“Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,” South African President Jacob Zuma said. “What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.” His U.S. counterpart, President Barack Obama also made a speech with the same statement according to Washington Post.
Nelson Mandela, the prisoner-turned-president after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid. He reconciled South Africa after the end and died on Thursday, December 5, according to the country’s president, Jacob Zuma.
Mandela battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations. Despite rare public appearances, he held a special place in the consciousness of the nation and the world according to CNN.
In his lifetime, he was a man of complexities. He went from a militant freedom fighter, to a prisoner, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman. Mourners said goodbye to Mandela, the hero who fought to end the brutal apartheid system and brought democracy to South Africa NY Daily News reported.
“I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” Nelson Mandela said in Long Walk to Freedom, 1995.
Video courtesy of ABCnews.com