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Mandela pays tribute to Govan Mbeki
Former president Nelson Mandela paid a moving tribute Saturday to Govan Mbeki.

Former president Nelson Mandela paid a moving tribute Saturday to Govan Mbeki, his comrade-in-arms who died last week aged 91, describing him as "one of the truly great sons of Africa." Speaking at Mbeki's funeral service, Mandela said the anti-apartheid stalwart -- father of President Thabo Mbeki -- had been "one of the leaders who set the foundation for the liberation of South Africa." Around 5 000 people crammed into a university hall on the edge of Zwide black township near this south coast city for the funeral, among them South African cabinet ministers and dignitaries from across Africa. Another 5 000 or so mourners were unable to get into the hall and waited outside.

Expressing his condolences to Thabo Mbeki, who succeeded him as president in 1999, Mandela said: "I want you to know that (Govan) is one of the truly great sons of Africa and that we can take courage from his life." Mandela said Mbeki had been a "deep thinker, an inspiring leader, an educator, a fearless revolutionary, and a man who championed the cause of the common people of South Africa". "Govan Mbeki is one the great heroes of our liberation struggle. We salute him. We are not just by bidding farewell to a comrade -- it's a piece of ourselves that we are losing." - AFP