Sheffield pays its respects to ‘truly great’ Nelson Mandela

He was a man of “strength and courage”, a “truly great and inspirational leader” and set an example to all through his “courage, humility and forgiveness”.

“Mandela was a large part of my political education,” says a note in a book of condolence in the foyer of Sheffield Town Hall.

“You shaped my political consciousness,” says another.

Hundreds of tributes have been paid to Nelson Mandela in Sheffield’s book of condolence, which will be forwarded to the South African embassy after the book is closed on Monday evening.

The flag at the town hall flew at half mast this week in advance of the funeral.

Sheffield was the first in Yorkshire to give him the freedom of the city, and has always claimed close ties with the former South African President.

In the House of Commons, Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said he was proud Sheffield had played a leading role in the international campaign against apartheid.

“Hundreds were involved in the campaign against apartheid. Thousands more took up the call. Refusing to buy South African goods. Changing their bank account. Challenging trade missions. Protesting outside our theatres and venues against performers who had broken the cultural boycott.

“Our city council led a network of local authorities against apartheid. One of our universities divested shares in companies operating in South Africa, and the other named one of its buildings after Mandela. Our churches took up the cause. Our trade unions pressed the boycott in the workplace. All inspired by Mandela, the African National Congress and the values of the Freedom Charter.”