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'Redouble fight for freedom and justice'

British campaigners say best tribute to Mandela is continuing his lifelong struggle

The death of Nelson Mandela triggered an unprecedented international outpouring of grief, tribute and admiration yesterday.

But there were also calls for his death to be an inspiration for action to create a world which would represent the fulfilment of his life-long beliefs - a world based on justice, equality, dignity, celebration of diversity and the eradication of poverty.

Just such a call came from Tony Dykes, long-time Anti-Apartheid Movement activist and now director of the organisation which succeeded it, Action for South Africa.

"A lot of tributes will rightly focus on Nelson Mandela's life, how he came out of prison and forgave his jailers," he said.

"But we should remember Nelson Mandela the freedom fighter, the revolutionary, who stood for freedom, equality and justice."

In a renowned speech at the Rivonia trial before his imprisonment in 1963, Mr Mandela said he hoped to see his beliefs become reality in his lifetime - but that if not he was "prepared to die for them."

Mr Dykes said: "If people are inspired by Nelson Mandela, his death should be a call to action to create that world, to really establish dignity, eradicate poverty, to make it a just and sustainable world where we celebrate diversity."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady captured the spirit in a letter of sympathy to South African union federation Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini.

"Nelson Mandela's greatest triumph was to be the personification of the idea that we can change the world," she wrote.

"We must redouble our commitment to the cause of equality, justice and freedom that he fought and campaigned for all his life."

Anti-racism campaign group Hope not Hate director Nick Lowles said: "We will mourn the passing of the greatest and most inspirational man of our generation, but at the same time we are determined to celebrate his contribution by continuing to build a movement which honours his vision of equality, tolerance and reconciliation."

During Mr Mandela's 27 years of imprisonment, leading British Tories condemned him as a "terrorist" yet queued to shake his hand when he later visited Britain.

Tory Prime Minister David Cameron praised Mr Mandela effusively yesterday. But when asked about the Conservative Party's past attitude to Mr Mandela the PM simply said he had "written and spoken about that before."


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