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Obama speaks on the death of Mandela

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America’s first black president, Barack Obama, hailed Nelson Mandela on Thursday as a source of personal inspiration whose struggle against racism in South Africa jump-started his own involvement in politics.

REPORT BY REUTERS

Speaking in the White House press room shortly after the announcement of Mandela’s death, a somber-looking Obama said the 95-year-old former South African president left a legacy of freedom and peace.

US President Barack Obama makes remarks on the passing of former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nelson Mandela at the age of 95, at the White House in Washington, December 5, 2013. Picture: Reuters/Mike Theiler
US President Barack Obama makes remarks on the passing of former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nelson Mandela at the age of 95, at the White House in Washington, December 5, 2013.
Picture: Reuters/Mike Theiler

“I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid,” Obama said.

“Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him,” he said.

Watch below:

View pictures of Obama’s recent visit to South Africa below:

 US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013. Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed
US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Cape Town, June 30, 2013.
Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed

US President Barack Obama (L) listens to Desmond Tutu as he visits his HIV Foundation Youth Centre and takes part in a health event with youth in Cape Town, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
US President Barack Obama (L) listens to Desmond Tutu as he visits his HIV Foundation Youth Centre and takes part in a health event with youth in Cape Town, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
US President Barack Obama stands in the Robben Island prison cell that Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment, near Capetown June 30, 2013. Picture: REUTERS/Gary Cameron
US President Barack Obama stands in the Robben Island prison cell that Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment, near Capetown June 30, 2013.
Picture: REUTERS/Gary Cameron
US President Barack Obama (3rd R), his daughters Malia (L), Sasha (2nd L obscured), First lady Michelle Obama, Michelle's mother, Marian Robinson (2nd R), and niece Leslie Robinson (R) view the exercise yard on Robben Island that Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment June 30, 2013, near Capetown. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
US President Barack Obama (3rd R), his daughters Malia (L), Sasha (2nd L obscured), First lady Michelle Obama, Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson (2nd R), and niece Leslie Robinson (R) view the exercise yard on Robben Island that Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years of imprisonment June 30, 2013, near Capetown. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
US President Barack Obama writes in a guest book as he tours Robben Island with First lady Michelle Obama near Cape Town, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
US President Barack Obama writes in a guest book as he tours Robben Island with First lady Michelle Obama near Cape Town, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
A hand-written note by US President Barack Obama is pictured in a guest book as he tours Robben Island with First lady Michelle Obama near Cape Town, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
A hand-written note by US President Barack Obama is pictured in a guest book as he tours Robben Island with First lady Michelle Obama near Cape Town, June 30, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

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