The Dullah Omar Foundation mourns the passing of the Father of the Nation, uTata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the man who taught South Africa to rediscover its self-esteem and its humanity.

Thank you Madiba for demonstrating that the impossible was possible: That South Africans could set aside centuries of profound prejudice and oppression to forge a united democratic nation. That Africa could produce a human being revered across the earth. That if the people could overcome apartheid, the people could overcome the troubles in Ireland, and the divisions in Rwanda. That people are more important than capital.

Thank you for your courage and your steadfastness in championing non-racial justice despite the brutality you and your family endured at the hands of the apartheid regime. For not allowing them to embitter you. For teaching us that the colour of our skins is ultimately of far less importance than what is inside us. For saving us from ourselves.

Thank you for the trust you invested in Dullah Omar, and for your care for Dullah and the Omar family. The Mandela and Omar families were thrust together in the crucible of struggle. A relationship initially forged between an anti-apartheid lawyer and an incarcerated client became a relationship of fellow human beings, with Aunty Farieda Omar’s famous samoosas, and the warmth of the hospitality she extended to members of Madiba’s family, helping to transcend any cultural or professional barriers that might have existed. The love and loyalty you showed Dullah over the difficult last months of his life sustained the Omar family and will never be forgotten.

Thank you Madiba for your legacy of compassion. For your acknowledgement of others, for your willingness to listen to what they had to say. For embodying ubuntu. You set the bar very high. Through your actions you said: “We should not accept second best.” It is our duty to follow.

The Dullah Omar Foundation conveys its deepest condolences to the Mandela family. May the bonds forged in struggle and in the glory of the making of our young democratic nation endure for generations to come.


“We should speak of what it is that makes us to value Dullah Omar as we do, as an outstanding comrade and African, who belongs among the galaxy of stars that point our way to a better future…

We owe it to him and others who dedicated themselves to serve the people of South Africa, ready to lay down their lives, to ensure that we eradicate poverty and underdevelopment, racism and sexism in our country, realise the renewal of Africa, and contribute to the construction of a new world order of equality among the peoples and a shared prosperity. To achieve these objectives we need the quiet courage of a Dullah Omar, without seeking fame and acclaim. We need the steadfast attachment to principle of a Dullah Omar, without expectation of personal reward. We require the unwavering focus on the interests and aspirations of the masses of the people of a Dullah Omar. We must cultivate the use of our minds and skills to advance the interests of the people as did Dullah Omar, rather than our selfish desires.”

Quote from Thabo Mbeki at the Dullah Omar Eighth Memorial Lecture