The world remembers Nelson Mandela
Tributes have been pouring in from world leaders from across the globe since last night as the news of Nelson Mandela’s death broke. The former South African president passed away last night at his Johannesburg home surrounded by his family at the age of 95.
The anti-apartheid icon had been ill with a lung infection for a prolonged period before he died peacefully last night. South Africa came to a complete standstill yesterday as its citizens mourned the loss and celebrated the achievements of the country’s favourite son.
One of the first to pay tribute to Mandela was the US president Barack Obama who said: “Today he’s gone home, and we’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth.” President Michael D Higgins stated that Nelson Mandela “is one of history’s greatest leaders; a man whose unprecedented courage and dedication broke down the cruel barriers of apartheid in South Africa”.
Mandela’s contribution to South Africa and the world as a whole will never be forgotten. He famously spent almost three decades in the prisons of apartheid-era South Africa and emerged to become the first black president of a country that was still battling with racism.
The news was broken late last night in a televised address delivered by the current South African president Jacob Zuma who said: “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.” He ended by saying “He is now resting.”
Mandela’s achievements and struggles for democracy and racial equality in South Africa and the rest of the world means that he will forever be a symbol of unification in a country destroyed by racial tensions and inequality and he will forever be remembered fondly as the catalyst of the nation’s democracy.
The world is today remembering a truly inspirational person who showed just how far the human spirit and will can take you. One of the brightest lights of the human race has been extinguished. And today and over the next couple of weeks the world will remember fondly the life of the preeminent figure of the 20th century.