Truro School is flying its flag at half-mast today following the death of Nelson Mandela.
The school’s headteacher, Andrew Gordon-Brown, is from South Africa and rowed for his country in the 1992 Olympics.
Tributes have flooded in from around the world for Mr Mandela, known to his countrymen as Madiba, who died last night at the age of 95.
Mr Gordon-Brown said: “We are flying the flag at half-mast at Truro School today out of respect for perhaps the greatest political leader the world has ever known. Not an exaggeration to say that all South Africans feel that Madiba is their father/grandfather, we all somehow feel that we own a bit of him. Although I never met him, I felt as if I knew him.
“I was always struck by his graciousness, his moral authority, his sense of humour, his lightness of touch, whether he was talking to a prince or a pauper.”
Mr Gordon-Brown expressed confidence in the legacy of Mr Mandela.
He said: “Some say that without Mandela, up until now a living moral compass for the nation, South Africa will become a more chaotic place. I say that the moral authority he wields will be even greater now that he is at peace. May God bless him.”
Rory Jenkins is now a parish councillor in Perranporth but was born in South Africa and spent the first ten days of his life there.
He said: "He was instrumental in this transition to a country and continent I still love.
"He was a lesson to the world on so many levels, for today's rainbow nation South Africa and around the world he was a politician who fought justice not power.
"I hope that South Africa's leaders, the worlds leaders, at all levels consider this, and make it his legacy."
Flags were also flying at half mast outside County Hall.
John Wood, chairman of Cornwall Council said: “We are deeply saddened by the news.
"Nelson Mandela was a truly outstanding man of our time, he leaves a legacy of peace.”