(Yahoo!) - As the world mourns the passing of phenomenal human rights leader Nelson Mandela today, one of Mandela's most high-profile advocates, Bono, gave his own words about his longtime friend.
Posting a brief, but touching statement on ONE.org, a charity organization co-founded by the U2 frontman that fights extreme poverty, corruption and preventable disease with a focus on Africa:
"It was as if he was born to teach the age a lesson in humility, in humour and above all else in patience.
In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job. Mandela played with the highest stakes. He put his family, his country, his time, his life on the line, and he won most of these contests. Stubborn til the end for all the right reasons, it felt like he very nearly outstared his maker.
Today, finally, he blinked. And some of us cry, knowing our eyes were opened to so much because of him."
A longer, more personal statement from Bono appeared Thursday evening on Time.com, detailing the singer's history with the South African leader, dating back to Bono's teen activist years and U2's first foray into anti-apartheid efforts in 1979. He described Mandela as a man of humor and humility with a charisma that "could charm the birds off the trees" and said his "lack of piety helped him turn former foes into friends."
One of the anecdotes Bono shared about Mandela perfectly demonstrated such qualities:
"He told me once how Margaret Thatcher had personally donated £20,000 to his foundation. 'How did you do that?' I gasped. The Iron Lady, who was famously frugal, kept a tight grip on her purse. 'I asked,' he said with a laugh. 'You’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask.' Then he lowered his voice conspiratorially and said her donation had nauseated some of his cohorts. 'Didn’t she try to squash our movement?' they complained. His response: 'Didn’t De Klerk crush our people like flies? And I’m having tea with him next week … He’ll be getting the bill.'"
In late November, U2 released a lyric video for their song "Ordinary Love" for the soundtrack to the biographical film "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom":
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