News

Nelson Mandela dead at 95

Nelson Mandela dead at 95

In this Dec. 7, 2005, file photo, former South African President Nelson Mandela, 87, is in a jovial mood at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, where he met with the winner and runner-up of the local "Idols" competition. South Africa's president says, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, that Mandela has died. He was 95. Photo: Associated Press/Denis Farrell

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Former South African President Nelson Mandela died peacefully at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said.

OBITUARY: Nelson Mandela, From Apartheid Fighter To President And Unifier

Mandela, the country’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon known in South Africa by his clan name of Madiba, emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide South Africa through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy.

In a nationally televised address, Zuma said Mandela would have a full state funeral. He ordered flags to be flown at half mast.

“Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rohlihla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed,” Zuma said.

“He passed on peacefully in the comfort of his home.”

Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority apartheid government – a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most respected and loved figures.

He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960, but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the country’s white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later.

Mandela, imprisoned for nearly three decades, was elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 and retired in 1999.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honor he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who released from jail arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner.

As president, Mandela faced the monumental task of forging a new nation from the deep racial injustices left over from the apartheid era, making reconciliation the theme of his time in office.

The hallmark of Mandela’s mission was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which probed apartheid crimes on both sides of the struggle and tried to heal the country’s wounds. It also provided a model for other countries torn by civil strife.

In 1999, Mandela handed over power to younger leaders better equipped to manage a modern economy – a rare voluntary departure from power cited as an example to African leaders.

In retirement, he shifted his energies to battling South Africa’s AIDS crisis and the struggle became personal when he lost his only surviving son to the disease in 2005.

Mandela’s last major appearance on the global stage came in 2010 when he attended the championship match of the soccer World Cup, where he received a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 at the stadium in Soweto, the neighborhood in which he cut his teeth as a resistance leader.

Charged with capital offences in the infamous 1963 Rivonia Trial, his statement from the dock was his political testimony.

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Travel Advisory…Heavy Rains Close Some Roads

Fresh
storm

Heavy rains close some roads in Springfield

in Election 2014, Local

The Sniping Continues

Fresh
votesigns

Vallas wants Rauner to come clean; Rauner accuses Quinn campaign of throwing up distractions

in Local

State’s ACT Scores Are Close to National Average

school_bus

Significance: Illinois is one of only twelve states testing everybody

in Local

Aldermen Want Public Input on Medical Marijuana Zoning Rules

municipalcenter

The public will likely get a chance to weigh in on potential zoning changes as medical marijuana rules take effect.

in Local

Rauner: Fight Over Term Limits is Not Over

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Rauner is publicly calling upon Illinois' appellate and Supreme Courts to approve a term limit referendum