You likely know that Nelson Mandela died today in Johannesburg at the age of 95. An icon of the anti-apartheid effort, Mandela spent 27 years in prison before his release in 1990. He won the Nobel Peace Prize three years later and was named South Africa's president a year after that.
U2 has a fairly long legacy with Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement, too. And so it's natural that Bono would be one of the first to eulogize Mandela in an essay for TIME magazine:
Mandela would be remembered as a remarkable man just for what happened -- and didn't happen -- in South Africa's transition. But more than anyone, it was he who rebooted the idea of Africa from a continent in chaos to a much more romantic view, one in keeping with the majesty of the landscape and the nobility of even its poorer inhabitants. He was also a hardheaded realist, as his economic policy demonstrated. To him, principles and pragmatism were not foes; they went hand in hand. He was an idealist without -naiveté, a compromiser without being compromised.
You can read Bono's full essay on TIME.com.
U2's current single, "Ordinary Love," features Mandela on the cover and is featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming film, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
UPDATE: Given Mandela's recent health troubles, Bono's essay for TIME was likely written in advance. He's made a separate statement that appears to be more current and can be found on the (RED) blog:
Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job.