Nelson Mandela dies of lung failure, aged 95


Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and worldwide anti apartheid icon, died of lung failure on Dec. 5 at 8:50 p.m. (South African time).

The ex President of South Africa has been struggling with a series of lung infections for the past two years. He died at home in Johannesburg with his family around him.

In the television broadcast announcing the Nobel Prize winner’s death, South African President, Jacob Zuma said that all national flags would be at half mast from tomorrow until after the state funeral.

“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,” he said in a statement broadcast from Pretoria.

It is as yet unknown what commemorations will be held in Peru to mark Mandela’s death, but they may well occur in part in the Nelson Mandela Park in San Isidro. The Ambassador of South Africa for Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, Elsa Dry paid homage to the man many called the ‘father of the nation.’

“Mandela’s greatest achievement was winning the peace – leading the Rainbow Nation through a transition fraught with impatient demands to a full democracy. He placed South Africa in her rightful place on the world stage.

“Instead of Retribution there was Reconciliation, instead of hatred there was forgiveness. These are the hallmarks of greatness.

“Madiba was an example to humanity, teaching the nations of the world the power of Peace.”

Mandela, affectionately called ‘Madiba’ (his Xhosa clan name) and sometimes ‘Tata,’ or ‘father,’ has lived many lives in his 95 years. As a young lawyer, he fought against segregation in at first peaceful and then armed protests, and was jailed in 1962 for 27 years.

It was in the harsh conditions of the prison on Robben Island that he first contracted tuberculosis, leaving him with the lung condition which eventually led to his death.

Shortly after his release, he became President of the African National Congress (ANC) and led negotiations with President F.W. de Klerk to abolish apartheid and establish multiracial elections.

In 1994, Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first black president in the first elections in which all South Africans could vote, regardless of race. His inauguration ceremony was attended by 100,000 people of all races and was watched on television by millions around the world.

He immediately set about healing rifts in the country, forming a Government of National Unity in an effort to defuse ethnic tensions. Over his short presidency (he chose not to run for a second term) and tireless work after, Mandela changed the face of South Africa and has been awarded 250 honors, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Order of Lenin.

The three charitable organizations founded by Mandela, The Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation, issued the following statement:

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.

It’s incredible how someone can do so much in just one lifetime… Even more so, considering that a staggering amount of that one life was spent behind bars. Mandela’s legacy is of the Rainbow Nation, a country left markedly changed through his, and others’, passionate work.

To see The Telegraph’s interactove timeline of Mandela’s life, click here ex President of South Africa died today, Dec. 5, 2013.