JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu lauded his compatriot and fellow Nobel peace laureate Nelson Mandela Friday as the man who taught a deeply divided nation how to come together.
"Over the past 24 years Madiba taught us how to come together and to believe in ourselves and each other. He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison," Tutu said marking Mandela's passing.
"We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory."
Tutu dismissed doomsayers who have long predicted South Africa will fall apart after Mandela's death.
"To suggest that South Africa might go up in flames -- as some have predicted -- is to discredit South Africans and Madiba's legacy," Tutu said in a statement.
"The sun will rise tomorrow, and the next day and the next... It may not appear as bright as yesterday, but life will carry on."
"As we enter the mourning period, as a nation, we do so with the greatest dignity and respect because that is what we owe Madiba and ourselves."
Tutu is expected to make a public address in Cape Town on Friday.
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