man who was a mentor, a teacher, a president, a Nobel peace laureate, an anti-apartheid hero and a paragon of racial reconciliation. We wish those close to Madiba strength and we send out our heartfelt sympathies.
It is a day South Africans have dreaded – the passing away of President Nelson Mandela, which of course has shaken us all to the core; the fact that death in old age does not seem to fit the proper definition of a “tragedy” does little to console the millions who grew up with President Nelson Mandela as a constant and ever-consoling presence.
It is as though all the people of South Africa have been sitting together in a nation-wide waiting room, watching a loved one fade away. What we as a nation feel for Madiba is a complex mixture of affection, respect and love. His presence is part of our national well-being and we worry that we may not be able to continue so effectively without him.
President Nelson Mandela served South Africa with a great deal of passion and commitment over the years. He was a kind and caring man, a man of great knowledge and dedication. His presence, involvement and guiding hand will be sorely missed.
May the memories of his life sustain and support everyone through this time of bereavement and in the years that lie ahead. Madiba will remain a presence through the living legacy of his many charities and the philanthropic projects started in his name.
Steve Lurie Rabbi Robert Jacobs
National Chairman of the SAUPJ Chairman of the SAAPR
(On behalf of the SAUPJ committee)