South Africa, world mourn “giant for justice” Mandela

South Africa, world mourn “giant for justice” Mandela

THE WORLD IS MOURNING: Nelson Mandela died Thursday at the age of 95. Photo: Reuters

By Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela died aged 95 at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, plunging his nation and the world into mourning for a man hailed by global leaders as a moral giant.

Although Mandela had been frail and ailing for nearly a year, Zuma’s announcement late on Thursday of the death of the former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate shook South Africa.

Tributes began flooding in almost immediately for a man who was an iconic global symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the world had lost “one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth”.

OBITUARY: From Apartheid fighter to president to unifier, Mandela made history

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Mandela “a hero of our time” and said “a great light has gone out in the world”.

Ordinary South Africans were in shock. “It feels like it’s my father who has died. He was such a good man, who had good values the nation could look up to. He was a role model unlike our leaders of today,” said Annah Khokhozela, 37, a nanny, speaking in Johannesburg

A somber Zuma made a national broadcast to announce the death of South Africa’s first black president, who emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide Africa’s biggest economy through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy.

EXTRA: Nelson Mandela dead at 95

“Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” Zuma said in the nationally televised address.

“Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love,” he added.


Mandela would receive a full state funeral, Zuma said, ordering flags to be flown at half mast.

The U.N. Security Council was in session when the ambassadors received the news of Mandela’s death. They stopped their meeting and stood for a minute’s silence.

“Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters. “Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world and within each one of us if we believe, dream and work together for justice and humanity.”

Obama, the first black American president, described Mandela as an inspiration: “Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set, and so long as I live I will do what I can to learn from him,” he said in a televised address at the White House shortly after the announcement of Mandela’s death.

“A free South Africa at peace with itself – that’s an example to the world, and that’s Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved.

Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority apartheid government – a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most respected and loved figures.

He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960, but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the country’s white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later.

He was elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 and retired in 1999.


South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said the country and the world had lost “a colossus”.

“His life gives us the courage to push forward for development and progress towards ending hunger and poverty,” it said in a statement.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honor he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who released from jail arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner.

As president, Mandela faced the monumental task of forging a new nation from the deep racial injustices left over from the apartheid era, making reconciliation the theme of his time in office.

The hallmark of Mandela’s mission was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which probed apartheid crimes on both sides of the struggle and tried to heal the country’s wounds. It also provided a model for other countries torn by civil strife.

In 1999, Mandela handed over power to younger leaders better equipped to manage a modern economy – a rare voluntary departure from power cited as an example to African leaders.

In retirement, he shifted his energies to battling South Africa’s AIDS crisis, a struggle that became personal when he lost his only surviving son to the disease in 2005.

Mandela’s last major appearance on the global stage came in 2010 when he attended the championship match of the soccer World Cup, where he received a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 at the stadium in Soweto, the neighborhood in which he cut his teeth as a resistance leader.

Charged with capital offences in the infamous 1963 Rivonia Trial, his statement from the dock was his political testimony.

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.”

(Additional reporting by Guy Faulconbridge in London, Steve Holland, Matt Spetalnick, Mark Felsenthal, and Jeff Mason, Michele Nichols in New York, Stella Mapenzauswa and Peroshni Govender in Johannesburg; Writing by Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Peter Graff)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Lackey dominates, Cardinals beat Cubs in NLDS opener

The ball cap and glove St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jason Mote lie in the outfield grass during the baseball team's workout in Pittsburgh Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. The Pirates face the St. Louis Cardinals in the third game of the National League Division Series baseball game Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Game 2 of the best-of-five series is Saturday. The Cardinals turn to lefty Jaime Garcia who made 20 starts coming off risky thoracic surgery. Kyle Hendricks makes his postseason debut for the NL wild-card winners.

in Local Sports

Jackson left mark on Seahawks in start against Bengals


"I don't think any of us that were there at the time will ever forget how we felt about him and the courage that he showed and the toughness he showed and the resourcefulness to throw a football in the NFL with a torn pec," head coach Pete Carroll said

in Sports

Bae leads an International team rally amid Mickelson mistake at Presidents Cup


Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson were assessed a one-hole penalty at No. 7 when Mickelson used a different model golf ball, ultimately costing the Americans the match.

in Local

Ciscoe says if you have dogs, be careful what’s growing in your yard


In a recent Facebook post from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, he announced that his family dog had passed away from…

in Local

Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce partners with Google


 The Bellingham/Whatcom chamber of commerce has partnered with google to increase the county’s business exposure on the search engine. Shelli…