5 December 2013

South Africa’s Nelson Mandela dies in Johannesburg

The announcement of Mandela’s death was made by President Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95.

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

He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital.

Announcing the news on South African national TV, President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela was at peace.

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

Scenes from around the globe in the hours after Nelson Mandela’s death, as world leaders, South Africans, and our own journalists react.

“Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.”

Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela – who is known affectionately by his clan name, Madiba – had died shortly before 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT). He said he would receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast.

Crowds have gathered outside the house where Mr Mandela died, some flying South African flags and wearing the shirts of the governing African National Congress, which Mr Mandela once led.

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Nelson Mandela

1918 Born in the Eastern Cape

1943 Joined African National Congress

1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped after a four-year trial

1962 Arrested, convicted of incitement and leaving country without a passport, sentenced to five years in prison

1964 Charged with sabotage, sentenced to life

1990 Freed from prison

1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize

1994 Elected first black president

1999 Steps down as leader

2001 Diagnosed with prostate cancer

2004 Retires from public life

2005 Announces his son has died of an HIV/Aids-related illness

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. He made his last public appearance in 2010, at the football World Cup in South Africa.

His fellow campaigner against apartheid, 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.”

BBC correspondents say Mr Mandela’s body will be moved to a mortuary in the capital, Pretoria, and the funeral is likely to take place next Saturday.

‘Bid him farewell’

Mr Zuma said in his statement that “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.”

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Analysis

image of Pumza Fihlani Pumza Fihlani BBC News, Johannesburg


The greatest father there ever was: this is how South Africans will remember the man who brought an end to apartheid and delivered the nation from the brink of civil war.

Social networking sites are abuzz with messages of condolences and messages of gratitude to the late statesman. He had been in and out of hospital in recent years and had become increasingly frail but many South Africans had continued to express their unreadiness to lose him.

As he did in life, his passing has brought unity amongst South Africans as black and white speak of their love for him. Many here will be drawing on that same spirit for strength, that “Madiba magic” over the next few days and weeks as the nation left with the great burden of honouring Mr Mandela’s legacy, mourns his passing but also celebrates his life.

Tributes have come in from around the world. 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.”

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”.

Mr Obama, the first black president of the United States, said he was one of the millions who drew inspiration from Mr Mandela’s life. He has ordered that the White House flag be flown at half-mast.

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