His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking to students from Bihar on Universal Values in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on January 25, 2018. Photo: Lobsang Tsering

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In a letter dated February 20, His Holiness the Dalai Lama congratulated President Cyril Ramaphosa on his election in the National Assembly as President of South Africa.

The spiritual leader of Tibet noted that such a peaceful, orderly transfer of power is a heartening indication of how deeply rooted democracy is in South Africa. He went on to praise the way, following President Nelson Mandela's inspiring leadership, South Africans have worked hard to nurture peace, democracy and equality in the spirit of truth and reconciliation.

"Your great country has so much potential for development and prosperity," His Holiness said, adding: "I am hopeful that under your leadership South Africa will continue to make further progress in prosperity and development, particularly by improving the lives of the less privileged section of the society. It is also important to instill optimism and hope for the people of your nation, which could be an example for others to emulate."

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate concluded by wishing President Ramaphosa every success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Africa.