WaterAid pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

The world has lost a great campaigner for social justice with the death of former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela.


6 Dec 2013

WaterAid today pays tribute to the leader for tirelessly championing the rights of poor and marginalised people, with courage, vision and determination.

“On behalf of WaterAid staff and supporters around the world, I extend my heartfelt condolences to all of Mr Mandela’s family, loved ones, the people and Government of South Africa,” said Barbara Frost, WaterAid’s Chief Executive, who called his death “an extraordinary loss”.

“He was a remarkable, courageous man with such generosity of spirit, humour and forgiveness. He did so much to bring hope to all that a just and fair world is possible and that we all have our own part to play in this.”

Mr Mandela was committed to making poverty history and eradicating inequalities in whatever form they take. After serving 27 years in prison for his struggle against apartheid, he continued his calls for justice for all upon assuming the South African presidency in 1994, and carried on his work long after stepping down in 1997, a few months before his 80th birthday.

“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all,” he said in his iconic inaugural speech in Pretoria in May 1994.

Throughout his life, Mr Mandela lent his voice to such causes as the fight against the AIDS epidemic in Africa and called for an African Renaissance.

Robert Kampala, WaterAid’s Head of Southern Africa Region, said:

“As we mourn this loss, we will continue to fully embrace Madiba’s insistence that overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. Overcoming poverty is, as he so rightly said, ‘the protection of the fundamental right to dignity and a decent life’.

“As we celebrate and remember this distinguished leader, we call upon other world leaders to emulate his example and work for universal access to water and sanitation by 2030 as the essential step towards eradicating global poverty.”