Today 06 December
In nearly seven decades spent fighting for freedom and equality, Nelson Mandela inspired and challenged the world to stand up for others. As word of Mandela's death spread, current and former presidents, athletes and entertainers, and people around the world spoke about the life and legacy of the former South African leader.
July 18, 1918 — Born to Hendry Mphakanyiswa, a Thembu chief, and Nosekeni Qunu in the Umtata district of the Transkei, at a time when virtually all of Africa was under European colonial rule.
Nelson Mandela, the icon of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle and a colossus of 20th century politics, died late Thursday aged 95, prompting mass mourning and a global celebration of his astonishing life. The Nobel Peace laureate, who was elected South Africa's first black president after spending nearly three decades in jail, died at his Johannesburg home surrounded by his family, after a long battle against lung infection. The news was announced to the nation and the world by an emotional South African President Jacob Zuma, in a live late-night broadcast. "Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed," said Zuma, whose own role in the struggle against white rule saw him imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island.
South African President Jacob Zuma: "Our people have lost a father. His humility, passion and humanity earned him their love." U.S. President Barack Obama: "He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time." Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus and anti-apartheid activist: "Like a most precious diamond honed deep beneath the surface of the earth, the Madiba who emerged from prison in January 1990 was virtually flawless ... Instead of calling for his pound of flesh, he proclaimed the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, inspiring others by his example to extraordinary acts of nobility of spirit." Former South African President F.W. de Klerk, on CNN: "He was a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard beyond everything else he did. This emphasis on reconciliation was his biggest legacy." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.
F.W de Klerk, the former South African president who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela, on Friday paid tribute to his successor while recalling their "often stormy" relationship. "It was an honour to work with former president Nelson Mandela in bringing democracy to South Africa," de Klerk said in a statement after the death of the anti-apartheid hero. When Mandela was finally released from prison in February 1990 he was entrusted with the task of persuading the new president de Klerk to call time on the era of racist white minority rule. Mandela and de Klerk, South Africa's last white president, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their role in the ending of apartheid.
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