The world pays tribute to Mandela (slideshow)
As South Africans come to terms with the loss of former president Nelson Mandela, the rest of the world bids farewell to Madiba.

Pimples: Saving Madiba's rabbit (video)
Gwede, Mac and Blade try their best to stop the rabbit from whispering in Mandela's ear. But the elusive animal has some tricks up its sleeve.

Zapiro's best Madiba cartoons (slideshow)
From his toughest moments to his most triumphant, Madiba has been an inspiration. Here are some of our favourite Zapiro cartoons about him from 1994 to 2013.

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.
A great statesman with the common touch
Nelson Mandela is that rare phenomenon -- an honest politician equally at home with world leaders and ordinary people.
Nelson Mandela ... Inspires his people
Nelson Mandela ... Inspires his people

My Catholic upbringing taught me saints were unblemished beings, non-sinners who had moved on to the next world. They were only separated from the angels by the human flesh they once carried.

Blemished as he is by the rigours of the world and tainted by the human flesh he carries, Nelson Mandela is the kind of man on whose head a halo would rest quite comfortably. Not that this man is holy and sinless. It is just that he has a presence which is both completely familiar and larger than life.

I have never met the man I consider not only my political but almost my spiritual leader. Yet I feel I know him personally. When I see him on television I feel as if he has once sat at my kitchen table and shared a cold beer with me.

Mandela has the common touch, whether he is dealing with a wealthy Middle East sheikh or a humble cow herder in QwaQwa. Dangerous as it is to venerate political leaders, it is hard to resist the temptation in his case.

Something in the personality of the man evokes affection in even the most hardened of cynics. It's the benevolent smile, the lanky physique and majestic walk. It's the stem and monotonous voice, whose only music is the authority that accompanies it. It's the simplicity of the message that the voice carries, which everyone can hear and understand. Not least of his unusual qualities are his physical and moral stamina.

At 75, he has withstood the rigours of a brutally punishing four-year transitional process in South Africa without wilting. Watch film of him speaking after the declaration of the state of emergency in 1961 -- it is the same man with the same values and world-view.

Mandela is no intellectual giant. He is not the revolutionary demagogue. Nor can he lay claim to historic military feats. He is riot even an electrifying factor. Perhaps it is the lack of these attributes that has forced him to project his real personality and command loyalty simply through what he is. He is that rarest of beings -- the honest politician.

The one thing about South Africa's new president is the undeniable genuineness that shines through his public appearances. Nothing he does or says smacks of someone playing to a gallery; he seems to mean everything he says.

Watch him play with children it is not the vote-catching politician. It is the grandfather who relishes the company of young people. See him visit a church, a synagogue or mosque, and the gesture does not ring hollow. See him in hospital visiting patients and his face registers real concern.

With his humanity comes a strict, almost old-fashioned sense of what is proper and acceptable behaviour. He chastises unruly crowds, and is quite prepared to tell them what they do not want to hear. Apparently free of self-pride, he often makes jokes at his own expense.

Somehow he has succeeded in blending in his person ordinary decency, the African nationalist hero, the modem politician and the international statesman. For many black South Africans the concept of forgiveness for the evils perpetrated in South Africa over the past 300 years would not be well received -- but from Mandela they accept it.

When he pleads for reconciliation, even instructing blacks to learn Die Stem, not even the most hardened of township comrades remains unmoved. Who could fail to be touched when the man from whom apartheid took so much is prepared to forgive?

One of his remarkable qualities is the complete absence of bitterness towards his erstwhile persecutors. For blacks across the world, he has become an icon, a legendary anti-imperialist figure assuming the mantle of Marcus Garvey and Kwame Nkrumah. But he transcends this. He is a worthy figure for idealists across the world to live up to.