As Nelson Mandela celebrates his 90th birthday readers send their wishes
Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday has sparked hundreds of BBC News Website readers from around the world to send their birthday wishes for the former statesman.
Others have told of their memories of being lucky enough to meet Mr Mandela.
Here are their stories and tributes.
READERS' MEMORIES OF MANDELA
I met him walking through Green Park with his daughter next to Buckingham Palace at seven o'clock one morning (I think it was his final presidential visit to Britain). I asked if I could shake his hand.
'Why would you want to do that?' he asked.
'It's not everyday that I hold a hand that changed history' I said.
I talked to him, his daughter and his bodyguard for about fifteen minutes.
He then said he had to go and have breakfast with the big lady - pointing to the Palace.
He is a very special man who will go down in history - not just for what he said, or did - but more for the way in which he did things that went on to change history.
Henry Woodcock, London
He is the greatest statesman in living memory. I first saw Nelson Mandela when he came to Lusaka soon after his release. Lusaka served as the HQ for the ANC during the apartheid era. He is fully and truly human. He has attained the highest of humanity.
Schmidt Chintu, Lusaka, Zambia
Nelson Mandela is a national asset. Anywhere you go in the world and you mention his name the locals open up to you. My husband Matthew met him as captain of the under 23 national football team in Sydney for the Olympics. We treasure the photo. Happy birthday Tata Madiba, from Russia with love.
Sonia Bonneventia Booth, Samara, Russia
READERS' TRIBUTES TO MANDELA
I am not really a religious man but if anyone deserves sainthood, it is Mr Mandela. I know there are things he could have done better when president, but he could not be a saint if he were perfect. When he speaks or when I read something he wrote, all I can do is remain silent and feel lucky for living in his era. May he have a long and healthy life.
Josť FernŠndez, Barcelona
Most of my life, I have seen violence, death and destruction. Now we are living in peace. Can Nelson Mandela and friends not intervene in the Middle East crises which is spiralling out of control? Nelson is truly one of the world's greatest leaders and advocate for peace and reconciliation.
Peter Ferris, Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Mandela's political career is absolutely amazing. I think all the people of world should learn a lesson from Mandela's life to struggle for liberty and equality.
Shreedhar Acharya, Kathmandu, Nepal
Happy birthday Madiba. How I wish we could still keep you for ever as a fountain for advice for both Africans and the world at large. You have taught the world the greatest lesson - that of love, humility, forgiveness and good neighbourliness. You are our bright icon may you have peace.
Kampolombo Bernard, Lusaka, Zambia.
To me Mandela is the greatest African.
Agbaje Olalekan,Lagos Nigeria
I sat and watched with the rest of the world when Mandela was freed from prison. In South Africa pictures of him were banned so I had no idea what to expect. Wow! he could have called for a civil war upon his release but instead he took us to peace. Happy Birthday Madiba!
Elaine Simpson, Bournemouth Dorset (ex South Africa)
Nelson Mandela stands tall as the beacon of humanity on the hill top of our time. That true freedom requires the liberation of both the oppressed and the oppressors which constitutes the inner essence of Mandela's leadership. What was possible in South Africa was due to Mandela's unwavering personal sacrifice and political struggle of his lifetime. His "long walk to freedom" continues even today at the age of 90. Nelson Mandela represents in true sense both a great Marxist and a Gandhian at the same. While lending voice to the voiceless, he rose above the petty national, religious, and ideological boundaries. The strength of his moral conscience is truly inspiring. The world would definitely be a better place if there were more leaders like Mandela. May I wish him a very happy birthday!
Devendra S Pant, North Dakota, USA
Mr Mandela is a role model that every president should emulate. He promotes democracy, fight HIV/AIDS and most importantly he fought for the independence and liberation of South Africa. May you live long Mr Mandela. Happy birthday and many more in return.
Ebrima S Jallow, The Gambia
He is the role model for the politicians all over the world. He achieved what he wanted to have, the peace! In a part of the celebration of Dr Mandela's birthday, I dedicated my master's thesis to him. I wish him all the best!
S Puvanendran, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Mandela, is the greatest leader of our time. Best wishes for your health and happiness.
Dr Jagath Kularatne, Japan
I'm wishing happy birthday to him. I appreciate the way he has ruled South Africa with the struggle to the independence of his nation.
Alfred Mwalongo, Iringa, Tanzania
Personally, he is a great man. People around the world should really appreciate what he has done. Happy birthday to him!
Xue Li Xia, Suzhou, China
Mr Mandela represents for me all that is good and desirable in a leader. His humility, charm and compassion make him an extraordinary human being. I join the rest of world in wishing him a happy birthday. I pray to God that more like him rise to positions of leadership. Africa needs them. Indeed, the entire world needs more leaders like Mandela. God bless you, Mr Mandela.
Rose Tchwenko, Yaounde, Cameroon