Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon who led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s after 27 years in prison for his political activities, died last night just before at 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT) at the age of 95.
Mr Mandela – who is also known affectionately by his clan name, Madiba, will receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast.
Mr Mandela’s body will be moved to a mortuary in the capital, Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Saturday.
27 YEARS IMPRISONED
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years imprisoned on Robben Island for his anti-apartheid activities. He was freed in 1990 and became South Africa’s first elected black president. In 1993 Mr Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“HE MADE US WALK TALL”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, said he was “not only an amazing gift to humankind, he made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall. God be praised.”
South African President Jacob Zuma said: “What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.
“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was, “a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration… Many around the world were greatly influenced by his selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom. He touched our lives in deeply personal ways.”
OBAMA – “HE BELONGS TO THE AGES”
US President Barack Obama said Mr Mandela achieved more than could be expected of any man.
“He no longer belongs to us – he belongs to the ages,” he said, adding that Mr Mandela “took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice”.
FW de Klerk, who as South Africa’s last white president ordered Mr Mandela’s release, called him a “unifier” and said he had “a remarkable lack of bitterness”.
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