Biden Signs Mandela Condolence Book at Embassy

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: Flowers from wellwishers surround the Nelson Mandela statue outside the South African Embassy on December 8, 2013 in Washington, DC. Mandela was a leader that helped conquer apartheid in racially divided South Africa after being jailed for his activism for decades. He was South Africa's first black president. He died on December 6, 2013 at the age of 95. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)

    Vice President Joe Biden is honoring the memory of former South African President and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela by signing a condolence book at the South African Embassy.

    Biden traveled to the embassy on a cold, drizzly Monday morning.

    Biden's inscription said, quote: "Through his unflagging, unflinching commitment to human dignity and his willingness to forgive, he inspired us and challenged us all to do better.''

    President Barack Obama left earlier for Johannesburg on Air Force One for Mandela's memorial service.

    As a senator more than three decades ago, Biden traveled to South Africa where authorities denied his request to see the imprisoned Mandela. After Mandela's release in 1990, the two men met in Washington.

    Biden will speak Wednesday at a Mandela memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington.