[PeterPaul.ca] — South African President Jacob Zuma announced Thursday the death of anti-apartheid leader and world icon Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 after months of ailing health and several procedures to improve his condition.
“Nelson Mandela brought us together, and it is together that we will bid him farewell,” President Zuma said in a televised address beamed around the world. The late leader will be honoured with a state funeral but arrangements have not been announced, the president said.
The government said Mandela died at the family home at about 8:50 p.m. local time surrounded by his family. Increased activity at the residence prior to the official announcement triggered increased speculation on his condition. Hours later, Madiba was at rest.
The Australian and English national cricket teams marked a moment of silence in memory of Madiba Friday prior to the start of day two of the Second Ashes Test Match in Australia.
Reuters has made live video available on their website of the scene outside Mandela’s home showing a heavy police presence among dozens of mourners. The Mandela family residence is located in the Houghton district of Johannesburg—an upscale area of the South African capital.
He was released from prison on February 11, 1990, after serving almost 28 years as “South Africa’s most celebrated black leader.” He had been arrested by police on August 5, 1962 for inciting workers’ strikes and leaving the country without permission.
Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa’s first post-apartheid leader on May 10, 1994 and served as President of the African National Congress between 1991 and 1997.
He retired from public life at an international media conference in Johannesburg on June 1, 2004, designating three organizations to carry on his humanitarian work. Mandela himself has over 250 awards and honours to his name.
“The organisations are independent of one another but co-operate closely, and they abide by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by their respective Chief Executives in Mr. Mandela’s presence in 2006,” the Mandela Rhodes Foundation said on its website.
Earlier this year, the Globe and Mail reported on South Africans who expressed disgust at how members of his family, particularly his daughters and grandchildren, were launching money-making ventures as he lay in hospital recovering from a lung infection and pneumonia in April. Routine hospital visits began in 2011 when he was diagnosed with an acute respiratory infection.
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER, STEPHEN HARPER:
“All of Canada mourns with the family of Nelson Mandela and the citizens of South Africa. The world has lost one of its great moral leaders.” [Link]
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
“We will not see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. It falls to us to carry forward the example that he set.” [Link]
GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS, CBC NEWS:
“A life lived that may never be matched.” [Link]
AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS:
“Our nation has lost a colossus, an epitome of humility, equality, justice, peace and the hope of millions; here and abroad,” a statement on the ANC’s website said. [Link]