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Mandela is a model of leadership: Obama

world Updated: Jul 14, 2010 21:57 IST

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Nelson Mandela continues to be a role model of leadership for the entire world and his legacy is a "good guidepost" for present administrators in this aspect, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

"He continues to be a model of leadership not just for South Africa, but for the world. So we celebrate him here in the United States, as you do in South Africa. We wish him all the best," Obama said in an interview to the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

"We are constantly reminded that his legacy of seeing every person as important and not making distinctions based on race or class but the degree to which they are people of character -- that's a good guidepost for how all of us should operate as leaders," he said.

Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and former President of South Africa, turns 92 on Sunday.

Obama, who spoke to him recently after the tragic death of his granddaughter, said Mandela sounded as clear and charming as he always has been.

"Nelson Mandela set us on a path in understanding the standards of leadership that are needed, and I think those standards can be met. You're seeing countries around the continent who are starting to meet those high standards that are so necessary to ultimately help the people," Obama said.