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Mandela: SA's greatest son laid to rest (slideshow)
The world watched as Nelson Mandela was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Qunu following a dignified and moving funeral ceremony on Sunday.
Former president Nelson Mandela made a strong plea for world peace after receiving the Newsmaker of the Decade award from the Johannesburg Press Club on Wednesday.
"We must ask again that in the fight against terrorism the United Nations play that key role as the legitimate institution representing our common desire for a better and peaceful world," he said.
Mandela said it was thanks to the UN that there had been no world war since the end of World War II in 1945.
"Twenty-one years after World War I, the second World War broke out. It is now 56 years after the end of World War II ... but there has been no world war again due mainly to the UN."
He said the recent attacks on the United States which had left more than 5 000 dead, had shaken the belief that a century of lasting peace had begun.
"It was a source of encouragement to note that almost the entire world responded with utter revulsion to such cowardly acts. We need to continue emphasising the fact of the overwhelming existence of such common decency and desire to live in peace with one another."
Mandela also said that South Africa had made a concrete contribution to peace on the African continent through its involvement in the Burundi peace negotiations. He will leave for Bujumbura, Burundi on Thursday morning to join Deputy President Jacob Zuma, two Cabinet ministers and the SA National Defence Force chief at the installation of a transitional government.
Mandela is the chief mediator in resolving the conflict which has seen hundreds of thousands of people killed or fleeing the country as refugees.
The Arusha accord was finally signed last year paving the way for a transitional government.
It will be led by President Pierre Buyoya, a Tutsi, for the first 18 months and with the secretary general of the Hutu Front for Democracy in Burundi, Domitien Ndayizeye, taking over for the final 18 months.
SANDF soldiers were deployed in Burundi this week to protect exiles returning to the country
About 241 of a final contingent of about 700 South African troops will help protect returning Hutu exiles who will take up their posts in the 26-member transitional cabinet.
"The road ahead is still fraught with many dangers but there can be no gainsaying that the transitional government represents a major achievement by the Burundi leadership. They have thereby made a major contribution to peace in Africa," Mandela said.
He thanked UN secretary general Kofi Annan for his support in the peace negotiations.
"We trust that the Security Council will find it in its path to as quickly as possible move towards full authorisation of the peace-keeping force that will be needed to sustain the peace process in this transitional phase."
He also gave special thanks to President Thabo Mbeki who signalled the go-ahead for the deployment of South African troops.
"The president immediately agreed ... We also wish our soldiers well, and we salute their commitment to peace on our continent.
"Without peace the regeneration of our continent is not possible. South Africa has made a major contribution to the concrete realisation of the African Renaissance," Mandela said. - Sapa