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Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, honoured the family of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Pretoria. The honour is in recognition of the late leader’s legacy and his friendship with the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, both of whom have their birth centenary in 2018.

Shaikh Abdullah presented a thank-you letter, which recognises Mandela’s great standing with the UAE, to Zwelivelile ‘Mandla’ Mandela, the grandson of the late South African president, who received the note on behalf of his family.

The relationship between the two leaders was based on a firm foundation of humility, with each of them viewing the other as a ‘blessing’ and understood the importance of dealing with their people with kindness and mercy. The late Shaikh Zayed said to Mandela during a meeting in 1998, “You are a blessing”, at which the South African leader replied, “There is no greater blessing than you.” The meeting reflected the mutual respect between both leaders.

Continuing the path of those strong relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is participating in the restoration of the Mandela’s archives through its contribution to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, where the UAE Embassy in Pretoria will be supervising the restoration process in coordination with the foundation.

The ceremony was attended by Mahash Saeed Al Hameli, Ambassador of the UAE to South Africa, and other officials from both countries.