Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Dies @ 95

After holding on for several months, Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and an enduring icon of the struggle against racial oppression, died on Thursday, the government announced

Nelson Mandela Released
Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie, walking hand in hand, raise clenched fists upon his release from Victor prison, Cape Town, Sunday, February 11, 1990.

Mr Mandela, 95, led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison.

Mr. Mandela spent 27 years in prison after being convicted of treason by the white minority government, only to forge a peaceful end to white rule by negotiating with his captors after his release in 1990. He led the African National Congress, long a banned liberation movement, to a resounding electoral victory in 1994, the first fully democratic election in the country’s history.
Mr. Mandela served just one term as South Africa’s president and had not been seen in public since 2010, when the nation hosted the soccer World Cup. But his decades in prison and his insistence on forgiveness over vengeance made him a potent symbol of the struggle to end this country’s brutally codified system of racial domination, and of the power of peaceful resolution in even the most intractable conflicts.
 Mr. Mandela served as president from 1994 to 1999, stepping aside at the age of 75 to allow his deputy, Thabo Mbeki, to run and take the reins. Mr. Mandela spent his early retirement years focused on charitable causes for children and later speaking out about AIDS, which has killed millions of Africans, including his son Makgatho, who died in 2005.

He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital.

In a statement on South African national TV, the South African president, Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela had “departed” and was at peace.

“Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was one of the world’s most revered statesmen after preaching reconciliation despite being imprisoned for 27 years.

He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004.

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

“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”

It was reported the media all over the world that earlier today outside Mr Mandela’s home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, there appeared to have been an unusually large family gathering.

Among those attending was family elder Bantu Holomisa,

A number of government vehicles were there during the evening as well, our correspondent says.

Since he was released from hospital, the South African presidency repeatedly described Mr Mandela’s condition as critical but stable.

South Africa will never be the same again without this great man surely.

Mandela is survived by his wife, Graça Machel, six children, and 17 grandchildren.

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