"The Father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, has finished his journey," the group writes in a tribute posted to their Facebook page. "One wants to think in terms of big words when describing him, but this would not be right. Among the many things one can say about our Madiba is that he never thought of himself as big. He was one of us, one of the people. His journey was our journey. And although he has physically left us now, his journey continues within us all."
The platinum-selling, three-time Grammy-winning group accompanied Mandela during his presidential inauguration in 1994 and when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
"He asked us to join him on this trip to receive the award in Norway, to sing and to represent our nation," the group recalled in the post. "He often said that we are South Africa‘s 'Cultural Ambassadors' to the world. We took this honor very seriously."
Mandela passed Thursday (Dec. 5).
He was a man of "incredible will, dignity, and humanity," they wrote.
"... Now, it's left for all of us to carry on his mission. We must continue the journey of making not just South Africa, but the whole world, a peaceful, forgiving place."
Click here to remember Madiba's influence on hip hop.
Click here to watch BET's Tribute to Nelson Mandela.
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(Photos from left: REUTERS/Omar Macia PN,Amy Sussman/Getty Images)