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Pics: 'Humbled' Barack Obama visits Nelson Mandela's prison cell

“The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit,” the president wrote.
Jun 30th 2013, 6:12 PM 9,740 29

(Photo: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

US PRESIDENT BARACK Obama has said he was “humbled” by his visit to the South African prison cell where Nelson Mandela spent most of his 27-year incarceration.

Obama visited Robben Island with his family today and paid tribute to the ailing 94-year-old former president. The US president left a message in the visitors book at the former prison praising the courage of Mandela and other anti-apartheid leaders who were jailed for their role in fighting against racist white minority rule.

“On behalf of our family we’re deeply humbled to stand where men of such courage faced down injustice and refused to yield,” he wrote.

“The world is grateful for the heroes of Robben Island, who remind us that no shackles or cells can match the strength of the human spirit.”

(Image: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama met with members of Mandela’s family yesterday and spoke with his wife, but declined to visit Mandela in hospital, saying he didn’t want to disturb his “peace and comfort”. Mandela has been in hospital for four weeks and remains critically ill.

Obama is visiting Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa during his trip to Africa.

- Additional reporting by AFP

Read: Obama to meet Mandela’s family – but won’t visit him in hospital >

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Christine Bohan

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