Former South African President and historic icon, Nelson Mandela, has passed away at 95 years old.
The news comes after months of reports, the anti-apartheid leader’s health was deteriorating. In fact, Mandela had battled a troubling lung infection up until his death, on Thursday.
South African President Jacob Zuma, made the official announcement, to the world, on Thursday, in a press conference in Johannesburg.
“He is now resting. He is now at peace,” Zuma said. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human,” the president said in his late-night address. “We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”
“Mandela, who inherited a country on the verge of civil war and torn apart by racial violence, will forever be remembered for bringing hope and reconciliation to South Africa. Controversial for much of his life, he ultimately became a beacon of optimism for people both at home and around the world.
The iconic leader — known for his charismatic personality, soft-yet-stirring speeches and charitable work post-politics — spent 27 years behind bars for opposing white rule in his country before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994,” reports CTV News.
Upon news Mandela had died, President Barack Obama said this in a press conference, Thursday afternoon, “We have lost one of the most influential, courageous & profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with.”
Here are some noteworthy quotes from the President’s speech.
“Through his fierce dignity & unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others—Madiba transformed South Africa.”
“His journey from a prisoner to a President embodied the promise that human beings—& countries—can change for the better.”
“His commitment to transfer power & reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to.”
“I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life.My first political action was a protest against apartheid.”
“I studied his words and his writings. The day…he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when…guided by their hopes rather than…fears. Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example set by Nelson Mandela.”
A free South Africa at peace with itself, an example to the world – that is Madiba’s legacy to the nation he loved. We will not see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.”
“It falls to us to carry forward the example that he set. A man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”
First Lady Michelle Obama also tweeted, “We will forever draw strength and inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary example of moral courage, kindness, and humility. –mo”
To read Obama’s full speech head over to The Global & Mail.
Mandela’s family was at his side at the time of his death.
May he rest in peace.
Source: CTV News/CNN