IGNORE: Obama: Mandela 'courageous and profoundly good'

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) - America's first black president Barack Obama paid solemn tribute Thursday to South Africa's first black president Nelson Mandela, dubbing him "influential, courageous and profoundly good." "Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, he transformed South Africa and moved all of us," Obama said in a televised White House address.

col-dc/sst SAfrica-Mandela-US AFP 052233 GMT DEC 13