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Former South African President Nelson Mandela Dead at 95

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On Friday, people all over the globe mourned the death of Nelson Mandela, the man who led the fight to end the system of apartheid in South America and then went on to lead the country itself.

Mandela, the former Nobel Peace Prize winner and beloved leader, died on Thursday at the age of 95. President Jacob Zuma said Mandela had died “peacefully” at around 8:50 p.m. while in the company of his family.

Mandela spent almost three months in a Pretoria hospital after being admitted with a recurring lung infection from which he never recovered. He was then discharged in September and received home-based medical care. 

Numerous South Africans continue to dance and sing tribal songs, the national anthem and Christin hymns outside the Soweto home where Mandela once lived and the Johannesburg home where he died. Many left flowers, candles, shrines and other tokens of grief and appreciation outside the homes.  

President Zuma ordered all flags to fly at half-staff until Mandela is laid to rest on Sunday, December 15. He will be buried in a state funeral on Sunday, December 15, in his ancestral hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province. Zuma informed reporters that Sunday is said to be a “national day of prayer and reflection.”

A memorial service is to be held on Tuesday at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium, the place at which Mandela made his last public appearance in 2010 for the closing ceremony of the soccer World Cup. 

“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” Zuma said on Friday. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.” 

Born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in the Cape Province of South Africa, the civil rights activist would become the inspiration and leader to South Africa’s fight to end the country's apartheid system. "The impact of his efforts - to reconcile generosity with pragmatism and to find the common ground between humanity’s higher values and his own aspiration to power, as journalist John Carlin once described them - would ultimately reach well beyond South Africa’s borders, and earn him a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993," said The Huffington Post.

"What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human," Zuma said. "We saw in him what we seek in ourselves." 


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