Today 06 December
In nearly seven decades spent fighting for freedom and equality, Nelson Mandela inspired and challenged the world to stand up for others. As word of Mandela's death spread, current and former presidents, athletes and entertainers, and people around the world spoke about the life and legacy of the former South African leader.
By Peroshni Govender and Pascal Fletcher JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africans woke on Friday to a future without Nelson Mandela, and some said they feared the anti-apartheid hero's death could leave their country vulnerable again to racial and social tensions that he did so much to pacify. As dawn broke and commuters headed to work in the capital, Pretoria, the commercial hub, Johannesburg, and Cape Town in the south, many were still in shock at the passing of a man who was a global symbol of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. South Africans heard President Jacob Zuma tell them late on Thursday that the former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate passed away peacefully at his Johannesburg home in the company of his family after a long illness. Despite reassurances from leaders and public figures that Mandela's passing, while sorrowful, would not halt South Africa's advance away from its bitter apartheid past, some still expressed a sense of unease about the physical absence of a man famed as a peacemaker.
July 18, 1918 — Born to Hendry Mphakanyiswa, a Thembu chief, and Nosekeni Qunu in the Umtata district of the Transkei, at a time when virtually all of Africa was under European colonial rule.
Nelson Mandela's Rainbow Nation awoke Friday to a future without its 95-year-old founding father, his compatriots joining an upwelling of global mourning and celebration of his astonishing life. The icon of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle and a colossus of 20th century politics died late Thursday at his home in Johannesburg, surrounded by friends and family. Outside his home mourners, some in pyjamas, held an all-night vigil, dancing, ululating, chanting and singing the songs of a struggle that Mandela devoted his life to winning. In Cape Town, Archbishop Desmond Tutu led an emotional early morning prayer, expressing a steely determination that Mandela's vision of a South Africa for all creeds and colours shall not perish with him.
South African President Jacob Zuma: "Our people have lost a father. His humility, passion and humanity earned him their love." U.S. President Barack Obama: "He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time." Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus and anti-apartheid activist: "Like a most precious diamond honed deep beneath the surface of the earth, the Madiba who emerged from prison in January 1990 was virtually flawless ... Instead of calling for his pound of flesh, he proclaimed the message of forgiveness and reconciliation, inspiring others by his example to extraordinary acts of nobility of spirit." Former South African President F.W. de Klerk, on CNN: "He was a great unifier and a very, very special man in this regard beyond everything else he did. This emphasis on reconciliation was his biggest legacy." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "Nelson Mandela was a giant for justice and a down-to-earth human inspiration.
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