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, we thank you
For what shall we thank Nelson Mandela? Shall we thank him for all those months he spent on the run criss-crossing the country and, like an elusive rabbit, dashing into the nearest hole at the sign of danger?

For what shall we thank Nelson Mandela? Shall we thank him for all those months he spent on the run criss-crossing the country and, like an elusive rabbit, dashing into the nearest hole at the sign of danger? Shall we thank him for the years he spent breaking stones on Robben Island, paying the price for daring to stand up to white supremacy?

Shall we thank him for seeing the need — when the rest of us had resigned ourselves to the inevitability of a gargantuan showdown — to avert bloodshed and shepherd his comrades and enemies towards a negotiated settlement? Shall we rather tell him of our gratitude for the sternness and grace with which he led us through those first five years of democracy, during which he taught us the values of forgiveness and the primacy of nation-building? Or shall we tell him how grateful we are for the icon and moral compass he has continued to be when he could be enjoying his twilight years and patting himself on the back for a job well done?

Yes, we should thank him for all these things. But our most heartfelt gratitude should be reserved for the fact that he has lived in our times, 'Homo sapiens' with a colossus against which we more fragile mortals can measure ourselves.

Through the ages, the human race has had its icons of men and women who rose above ordinariness to inspire their generations. They have given to their generational peers the wisdom and the tools needed to advance the human condition.

In our generation the gods bequeathed us Nelson Mandela, who for billions around the world has come to symbolise the virtues and values needed to reverse the barbarism that characterised human behaviour in the past century. Mandela emerged from prison towards the end of a century marked by two world wars, a Holocaust, genocides and bloody civil conflicts to provide a new moral light. He took a country whose political system had embodied the worst excesses of Nazism, capitalism, communism and racism and turned it into the world's moral beacon. He preached and lived reconciliation and nation-building.

He also taught us the virtues of humility and caring, never missing the opportunity of trekking to far-off corners to visit a dying cancer sufferer or to spend time with the vulnerable and downtrodden classes.

In post-retirement Mandela has continued to play his role as the international moral voice — speaking about such outrages as the United States war on Iraq; and as a voice for the voiceless waging battle on behalf of HIV-positive South Africans.

He has a spontaneity that is missing from the bland, manufactured and scripted leaders who dominate the world scene. It is only he who can tell George W Bush what most of the world thinks of his mental capacity. It is only he who has no qualms about telling Africa's political dinosaurs about the destruction they are wreaking on the continent. And it is only he who has the courage to prick the cold conscience of the business sector.

In celebrating Madiba , South Africa's precious gift to the world let us remember to tell him all these things while he lives. Let us remember to tell him even though he will strenuously resist that he is, for this generation of humanity, what many of the great prophets and philosophers of previous aeons were to their generations.

And while he lives let us remember to tell him: Madiba, we thank you.

'A ludicrous state of affairs'
In addition to our other ailments, Africa has a rather serious case of shoot-ourselves-in-the-footism.

What else can explain the appointment, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a deputy chairperson of the African Union last week? He went home and crowed about the appointment, saying it was yet another signal of Africa's faith in his leadership. What jaw-dropping cheek!

How did such a ludicrous state of affairs come to be? And at a meeting where serious work was done, where some serious visitors, like United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, dropped in to support this latest effort at African union and good governance.

Every year a bureau of 15 countries is elected, on a rotational basis, to support the chairperson — this time Mozambican President Joachim Chissano, who took over from South Africa's Thabo Mbeki. Three are appointed from each region and it was Mugabe's turn. So it is stretching the truth, somewhat, for him to boast of a show of confidence.

Is it too much for Africa's citizens to expect that leaders will not shoot all of us in the foot? Was it too much to expect the AU in the spirit of "respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance" to veto the appointment. "Sorry, mate, no way, not this year, maybe next," Mugabe's brother leaders might have said, if they were a principled lot.

But it seems too much to expect. Zimbabwe was a complete non-issue at the AU summit, not raised even behind closed doors.