JUBA — South Sudan on Friday announced three days of mourning following the death of anti-apartheid leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela.
President Salva Kiir, who is attending a conference in France, called for the South Sudanese flag to be flown at half-staff on all public buildings in the country and at diplomatic missions abroad, government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters in Juba.
"Mandela’s death is a loss not only for his immediate rainbow nation but also for Africa and the whole world because he had become the epitome of love, freedom, equality, tolerance and multi-racial co-existence,” Makuei said.
Kiir has sent a letter of condolences to South African President Jacob Zuma, he said.
Mandela died peacefully on Thursday at his home near Johannesburg. He was 95.
Makuei called the South African giant "an icon of peace and upright political leadership" whose life and legacy inspire all Africans.
Hailing Mandela’s contribution to global peace as immeasurable, Makuei said the whole world will miss him.
He urged South Africans to take solace in the contribution Mandela made toward building a democratic South Africa.
“From people torn apart by racism and violence, the people of South Africa now walk with their heads high up, thanks to the wisdom and vision of Nelson Mandela,” he said.
Bishop Santo Laku Pio of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Juba called Mandela "a father of this continent who openly forgave and sincerely lived his forgiveness to the end of his life" and urged South Sudan to learn from his example.
"We need to forgive as Mandela did... we need to forgive and we need to reconcile and forge a way ahead for a greater prosperity," he said, calling South Sudan and South Africa "a twin brother and sister" united in their separate struggles against oppression.