During a televised address this evening South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, announced that the country’s first black president and racial oppression hero, Nelson Mandela, has died at the age of 95. During his address Zuma reflected on Mandela’s life saying:
He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him our love.We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.
Nelson Mandela was an icon of freedom in his home country where he fought vehemently against the white minority government and the apartheid system. After years of non violent protests and strikes Mandela was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of treason, sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the white government. After serving 27 years in jail, he was released in 1990 and negotiated with his captors to end the white rule.
Mandela was battling a variety of health issues for the past several months including gall stones and a major lung infection. He recently transitioned from a hospital to his childhood home in in the Eastern Cape and later to his home in Johannesburg where he died. He will forever be remembered as a symbol of the struggle for human rights and as a leader who brought together a nation.