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In Memoriam

Nelson Mandela, 20th century colossus, dies at age 95

'People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.' - Nelson Mandela
Thursday, December 5, 2013

JOHANNESBURG — Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world’s most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died.

South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement at a news conference late Thursday, saying “we’ve lost our greatest son.” Mandela was 95.

John Parkin, AP (File)
Nelson Mandela dances at a celebration concert in Pretoria, South Africa, on May 10, 1994, following his inauguration as the country’s first black president.

Mandela had been a supporter of LGBT rights in South Africa as the policies and practices that he instituted during his presidency have made substantial progress throughout the South African nation.

Mandela’s African National Congress endorsed legal recognition of same-sex marriages, and the interim constitution in 1993 opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

These provisions were kept in the new constitution, approved in 1996, due to the lobbying efforts of LGBT South Africans and the support of the African National Congress.

South Africa became the first nation in the world to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution under his administration.

Two years later, the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in a landmark case that the law prohibiting homosexual conduct between consenting adults in private violated the Constitution.

Mandela eventually turned to fighting AIDS, publicly acknowledging in 2005 that his son, Makgatho, had died of the disease. The nation, which has the most people living with HIV in the world at 5.6 million, still faces stigma and high rates of infection.

Mandela’s death closes the final chapter in South Africa’s struggle to cast off apartheid, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor. Rock concerts celebrated his birthday. Hollywood stars glorified him on screen. And his regal bearing, graying hair and raspy voice made him instantly recognizable across the globe.

“Every one of us who continues the fight for equality and civil rights in our own communities labors in the shadows of this man who withstood imprisonment as a consequence of his courageous leadership and grew only stronger, more resolute and more dignified,” said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal, in a statement.

“Nelson Mandela tore down oppression, united a rainbow nation, and always walked arm-in-arm with his LGBT brothers and sisters — and with all people — toward freedom,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Though every man, woman and child who seeks justice around the world mourns this loss, his vision of an equal future lives on undimmed.”

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Mandela “a giant for justice” whose “selfless struggle for human dignity, equality and freedom” inspired many people around the world.

“Nelson Mandela showed what is possible for our world, and within each one 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.”

Mandela is survived by his wife Graca Machel, the widowed former first lady of neighboring Mozambique, his daughter Makaziwe by his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani by his second.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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65 more reader comments:

  1. Poor guy. He was a great man.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:18pm
  2. Rest in Peace

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:18pm
  3. So sad RIP Mr. Nelson Mandela

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:18pm
  4. Ohhhhhh…Fuuuck!
    A great loss for the World.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:19pm
  5. A giant of men…

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:19pm
  6. Descanse en paz

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:19pm
  7. Sad sad day in the world. RIP Nelson Mandela. You will be missed.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:19pm
  8. Awww my dad was going to give his name. Rip Nelson Mandela

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:20pm
  9. RIP

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:20pm
  10. His work is done.He endured and lived through so much. I am forever grateful for his sacrifice and struggle. He has earned his eternal rest and peace.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:20pm
  11. rest in peace wish i could have met you before you left this world, you left a great mark and wont be forgotten

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:21pm
  12. God bless

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:21pm
  13. A true hero

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:21pm
  14. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:22pm
  15. RIP HERO!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:22pm
  16. The world has lost a giant of a man who has taught us so much. May you rest in peace Mr. Mandela

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:23pm
  17. This world is a darker place with this peaceful, soft spoken mans death.
    He was a wonderful example of how we should conduct ourselves in our fight for equality.

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:24pm
  18. Well actually its a whiter place...and I found this bit ironic and funny...but anyways your statement is still so true...

    Replied on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 2:50pm
  19. RIP

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:24pm
  20. We shall miss that shiny heart and smile!

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:25pm
  21. R.I.P. lived a long life : o

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:31pm
  22. Such a great man!

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:37pm
  23. R.I.P. NELSON MANDELA. PITY WE’VE NOT GOT MANY LIKE U IN THIS WORLD U WAS A GREAT LEADER

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:37pm
  24. RIP Nelson Mandela. Thank you for all the love you put into the world!

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:38pm
  25. R.I.P…..:-((((

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:41pm
  26. :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’( :’(

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:47pm
  27. An inspiration

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:48pm
  28. A TRUE MONUMENTAL FORCE ON THE WORLD STAGE…RIP…WE ARE ALL SAD…BRAVO MR. MANDELA

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:48pm
  29. Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela. The World has lost a hero today. The Honorable Mandela has died at the age of 95. We respect Mandela’s passion and love for humanity. Throughout his life he has fought for democracy, freedom and equality. The World is a better place because of him and his legacy will never be forgotten!

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:49pm
  30. RIP you were a great man

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:56pm
  31. rest easy, mandela. see you on the other side, tata (father).

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 10:59pm
  32. Take your place in paradise brother. :)

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 11:16pm
  33. RIP Mr. Mandela

    Posted on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 11:45pm
  34. A true freedom fighter!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:34am
  35. Obrigado por ter existido! !!!!! Um herói da vida real!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:36am
  36. RIP My Hero!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:48am
  37. Goodbye Hero of Love !

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:49am
  38. It’s not something that needs to be taught it’s inherent.. I think it is anyway

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:49am
  39. R.I.P. Mr. Mandela.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:52am
  40. May rest in eternal peace for ever more.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:53am
  41. Very much a true hero has been lost.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 12:59am
  42. God Bless You, sir!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:00am
  43. Farewell Mr. Mandela. A great Hero of Freedom and Love

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:00am
  44. too bad the women and children he blew to pieces will never get the recognition this terrorist will. good riddance

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:01am
  45. Bless you wonderful and strong human, and look at that wonderful smile. You are ICONIC! Thank you for your life, we will see you again!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:52am
  46. RIP Mr. Mandela…THANK YOU for all the causes you shouldered in your life on behalf of the LGBTQ community around the world…

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:53am
  47. peace!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 2:10am
  48. Read a great book about what Nelson Mandela fought for, it is “Cry the Beloved Country”, I read it back in the 80′s and it is in my personal Library of great books.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 2:43am
  49. Love and Peace

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 3:08am
  50. Peace to you, a giant among men who deserves his rest.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 3:24am
  51. From the musical “Gigi:” Maurice Chevalier sings to Audrey Hepburn, “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, you’ve got to be carefully taught.”

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 3:42am
  52. RIP, you were a true soldier sir! Thank you

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 3:46am
  53. RIP. Nelson

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:04am
  54. Rest In Peace. Thank you for you compassion, love and teachings!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:32am
  55. Be blessed!

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:38am
  56. Shai Monaster, this is a quote for us.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 4:58am
  57. Smart and compassionate man.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5:54am
  58. Equality fighter

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 6:13am
  59. Madiba a true legend R.I.P

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 7:06am
  60. Sad day on earth, great day in Heaven

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 7:15am
  61. <3 <3 <3 Mandiba = Freedom <3 <3 <3

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 8:00am
  62. R.I.P. Sir you were a great man

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 10:14am
  63. a vida é assim! abre o o olho irmão! hoje quem esta lá em cima amanhã pode estar lá no chão!!! samba enredo 2013 PALHOÇA TERRA QUERIDA ALA DIVERSIDADE POP GAY CARNAVAL 2014 ENSAIO DA BATERIA DOMINGOS E QUARTAS as 18:00 h. local rua-indaial N. 260 Passa Vinte fone 048 32866514 – 99735708 -88161501 http://www.grespalhocaterraquerida.com.br/ — com Palhoça Terra Querida em Palhoça.

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 1:13pm
  64. RIP Nelson Mandella…

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 2:26pm
  65. farewell po …

    Posted on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 7:17pm