Pretoria: Former President Nelson Mandela has become the first recipient of the Lifetime Award for Global Peace from the Mahathir Global Peace Foundation in Malaysia.
The award was accepted by President Jacob Zuma on Mandela’s behalf. Zuma is on an official visit to that country.
The award, which was launched by Malaysian Prime Minister YabDato’ Sri NajibTunRazak on Tuesday, highlights and honours Mandela’s peace efforts and achievements.
“This gesture confirms what Madiba means to the world as a man who has an unwavering belief in unity, peace, justice, human rights, freedom, equality and who wants the world to be a better place for all, free of conflict and wars, poverty and degradation.
“We are humbled as South Africans to share President Mandela with the world. At the same time, we are truly proud that our country and the struggle for liberation in particular, produced such an international icon,” said Zuma during the acceptance speech.
Zuma said the award was an opportunity for the world to reflect on the momentous role Mandela has played. The 95-year-old former statesman remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital.
“While wishing him good health, we also have to celebrate his legacy and learn from it, in order to build a better world,” said Zuma.
Madiba is no stranger to Malaysia. He is a personal friend of former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad and led South Africa in cementing relations with Malaysia during his Presidency.