6 December 2013 14:15

Nelson Mandela will be revered and remembered globally for the life he has led and what he has come to represent in terms of the struggle for the democratic rights of black South Africans.

But, even more than this, he will be remembered for his capacity to look forward and to understand that for South Africa to advance reconciliation was required on an unprecedented scale. He was jailed in 1964 and finally released in 1990.

In a small act of respect in the greater scheme of things, Lancaster University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1984 . This was six years before Nelson Mandela was released, in an official climate in the UK which legitimated the South African government’s position that he should remain incarcerated.

The University’s flag is being flown at halfmast as a mark of respect for an exceptional man.