Barack Obama

Obama: Nelson Mandela "The Last Great Liberator of the 20th Century"

Made the comments at memorial in Johannesburg


President Obama at a memorial on Tuesday in South Africa called the late Nelson Mandela "the last great liberator of the 20th century" who "earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness" along with "persistence and faith."

Under a rainy sky at the start of summer in South Africa, Obama honored the nation's first black president and anti-apartheid leader, who was the source of inspiration in Obama's adult life.

He likened the late leader to Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and said he "speaks to what is best inside us."

"His struggle was your struggle," Obama said, speaking at First National Bank Stadium before an estimated crowd of tens of thousands of people including British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Oprah Winfrey and Bono.