People around the world have paid tribute to the first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, after his death was announced last night.
Politicians and residents from across the ELL boroughs have spoken in remembrance of the man who was instrumental in the fall of apartheid.
Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman released a statement, explaining the affect that Mandela had on him.
“Nelson Mandela has been an inspiration to me, just as he has for millions across the globe…A great light has just gone out in the world…Nelson Mandela was a giant. We shall not see his like again.”
Lewisham Council held a minute’s silence in honour of Mandela’s life.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: “When the history books are written centuries from now there will be three names from the 20th century held up as the greatest statesmen of that era – Sir Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy and Nelson Mandela.”
The Croydon council have started a book of condolence inviting members of the public to come in and pay their respects.
Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, tweeted “Nelson Mandela was an inspiration to people of all backgrounds and a shining example of all that is best in humanity. Rest in peace Madiba.”
In Hackney this morning, students at the Urswick School, gathered for a series of assemblies led by head teacher Richard Brown.
Brown said, to the Hackney Gazette, “I felt it was important for the school to mark the death of Nelson Mandela. The students can learn important lessons about hope and perseverance from the story of his life.”
Our reporters have taken to the streets to speak to ELL residents about the great man’s life.
George Agbro, 47, Deptford
“It’s shocking. He was a symbol of democracy, a symbol of equality. Most people associate him to the very idea of freedom. Last night in Trafalgar Square, the people weren’t singing songs of joy, but songs of freedom. In Parliament Square he is the only black man to have a statue, which is a top achievement. He wasn’t loved just by black people or Africans, he was loved by all. In a way, even if this is obviously sad news, it is also good news: let him go and rest. He was sick in hospital for so long. He’s played his part. I hope his legacy will continue”
Margaret Morris, 65, Deptford
“It’s absolutely tragic. I remember when he was in jail. Looking at his face now, you can’t think of him being that young then. In the last years he mellowed a lot, but he was a good fella. He will be sadly missed.”
Precious Omorosi, 49, Deptford
“He showed a good example for everybody. He suffered for a lot of people, not just himself. If everybody did a similar thing to what he did, the whole world would be in peace. He worked for cooperation in all Africa. I hope all the world will recognise his value. I’m very proud of him, so proud of him.
Precious Benedo, 40, Deptford
“He fought for the rights of every African. He was a good leader. After the war, he worked for the reconciliation between Africa and Europe: he forgave what they did to them. He was an example for us all”
Ben Collier, 19, photographer, Whitechapel
“I play rugby and I remember in 1995 when he handed the world cup to South Africa and it was a really big moment. He was a new leader and it was a nice memorable image. It was a sport dominated by whites and it was just nice to see people of different colour coming together.”
Reporting by Daniel McCarthy and Chiara Rimella