President Barack Obama
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"Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals," said Obama.

Derrick Bryson Taylor
Dec, 10, 2013

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama spoke before thousands of grieving South Africans, heads of state and other distinguished guests at Nelson Mandela's memorial in Soweto's soccer stadium.

In his 18-minute speech, Obama praised Mandela's courageous and brave actions to end apartheid, praised him as a father, friend, son and more.

"Given the sweep of his life, the scope of his accomplishments, the adoration that he so rightly earned, it’s tempting I think to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men," explained Obama. "But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts and his fears; his miscalculations along with his victories."

Relive President Obama's speech above.