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Idris Elba, Morgan Freeman pay tribute to "saint" Nelson Mandela

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Idris Elba, Morgan Freeman and Dennis Haysbert have all paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, having all played the South African leader on the big screen.

Elba is starring in the highly-anticipated upcoming biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which traces the leader's journey from opposing apartheid to becoming South Africa's president.


"What an honour it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family," Elba said in a statement.

He continued: "I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba's family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honoured to be associated with him. He is in a better place now."

Freeman portrayed Mandela in the 2009 movie Invictus, the story of South Africa hosting the Rugby World Cup amid massive political changes.


He has now said of Mandela's passing: "Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honour, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve - a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind.

"As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."

Haysbert ā€“ whose 2007 drama Goodbye Bafana (The Colour of Freedom) dramatised the leader's time in prison ā€“ also offered his thoughts on the politician's death.


"Portraying Nelson Mandela, in the film Goodbye Bafana was a defining moment in my life and my career," Haysbert said in a statement.

"We as a society, have been blessed to live in a time that Nelson Mandela has lived, loved, and led. What he has done for his country, his countrymen, and everyone on this planet may not be achieved againā€¦ ever. I will always honour him as a saint."

Tributes have poured in from around the world from luminaries such as US president Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, U2's Bono, Prince William, former US president Bill Clinton and UK prime minister David Cameron.

Mandela will receive a state funeral, and South African president Jacob Zuma confirmed on Friday that he will be laid to rest on Sunday, December 15.

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