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Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid icon dies at 95

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South Africa’s first elected black president and a global anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, died early today

mandela1Johannesburg: Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first elected black president and a global anti-apartheid icon died early today, at his home in the suburb of Houghton here, following a lengthy illness. He was 95.

The elder statesman was receiving medical care from a leading team since September after spending three months in a Pretoria hospital for a recurrent lung ailment.

“Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” African President, Zuma said in a nationally televised address.

He passed away peacefully at 20:50 (local time), December 5, Zuma said.

“He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,” he said.

Zuma announced that there would be a state funeral for the departed world leader.

Details of the funeral have not been announced yet, but all flags will fly at half-mast until the funeral.

Zuma said Mandela’s tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world, “His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love.”

“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, Zuma said.

“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,” he said.

Hundreds of South Africans all over the country huddled in groups from the early hours of this morning to mourn the death of founding father of the democratic nation.

The government has also set up a special tribute website at “www.mandela.gov.za.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison, most of them on Robben Island, after being convicted in the Rivonia trial with several others 50 years ago.

He stepped down after serving one term as President following the first democratic elections in 1994.

Mandela had been in and out of hospital for the past two years with a range of medical problems.

Hundreds of South Africans all over the country huddled in groups from the early hours of this morning to mourn the death of the founding father of the democratic nation.

Tributes and condolences from many world leaders have been pouring in from all corners of the world after the tragic news.

PTI

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