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Madiba: 'The greatest man of a generation'

The British House of Parliament paid tribute to Nelson Mandela.

SA citizens line up to leave tribute messages for Nelson Mandela at South Africa House in Trafalgar Square. Picture: Mandy Southgate/iWitness

LONDON - British Members of Parliament (MPs) spent Monday evening paying tribute to Nelson Mandela in the Houses of Parliament.

Madiba passed away on Thursday last week in his Houghton home in Johannesburg. He died at the age of 95.

Senior politicians and former cabinet ministers paid their respects with the scheduled business of defence questions postponed to make way for the event.

The debate was opened by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said Nelson Mandela's 'long walk' may be over but he has an 'enduring place in history', adding that Mandela was never a 'helpless victim of history - he wrote it'.

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Nelson Mandela was the 'greatest man of his generation' and praised his fight against poverty and Aids.

The former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said Madiba was 'no saint' and while he deserved the 'vast bulk of the credit' for bringing apartheid to an end, he added there were 'two heroes' in the process and the role played by FW de Klerk must be recognised too - comments which drew audible gasps in the Chamber.