Nelson Mandela, hero of the anti-apartheid struggle, died at the age of 95 at his home in Johannesburg, said Thursday the South African President, Jacob Zuma, live on public television.
Nelson Mandela “died,” said Jacob Zuma, before making a long tribute to former South African president. “Our beloved Madiba’s funeral will state,” he added, announcing that flags are at half-mast from Friday and until the funeral. The family of Nelson Mandela, affectionately known as “Madiba”, was held on Thursday at his bedside.
In Johannesburg, hundreds of people were soon joined in the festive night for an impromptu vigil outside the home of Nelson Mandela. The atmosphere was more celebration than recollection, young and old, waving flags, singing the national anthem and anti-apartheid songs, shouting “Long live Mandela”, holding candles, while the police had banned the neighborhood circulation.
Major world leaders unanimously praised the courage , determination and wisdom of Nelson Mandela, in which the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saw “an inspiration” to the world. ” Through her fierce dignity and unwavering willingness to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, he transformed South Africa and moved us all, “said Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, in his tribute to the first black president of South Africa.
For British Prime Minister David Cameron, “A great light has gone out in the world”, “Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.” French President François Hollande, for his part, saw in him a “resistant exceptional, “” a magnificent combatant “: he was” the incarnation of the South African nation, cement unity and pride in all of Africa. “
Nelson Mandela, who turned 95 years old on July 18, had been hospitalized four times since December, each time for recurrent lung infections. These recurring problems were probably related sequelae of tuberculosis contracted during his stay on the island prison of Robben Island, off Cape Town, where he spent eighteen of his twenty-seven years of detention in jails racist apartheid regime.
Absent from the political scene for several years, “Madiba” was the subject of a cult that went far beyond the borders of his country. Turn anti-apartheid activist obstinate, the world’s most famous political prisoner and first black president of South Africa, it was described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, another Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment against the regime South Africa, a “global icon of reconciliation.”
Mandela will be remembered for having negotiated step by step with the apartheid government a peaceful transition to a multiracial democracy. And have spared his people a racial civil war in the early 90s, seemed hardly avoidable. Which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, shared with the last president of apartheid, de Klerk.
Mandela spent more than twenty-seven years in prison from 1963 to 1990, becoming gradually become the symbol of the oppression of black South Africans, while the manifested world and organized concerts for his release. But even before he was released, he had learned to understand his opponents – up to learn their language, Afrikaans, and poetry – to forgive, and to work with them. Once released, he was seduced by his kindness, elegance and charisma.
The colors of the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela was the first President of the new consensus “Rainbow Nation Rainbow” from 1994 to 1999.
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