Nelson Mandela dies at 95

Nelson-Mandela-foundation.jpg

The statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation:

It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly make further official announcements.


We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to our nation and to the world.

We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom. The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.

At the White House, President Obama's comments.

At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”


And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have 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.

Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa -- and moved all of us. His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings -- and countries -- can change for the better. His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives. And the fact that he did it all with grace and good humor, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections, only makes the man that much more remarkable. As he once said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life. My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics, was a protest against apartheid. I studied his words and his writings. The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And 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.

To Graça Machel and his family, Michelle and I extend our deepest sympathy and gratitude for sharing this extraordinary man with us. His life’s work meant long days away from those who loved him the most. And I only hope that the time spent with him these last few weeks brought peace and comfort to his family.

To the people of South Africa, we draw strength from the example of renewal, and reconciliation, and resilience that you made real. 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.

We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. So it falls to us as best we can to forward the example that he set: to make decisions guided not by hate, but by love; to never discount the difference that one person can make; to strive for a future that is worthy of his sacrifice.

For now, let us pause and give thanks for the fact that Nelson Mandela lived -- a man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. May God Bless his memory and keep him in peace.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement "Our hearts are heavy with the news of Nelson Mandela's passing. A warrior for equality and a stalwart of global peace, Mr. Mandela's legacy lives on, and he will be ever present as an example of the power of perseverance."

The address to the people of South Africa by President Jacob Zuma, "on the departure of former President Nelson Mandela," is below.

My Fellow South Africans,


Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation has departed.

He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 on the 5th of December 2013.

He is now resting. He is now at peace.

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.

His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world.

His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude.

They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free.

Our thoughts are with his wife Mrs Graca Machel, his former wife Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, with his children, his grand-children, his great grand-children and the entire family.

Our thoughts are with his friends, comrades and colleagues who fought alongside Madiba over the course of a lifetime of struggle.

Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood.

Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause.

This is the moment of our deepest sorrow.

Our nation has lost its greatest son.

Yet, what made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.

And in him we saw so much of ourselves.

Fellow South Africans,

Nelson Mandela brought us together, and it is together that we will bid him farewell.

Our beloved Madiba will be accorded a State Funeral.

I have ordered that all flags of the Republic of South Africa be lowered to half-mast from tomorrow, 6 December, and to remain at half-mast until after the funeral.

As we gather to pay our last respects, let us conduct ourselves with the dignity and respect that Madiba personified.

Let us be mindful of his wishes and the wishes of his family.

As we gather, wherever we are in the country and wherever we are in the world, let us recall the values for which Madiba fought.


Let us reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another.

Let us commit ourselves to strive together – sparing neither strength nor courage – to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

Let us express, each in our own way, the deep gratitude we feel for a life spent in service of the people of this country and in the cause of humanity.

This is indeed the moment of our deepest sorrow.

Yet it must also be the moment of our greatest determination.

A determination to live as Madiba has lived, to strive as Madiba has strived and to not rest until we have realised his vision of a truly united South Africa, a peaceful and prosperous Africa, and a better world.

We will always love you Madiba!

May your soul rest in peace.

God Bless Africa.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.

Photo: Nelson Mandela Foundation


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