Mandela a ‘humble’ leader–Legarda

December 6, 2013

MANILA, Philippines — A “humble” leader was how Senator Loren Legarda remembered South African leader Nelson Mandela, whom she met when she was still a journalist.

Legarda said she interviewed Mandela during his state to the Philippines in 1997.

“It was a great honor to have met President Nelson Mandela. He was a leader who earned your respect with his presence alone because even with his power and influence, he remained kindly and unassuming. His humility was his true greatness,” Legarda said in a statement on Friday.

“He was a humble leader who gave credit to the effort of the people around him. He never gave the impression that the leadership was all about him, but that he was a man who was tasked to execute the ideals and ideas of his organization,” she said.

It was during that interview, Legarda said that Mandela told her that he did not see the need to run for reelection because he believed in the “tradition of collective leadership.”

Mandela died late Thursday (Friday, Philippine time) at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A lawyer by profession, Mandela joined the African National Congress in 1944 to fight the apartheid policy of the South African government. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage and treason in 1962, which gained him international attention as a symbol of resistance against social injustice.

In 1994, Mandela became the first black President of the Republic of South Africa, ending generations of a apartheid.

“The world grieves over the death of the man whose courage inspired the dawning of a new South Africa and empowered victims of social injustice in other parts of the world,” Legarda said.

Source: Inquirer