The Death of Nelson Mandela | Al Jazeera America

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The Death of Nelson Mandela

International reactions to the death of former South African president Nelson Mandela

  • The New Zealand flag is lowered to half mast in memory of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela during day five of the first international cricket Test match between New Zealand and the West Indies at the University Oval in Dunedin on December 6, 2013. Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

  • I spoke about the passing of Nelson Mandela in the House of Commons earlier:

  • From sweaty nightclubs in the sprawling township of Soweto to the heart of Johannesburg's Sandton financial district, DJs hit the pause button as party-goers stood in stunned silence to listen to Zuma's nationally televised address. For most, the passing of South Africa's first black president was an unforgettable moment in history.

    "As soon as we saw Zuma on TV, the music stopped and everyone rushed to watch the TV, to listen to what was happening," said 19-year-old school leaver Lesego Tsimo outside a Soweto nightclub.

    "People got emotional, some cried, and everyone started talking about Mandela," he added. "I feel very sad. I feel overwhelmed with emotion. He  has done so much for us."

  • Actor Morgan Freeman, who got to know the charismatic Mandela in the 1990s and portrayed him in the 2009 drama "Invictus," said he was "a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind."

    The American actor added: "As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we've come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us."

  • A couple embraces outside the house of former South African President Nelson Mandela after news of his death. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

  • At a restaurant in Brooklyn named after Nelson Mandela's nickname - Madiba - people from all walks of life gathered to grieve the passing of the restaurant's namesake. Al Jazeera spoke to some Brooklyn residents who gathered at the restaurant to celebrate his legacy and life:

    Danesh Antia
    It's really sad news. He was a great man and great inspiration to the world. Everything that he fought for, his struggle - it will continue to inspire people. He made it possible for people to believe in a better world. I hope in every lifetime there are leaders like him, who really make a difference.

    Lisa Barr

    When I heard the news, I was heartbroken. Like so many others, we expected it, but it still came as a shock. But he's at peace now.

    I grew up just when he got out of jail. He was an amazing man who taught peace, the Martin Luther King of South Africa. He could have allowed his time in prison to make him bitter and vengeful but instead he chose the path of peace. The world needs more men like him. They stopped making those kinds of men a long time ago.

    I was in South Africa last year and I visited the prison. It was the most surreal experience I've ever had. You read about it but once you're there, it's a whole different dynamic.

    The world lost a great leader but we should also keep in mind that he was also a human being - a dad, a husband. Maybe in his passing, maybe for a moment, the world will be kinder, people will say hello to each other, and be compassionate to the needy. 

    Russel Bullock
    I'm originally from the South, where you saw racism everywhere. So his legacy, what he stood for and his stand against racism meant a lot for people like me. For him to have remained so strong after he went through all that is amazing. He came out with dignity, strength. Instead of letting it destroy him, he went on to become the president. 

    Woody Martin

    You expected it but it never hit home until it happened. I was coming home from work when I heard the news. I turned on the TV at home and saw Obama speaking. I then came down here because this is home for us. This place is more than just a restaurant, it's a place of learning. You meet people from around the world here.

    He symbolized strength and endurance. His time in jail didn't make him bitter but stronger - that's what touched me. I don't know that I could have been as gracious. 

    Damon Ramdharose
    It was just a sad moment. He was going through a lot healthwise but he has peace now. I hope that people pass on what he stood for.

    After doing the time that he did, he still came out full of positivity  and he showed that violence is not the way. The racism he fought against is still going on today in different forms - like 'Stop and Frisk.' He's a teacher of the world, that's how I look at him. What he stood for is beautiful. The lessons he's left us with can help us fight injustice today.

    I'm happy to have lived in the world while he was here so I can pass on his legacy to my kids.

    Doren Townsell
    I think about how many people he touched and how much he sacrificed. I feel a great sense of appreciation for all that he did. He went from being incarcerated to rising to the top and becoming president . There's a lot of love and energy at Madiba. I come here to learn.

    People release paper lanterns after lighting them outside Madiba, a Brooklyn restaurant named in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

    A woman releases a paper lantern outside the Brooklyn restaurant of Madiba REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

  • PM on Nelson Mandela : "A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India's loss as South Africa's. He was a true Gandhian."
  • PM: His life and work will remain a source of eternal inspiration for generations to come. I join all those who are praying for his soul.
  • A woman holds a poster outside the house of former South African President Nelson Mandela after news of his death. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

  • "What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family," said Elba, who portrayed Nelson Mandela in 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.' "I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba's family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now."

  • #Mandela : great loss- all talks on #Syria and #egypt end with "we need need our own Mandela"…
  • A military officer lowers the flag to half mast outside the Embassy of South Africa in Washington. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

  • South Africans hold pictures of former South African president Nelson Mandela as they pay tribute following his death in Johannesburg. ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images

  • In Harlem at the #Apollo on #Mandela coverage. Remembering his historic visit here.

  • "It's a day of celebration. [#NelsonMandela ] gave us 95 years of his life" - @GrotonSchool 's Temba Maqubela, whose family knew #Mandela
  • "I would like for [#NelsonMandela ] to be remembered as a man of peace" - @GrotonSchool 's Temba Maqubela, whose family knew #Mandela
  • Former South African President Nelson Mandela will be laid to rest at his ancestral village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Dec. 15, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

    A week of national mourning would include an open-air memorial service at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium - the site of the 2010 World Cup final - on Dec. 10, Zuma said. 


  • Monument that marks the capture site of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. #RIPNelsonMandela

  • Eiffel Tower lit up in colors of the South African flag in memory of #Mandela . (via @EarthPix )

  • Dozens of African leaders stand as soundtrack plays clip of Mandela’s speech, now maintain silence in homage to an African legend.
  • Nelson Mandela's art of 'understanding the enemy'

    Al Jazeera senior correspondent Mike Hanna reflects on decades of covering the savvy political operator who became an African icon

    It was a gloriously clear winter's day in Johannesburg, and my ears were still ringing with the throb of the Boeing 747 engines that had flown by a few minutes before, so low it seemed below the level of the floodlights around the Ellis Park stadium. The crowd roared as the teams ran onto the field – South Africa's Springboks taking on the All Blacks of New Zealand in the 1995 World Cup rugby final.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw walking out to meet the players the tall, lean, grey-haired figure of Nelson Mandela. Unlike the suited officials around him, the South African president was wearing casual grey trousers and a green shirt.

    As he walked he donned a green cap, and there was an audible intake of breath from more than 60,000 people as they realized Mandela was wearing the Springbok cap and jersey, with the yellow number six on the back – the same as that of the team's captain Francois Pienaar.

    As he shook the hands of the players, his name was shouted from one side of the stadium, and then it swelled in volume as all took it up in a powerful rhythmic beat: "Nelson, Nelson, Nelson, Nelson."

    At that moment, millions watched as a country divided for decades became one. South Africans in the stadium and beyond experienced for the first time a shared sense of national pride and joy. Just a year into democracy, it was the defining moment of the new South Africa.

    As a beaming Mandela handed over the World Cup to the blond Afrikaner captain Pienaar at the end of the game, his was the face of a man who knew his country had won far more than a sporting trophy.

    Mandela's decision to wear the rugby jersey was generally regarded as spontaneous, the result of one of his bodyguards contacting a team representative on the morning of the game. Yet, this exultant moment was in fact the culmination of a strategic plan that had begun decades before.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • On a gloomy day, flag flies at half-staff atop White House till sunset Monday in homage to Nelson Mandela.

  • NPR has identified (and posted audio from) two speeches by Nelson Mandela that 'changed the course of history and cemented his legacy as one of the most revered leaders of our time.'

    The first happened speech occurred in 1963, when Mandela was tried for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the state.

    During his nearly four-hour speech in 1963 to open the trial that would ultimately lead to 27 years in prison, "Mandela laid out the plight of blacks in South Africa, but he also explained that blacks and whites had shared dreams," writes NPR's Eyder Peralta ."The Times quotes Mandela's biographer as saying that the speech — "the most eloquent of his life" — established Mandela not just as a leader of the ANC, but as the leader of the "international movement against apartheid."

    The second is the speech Mandela gave in 1994 when he was inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa. "Instead of launching accusations at the white regime that had incarcerated him and oppressed his people for hundreds of years, he preached reconciliation," writes Peralta.

    Read more at NPR's The Two-Way
  • Schoolchildren hold candles and portraits of former South African President Nelson Mandela during a prayer ceremony at a school in the southern Indian city of Chennai December 6, 2013. South African anti-apartheid hero Mandela died peacefully at home at the age of 95 on Thursday after months fighting a lung infection, leaving his nation and the world in mourning for a man revered as a moral giant. (Reuters/Babu)

  • Secretary of State John Kerry delivered brief remarks on the death of Nelson Mandela at Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel.

    Kerry invoked Mandela after several days of meetings with Israeli 
    Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas over the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, proclaiming that  "the naysayers are wrong to call peace in this region an impossible goal."

    We’re here this morning just outside of Tel Aviv, but our hearts are in Johannesburg with all the millions of people who loved Nelson Mandela. Madiba’s long walk to freedom gave new meaning to character and to courage, to forgiveness, and to human dignity. And now that his long walk has ended, the example that he set for all of humanity lives on. He will be remembered as a pioneer for peace, and there are some people, I think, in the course of life who truly – you meet and you are touched by them, and you’re forever changed by the experience. Nelson Mandela is one of those people.

    Teresa and I had the honor of sitting with Mandela over the Thanksgiving holidays of 2007, and – that and several other times. And I also stood in his tiny cell on Robben Island, a room with barely enough space to be able to lie down in or stand up in. I learned that the glare of the white rock quarry on the island permanently damaged his eyesight, and it hit home even more how remarkable it was that after spending 27 years locked up, locked away, and having his own vision impaired by that condition, that this man was still able to see the best interests of his country, the best interests of humanity, and embrace even the very guards who kept him prisoner. That is the story of a man whose ability to see resided not just in his eyes but in his conscience. He was a stranger to hate. He rejected recrimination in favor of reconciliation, and he knew the future demands required that we move beyond the place that he had been, beyond the past.

    So we just think of the lessons that he taught the world which have special significance at this moment in history. He said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” I think it’s appropriate for us to think about that in the context of the work that I’ve been doing here in the last couple of days and over these last months, and of the hopes and aspirations of the people of this region. That example of Nelson Mandela is an example that we all need to take to heart as we face the challenge of trying to reach a two-state solution.

    Over the past two days, I had the opportunity to meet with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas. And despite the fact that we are discussing really difficult, complicated issues, I am encouraged by the continued commitment of both leaders to the pursuit of peace. And they both underscored their commitment to continue to work through these difficult issues in the days ahead. As we look to the challenges that we face in the coming months, we need to all be not just reminded of the example of Nelson Mandela’s words, but by his actions. The naysayers are wrong to call peace in this region an impossible goal. It always seems impossible until it’s done.

    Since the two parties first agreed to resume talks four months ago, they have held regular discussions and the United States has remained in close contact with both sides. It hasn’t been easy; I won’t pretend that. But none of the parties embarked on this path with the expectation that it was going to be a simple or easy process. We all knew upfront that it would be a long, arduous, and complicated journey.

    Nonetheless, it is absolutely clear to me through the discussions that we had – and believe me, I wouldn’t spend these hours and I wouldn’t come back here given the agenda that we face on a global basis if I didn’t think it was worthwhile, if President Obama didn’t believe it was worth pursuing. And it is quite clear that both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu remain as determined as ever to continue down this path and to explore these possibilities. Because both parties have the same endpoint in their sights: Two nations for two peoples living side by side in peace and prosperity.

    But neither peace nor prosperity are possible without security, and the United States will only support a final status agreement that makes both Israelis and Palestinians more secure than they are today. As I made clear yesterday, the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security is ironclad. It is a commitment that spans decades. It is permanent. In 1973, that commitment was the driving force behind the 32-day airlift the United States conducted to deliver military assistance to Israeli forces during the Yom Kippur War. More than 20 years ago, that commitment was the reason we began work with Israel to develop ballistic missile defense technologies that continue to protect the Israeli people from the range of threats that they face every day. And at this moment, our commitment to Israel’s security – a central issue as we work towards a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and as we work towards the creation of a viable, independent, Palestinian state.

    That’s why President Obama and I have been working very closely with General John Allen, who is one of the United States’ most experienced military leaders, and a team with him of American defense experts – so that we can anticipate all of the threats to Israel’s security at every step of the final status negotiations process and work out ways to address those threats as well as to address the complicated questions of security within a new state of Palestine and to deal with the issues of a viable independent Palestinian state and the security challenges that that presents. Together, there is no doubt in my mind we can reach an agreement that will support the peaceful and promising Palestine that the Palestinian people deserve alongside a prosperous and a more secure Israel.

    There’s another issue at the heart of Israel’s security that’s also been a key focus of all of our discussions, and that is the P5+1 negotiations with respect to Iran. Throughout these negotiations, our commitment to Israel’s security is paramount. The fact remains that both the United States and Israel have the same priority with respect to Iran. We are laser-focused on preventing the Iranians from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The United States firmly believes that the P5+1 first-step agreement not only makes Israel more secure than it was the day before that agreement, but we believe it will take us closer to a lasting, peaceful, and comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear program. It is the best opportunity we have to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

    I pledge this, as President Obama has: As we proceed forward in this negotiation, we will continue to consult very closely with Israel as the negotiations resume as well as with our other friends and allies in the region and around the world, because that input is critical to us in the process. And as is known, Security Advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu Yossi Cohen will travel to the United States next week. We will be engaging in very direct conversations so that we are on the same track going forward. I look forward to speaking in greater detail about the United States partnership with Israel tomorrow when I address the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C.

    For now, let me just now reiterate how grateful I am for the courage that both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas both continue to display against naysayers, against opponents, as they pursue a full exploration of the possibilities of peace.
    I believe we are closer than we have been in years to bringing about the peace and the prosperity and the security that all of the people of this region deserve and yearn for.

    Read Kerry's full remarks here.
  • Special issue on Mandela: His life in words and pictures, with tributes from Rick Stengel, Bono and Morgan Freeman

  • South Africans united in mourning for Nelson Mandela on Friday, but while some celebrated his remarkable life with dance and song, others fretted that the anti-apartheid hero's death would make the nation vulnerable again to racial and social tensions.

    South Africans had heard from President Jacob Zuma late on Thursday that the statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate died peacefully at his Johannesburg home in the company of his family after a long illness.

    On Friday, the country's 52 million people absorbed the news that their most revered statesman, a global symbol of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence, had departed forever.

    Zuma also announced the former president would be honoured with a December 10 memorial service at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium - the site of the 2010 World Cup final.

    "We will spend the week mourning his passing. We will also spend it celebrating a life well lived," Zuma said.


  • "Thank you." Mandela statue, Parliament Square. #globalpost

  • A young boy writes a message outside the residence of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg December 6, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

  • World joins South Africa in mourning Nelson Mandela

    South Africa mourned the death of the country's first black president Friday, as tributes continued to flood in from around the world for Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid hero who died yesterday, aged 95.

    Flags were lowered to half-mast throughout the nation, as both black and white South Africans — from townships, suburbs and the vast rural grasslands all — commemorated the man who did more than any other to unite the once bitterly divided country.

    News of his death on Thursday, after a lengthy illness, sparked an outpouring of grief. In the black township of Soweto, people gathered in the streets near the house where he once lived, singing and dancing to celebrate Mandela's life.

    Meanwhile details of the official state memorial for the country's first post-apartheid leader began to form. Hours after Mandela's death Thursday night, a vehicle containing Mandela's coffin, draped in South Africa's flag, pulled away from his home, escorted by military motorcycle outriders, to take his body to a military morgue in Pretoria, the administrative capital.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • On June 26, 1990, #NelsonMandela called for Congress' support in ending apartheid in South Africa

  • All U.S. diplomatic missions to fly American flag at half-staff in honor of President Mandela.

  • The White House says President Obama will travel to South Africa next week to pay respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela and participate in memorial events.

  • President Obama & FLOTUS will go to South Africa next week to pay respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela & participate in memorial events
  • Grief through song and dance: the mourners of Mandela gather in Soweto

    by Kenichi Serino

    There is a saying in Soweto that when it rains, the old people will pass and something momentous will happen. And it did indeed rain the week before the man many call "Tata,'' or father, closed his eyes for the final time.

    But late on Friday, the day after the news of Mandela's death was announced, the gray skies held back their rain, and the people who loved Mandela came here, to this township at the heart of the liberation movement, to the brick house on Vilikazi Street where Nelson Mandela lived as a young lawyer and firebrand activist.

    They came to mourn in the best way they know how: singing, dancing, cellphones snapping pictures.That people might sing and dance to show respect for the dead may seem incongruous, but it has a long a history during the struggle against apartheid.

    Severe restrictions had been placed on political activity and gatherings, as such the funerals of slain political activists became de facto rallies with comrades—a term referring to activists who joined the struggle against apartheid—moving in a dance-marching hybrid called toyi-toyi.

    Members of the African National Congress toyi-toyi'd up and down Vilikazi street, singing songs like “Mandela bekakhona emzabalezweni “[Mandela was there during the struggle].

    Occasionally, someone would begin the call and response so well-known from the struggle, and still used today at ANC rallies.

    “Amandla!” [Power!]

    “Ewethu!” [Ours!]

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • People sing and dance during a gathering of mourners on Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where the former South African President Nelson Mandela resided when he lived in the township as a young lawyer. (Ihsaan Haffejee/Reuters)

  • Outside Mandela's house. People of all races, singing and waving SA flags

  • Condolences following the death of Nelson Mandela
  • The Union flag and South African flag are flying at half mast above No10 today .

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