RIP Nelson Mandela
Via CTV News, “South Africa’s “greatest son” and one of the most beloved leaders of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela, died Thursday at the age of 95.
A sombre South African President Jacob Zuma announced Mandela’s death in a television address.
“Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss,” Zuma said.
“His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him their love.”
Zuma said he has ordered all flags in South Africa to be lowered to half-mast, where they will remain until after what will be a state funeral.
In an address to reporters at the UN, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered his condolences to Mandela’s family, and recalled being overwhelmed by Mandela’s “selflessness and his deep sense of shared purpose” when they met in 2009.
“Let us continue each day to be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s lifelong example to keep working toward a better and more just world,” he said.
At the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama said he “cannot fully imagine” his life without the example set by Mandela.
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man,” Obama said. “Today he’s gone home. We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.”
In a written statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said “the world has lost one of its greatest moral leaders and statesmen.”
“Nelson Mandela’s enduring legacy for his country, and the world, is the example he set through his own ‘long walk to freedom,’” Harper said. “With grace and humility, he modelled how peoples can transform their own times and in doing so, their own lives.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted that “a great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.”
Cameron said the flag at 10 Downing Street will be lowered to half-mast.
Mandela, who inherited a country on the verge of civil war and torn apart by racial violence, will forever be remembered for bringing hope and reconciliation to South Africa. Controversial for much of his life, he ultimately became a beacon of optimism for people both at home and around the world.
The iconic leader — known for his charismatic personality, soft-yet-stirring speeches and charitable work post-politics — spent 27 years behind bars for opposing white rule in his country before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
Mandela became increasingly frail in recent years and was hospitalized several times in the past few months, receiving treatment for pneumonia, an ongoing lung infection and gallstones.
Though he served only five years in office, Mandela is recognized the world over, often seen as someone with great dignity and moral authority.”
Read more about Nelson Mandela’s monumental life:
- Part 1: Early life
- Part 2: First brush with politics
- Part 3: His trial
- Part 4: 27 years in jail
- Part 5: Freedom at last
- Part 6: His Legacy