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Mandela's family speaks of 'grave sadness' over loss of 'pillar of family'

Published on Dec 8, 2013 12:28 AM
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Two children pose in front of a poster of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Centre of Memory in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Dec 7, 2013, two days after Mandela's death. Mr Nelson Mandela's family spoke on Saturday of their sadness at losing a humble, caring man they said was a moral guide not only for their clan but for people around the world. -- PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Mr Nelson Mandela's family spoke on Saturday of their sadness at losing a humble, caring man they said was a moral guide not only for their clan but for people around the world.

"Tata (father) is gone," family spokesman Temba Matanzima told journalists in Johannesburg.

"His presence was like a baobab tree that provided a comforting shade that served as protection and security for us," he said, referring to the massive tree with its famously thick trunk that is sometimes used as a shelter.

"The pillar of the family is gone, just as he was away during that 27 painful years of imprisonment."

 
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