Tens of thousands of South Africans (and about 100 heads of state) gathered in Johannesburg today to pay tribute to legendary activist Nelson Mandela. In addition to the large crowds in South Africa, millions more viewers were tuning in nationwide to hear the world’s political leaders commemorate Mandela.
President Barack Obama was among those who eulogized Mandela at today’s memorial service. Addressing a grieving nation, Obama spoke of a man who changed not only his country, but the world.
Obama called Mandela “the greatest liberator of the 20th century” and compared him to other leaders like Martin Luther Kind Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.
“It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you,” President Obama stated, using Mandela’s tribal name. You can view the full transcript of his remarks here.
The president was caught taking a controversial selfie at the memorial service with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Also sending the Internet into a tailspin of fury was a report of Obama shaking hands with Cuban president Raul Castro.