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.
Madiba ploughs a lone furrow
With the approach of Nelson Mandela's retirement commentators will soon be offering their epitaphs on the political career of a president who will no doubt be long remembered as South Africa's greatest leader.

With the approach of Nelson Mandela's retirement commentators will soon be offering their epitaphs on the political career of a president who will no doubt be long remembered as South Africa's greatest leader.

In their search for insights into the man and his significance to the subcontinent they would have done well to spend 45 minutes listening to him in the less-than-electrifying environment of a corporate conference centre at Midrand on Saturday.

The gathering was a small, but powerful one; a few score Cabinet ministers, security force commanders, representatives of the intelligence agencies, trade union leaders, top businesspeople and opposition politicians.

The occasion was the summit on rural safety and security, the epidemic of farm murders which has reduced the supposed tranquillities of pastoral life into more of a nightmare - statistically, at least - for South African farmers, than that suffered by their Kenyan counterparts during the Mau Mau, or the Rhodesians during their bush war.

Mandela, suffering from exhaustion after his North American tour, had ignored medical advice to attend the conference. Which was to tempt controversy - not because he was risking his health, but because it underlined his failure the previous day to deliver the television address to the nation on the Aids plague. But then this is a man who has given his life to a different field of healing.

To some extent the summit, like most good conferences, had been choreographed, the analysis done in papers prepared by the police, the farmers and the intelligence agencies and the resolutions prepared for the formality of the vote.
Similarly the speeches had seemingly been prepared by the presidential speech-writers with calculation; the call for the moment's silence in memory of those who had died on the farms; the two passages of Afrikaans; the carefully pitched appeal for the expansion of the commando system with the co-operation of such as Congress of South African Trade Unions.

Curiously - in the light of the inclusion of his "statement from the dock" in modern anthologies of democratic speechifying - Mandela is no great orator. His delivery of prepared texts is too wooden and his departures from them too unstructured to be memorable. But it is when he ad libs that the passion can be felt which is the gift of the man.

At the farm murder summit his first departure from the text came as he dispassionately recalled how close South Africa had come to being reduced to "a piece of scorched earth" with "its cities flowing with streets of blood". As if struck by the inadequacy of the hyperbole he paused and, looking up from the lectern, observed that of course the liberation movements had delivered liberation. "That is the compliment we must pay them."

But to bring the transformation about without bloodshed could never have been achieved by them alone. It needed the co-operation of all South Africans. "That is why we have received accolades throughout the world," he said.
There were some who thought the accolades were for him alone, but if one listened to the speeches they were a tribute to all South Africans for achieving what had been achieved by no other people in the world. "After 1994 you only have to say `I am a South African', whether you are black and white, and the doors of the world are wide open for you."

Concluding his written speech with a pro forma appeal for unity -"I am of the view that, even if at times the chorus may have been discordant, we are singing the same song" - he paused again. Then, quoting a statement issued by the South African Agricultural Union last week - "we are South Africans, we are here to stay" - the president launched into a passionate evocation of a new South African patriotism.

Whites had to understand the disadvantaged background - the poverty of education - from which members of the present government had been drawn. They had been "literally taken out of the bush" and asked to run a massive, industrialised country.

"In spite of that, there is no government during the last three centuries that has ever delivered services as this government has done in four years." A thousand houses a day were being built for the homeless, 1 000 connections were being made a day to the electricity grid, running water had been delivered to 2,6-million households; security of tenure extended to six million farm workers whose mass evictions had been part of the shame of South Africa's past ...

But South Africa also needed to know the quiet contribution which was being made to the reconstruction of the country by Afrikaners and the English - particularly business leaders who, without exception, had been unhesitating in their response to funding appeals. "They want to share what they have," observed Mandela. "There is hope in our country. "