5 December 2013

South Africa: World Pays Tribute to Nelson Mandela

Photo: GCIS
People leaving flowers and messages of support for Former President Nelson Mandela at Medi-Clinic in Pretoria.

World leaders are paying tribute to Nelson Mandela following his death. US President Barack Obama said the anti-apartheid leader "transformed South Africa" while the UN Secretary-General called him a "giant for justice."

Goodbye, Nelson Mandela

Most South Africans will remember Nelson Mandela with a smile. They fondly called him by his clan name "Madiba." More than anyone else, he shaped the history of the "new South Africa." After spending almost three decades in prison, he became the first elected black president in 1994.

First black law practice co-founder

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. After he finished school, he decided to study law. As a student he was politically active, fighting against apartheid. In 1952, he opened the first black law practice with Oliver Tambo in Johannesburg.

Apartheid

Apartheid - the strict segregation of black and white people - greatly affected Mandela's childhood and youth.

Mandela the boxer

At a young age, Mandela was a passionate boxer. "In the boxing ring, status, age, skin color and wealth don't matter," he said about his favorite sport. He kept fit even when imprisoned: as part of his daily routine, he lifted weights, did squats and push-ups.

Sentenced to life in prison

1964: Police forces push back people gathered in front of the court house where the trial against Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists is taking place. In the so-called Rivonia trial, Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment because of his political actions.

Decades in prison

Mandela spent 18 years in a five square meter prison cell on Robben Island. He was given the identification number 46664. "I was only known as a number," Mandela said after his release.

The fight continues

While Mandela was behind bars, the fight against apartheid continued. His then wife, Winnie Mandela (center), became a leading figure in the fight against the white minority government.

The world takes an interest...

... in South Africa's fate. A charity concert for Nelson Mandela was held in London's Wembley Stadium in 1988. Internationally renowned musicians celebrated his 70th birthday and spoke out against apartheid. Some 70,000 people watched the concert which lasted 10 hours. It was broadcast in over 60 countries.

Freedom, finally

On February 11, 1990 - after 27 years - Mandela was released from prison. This photo shows him and then wife Winnie raising their fists to show their pride in the blacks' fight against the white apartheid regime.

Back to politics

In May 1990, Mandela returned to the helm of the African National Congress (ANC) and led talks with then-President Frederik Willem de Klerk . The talks make way for a South Africa without apartheid. In 1993, he and de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Price.

Mandela's allies

Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu were among Mandela's closest allies. Together, they founded the ANC Youth League in 1944 and organized mass demonstrations against the apartheid regime. Sisulu was sentenced to life imprisonment; Tambo spent 30 years in exile. After 1990, they all held leadership positions within the ANC.

South Africa's first black president

May 10, 1994 has gone down in history. After the first free democratic elections were held in April, Mandela was sworn in as the country's first black president. He remained in office until 1999, succeeded by his protege Thabo Mbeki.

Reconciliation not revenge

In 1996, Mandela set up the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to help deal with the crimes committed during apartheid. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu headed the TRC. The Commission's work was criticized by many victims who could not accept that those who committed crimes and publicly admitted their guilt, were not puníshed.

World Cup preparations

On May 15, 2004 it was announced South Africa would be the host nation for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Here, Mandela proudly holds the cup. The whole country was ecstatic and celebrated as Mandela had helped pave the way for South Africa to host this major sporting event. It was first World Cup on the African continent.

Has the rainbow nation failed?

In 2008, xenophobia and violence erupted in many slums of major cities. Numerous immigrants died. The question was asked: Is this still the "rainbow nation" founded by Mandela where everyone lives together in harmony? Has the rainbow nation failed?

Mandela's last years

During the last years of his life, Mandela retired from public life to spend more time with his family. Here he is seen celebrating his 93th birthday with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Goodbye, Nelson Mandela

Most South Africans will remember Nelson Mandela with a smile. They fondly called him by his clan name "Madiba." More than anyone else, he shaped the history of the "new South Africa." After spending almost three decades in prison, he became the first elected black president in 1994.

First black law practice co-founder

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. After he finished school, he decided to study law. As a student he was politically active, fighting against apartheid. In 1952, he opened the first black law practice with Oliver Tambo in Johannesburg.

Apartheid

Apartheid - the strict segregation of black and white people - greatly affected Mandela's childhood and youth.

Mandela the boxer

At a young age, Mandela was a passionate boxer. "In the boxing ring, status, age, skin color and wealth don't matter," he said about his favorite sport. He kept fit even when imprisoned: as part of his daily routine, he lifted weights, did squats and push-ups.

Sentenced to life in prison

1964: Police forces push back people gathered in front of the court house where the trial against Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists is taking place. In the so-called Rivonia trial, Mandela is sentenced to life imprisonment because of his political actions.

Decades in prison

Mandela spent 18 years in a five square meter prison cell on Robben Island. He was given the identification number 46664. "I was only known as a number," Mandela said after his release.

The fight continues

While Mandela was behind bars, the fight against apartheid continued. His then wife, Winnie Mandela (center), became a leading figure in the fight against the white minority government.

The world takes an interest...

... in South Africa's fate. A charity concert for Nelson Mandela was held in London's Wembley Stadium in 1988. Internationally renowned musicians celebrated his 70th birthday and spoke out against apartheid. Some 70,000 people watched the concert which lasted 10 hours. It was broadcast in over 60 countries.

Freedom, finally

On February 11, 1990 - after 27 years - Mandela was released from prison. This photo shows him and then wife Winnie raising their fists to show their pride in the blacks' fight against the white apartheid regime.

Back to politics

In May 1990, Mandela returned to the helm of the African National Congress (ANC) and led talks with then-President Frederik Willem de Klerk . The talks make way for a South Africa without apartheid. In 1993, he and de Klerk received the Nobel Peace Price.

Mandela's allies

Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu were among Mandela's closest allies. Together, they founded the ANC Youth League in 1944 and organized mass demonstrations against the apartheid regime. Sisulu was sentenced to life imprisonment; Tambo spent 30 years in exile. After 1990, they all held leadership positions within the ANC.

South Africa's first black president

May 10, 1994 has gone down in history. After the first free democratic elections were held in April, Mandela was sworn in as the country's first black president. He remained in office until 1999, succeeded by his protege Thabo Mbeki.

Reconciliation not revenge

In 1996, Mandela set up the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to help deal with the crimes committed during apartheid. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu headed the TRC. The Commission's work was criticized by many victims who could not accept that those who committed crimes and publicly admitted their guilt, were not puníshed.

World Cup preparations

On May 15, 2004 it was announced South Africa would be the host nation for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Here, Mandela proudly holds the cup. The whole country was ecstatic and celebrated as Mandela had helped pave the way for South Africa to host this major sporting event. It was first World Cup on the African continent.

Has the rainbow nation failed?

In 2008, xenophobia and violence erupted in many slums of major cities. Numerous immigrants died. The question was asked: Is this still the "rainbow nation" founded by Mandela where everyone lives together in harmony? Has the rainbow nation failed?

Mandela's last years

During the last years of his life, Mandela retired from public life to spend more time with his family. Here he is seen celebrating his 93th birthday with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Obama said on Thursday Mandela "took history in his hands and bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice."

"He achieved more than could be expected of any man," Obama said at the White House. "Today he's gone home and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth."

"He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages," Obama added.

Barack Obama remebers Mandela

Mandela, who died at his house in Johannesburg on Thursday after struggling for much of the year with a recurring lung infection, inspired the US president to enter politics, said Obama. The two share the distinction of being the first black president of their respective countries.

"I am one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela's life," said Obama. "And like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set."

'Champion for human dignity'

Former US President Bill Clinton, who was in office when Mandela became South African president in 1994, called him one of the world's "most important leaders and one of its finest human beings."

"History will remember Nelson Mandela as a champion for human dignity and freedom, for peace and reconciliation."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Mandela was a "giant for justice" whose "selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom" inspired people all around the world.

Goldberg: Mandela was a great leader

Denis Goldberg fought alongside Nelson Mandela against South Africa's apartheid government. In this exclusive interview with DW, he talks about their joint struggle for freedom.

"Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world, and within each of us, if we believe a dream and work together for justice and humanity," Ban said. "Let us continue each day to be inspired by Nelson Mandela's lifelong example to keep working for a better and more just world."

'Great light' gone out

British Prime Minister David Cameron said that with Mandela's death, "a great light had gone out."

"Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death - a true global hero," Cameron said in a statement. "Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace."

Mandela made "a new, better South Africa," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. His "shining example and his political legacy of non-violence and the condemnation of all forms of racism will continue to inspire people around the world for many years to comen," she added.

French President Francois Hollande said Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison, most of them at South Africa's infamous Robben Island jail, until his release in 1990, "made history - that of South Africa and the whole world."

"He showed that human will could not only break the chains of servitude but free the energy to succeed in building a common destiny."

Taught us to 'come together'

Desmond Tutu, South Africa's archbishop emeritus, said his fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is known to many by his clan name, Madiba, helped unite a deeply divided country.

"Over the past 24 years Madiba taught us how to come together and to believe in ourselves and each other. He was a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison," said Tutu. "We are relieved that his suffering is over, but our relief is drowned by our grief. May he rest in peace and rise in glory."

South Africa's ruling African National Congress said in Mandela's passing, the world lost "a colossus and epitome of humility, equality, justice and peace."

"His life gives us the courage to push forward for development and progress towards ending hunger and poverty," it said in a statement.

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy called Mandela "one of the greatest political figures of our times," and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso wrote on Twitter that "Mandela changed [the] course of history for his people, country, continent and the world."

dr/ch (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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InFocus

World Pays Tribute to Mandela

People leaving flowers and messages of support for Former President Nelson Mandela at Medi-Clinic in Pretoria.

People and leaders from across the globe have paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, honouring the former president's death with words of respect for his life and achievements. More: ... Read more »