Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world’s most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died. He was 95.
South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement at a news conference late Thursday, saying “we’ve lost our greatest son.”
His death closed the final chapter in South Africa’s struggle to cast off apartheid, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor. Rock concerts celebrated his birthday. Hollywood stars glorified him on screen. And his regal bearing, graying hair and raspy voice made him instantly recognizable across the globe.
Farewell Madiba. You will always be an inspiration for those of us who believe that a better world is possible.
Currently: When the Last Sword is Drawn
You just can’t exaggerate the good-natured, positive spirit of the people in this country. At the very least, they’ve lost everything they own, and at the very worst, they’ve lost members of their family, but they’re still upbeat and positive.
A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.
—John F. Kennedy, Remarks at Amherst College, October 26, 1963