Nelson Mandela dies, aged 95

Oxford Mail: Nelson Mandela in Oxford Nelson Mandela in Oxford

Former South African leader Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95, the country's president, Jacob Zuma, said tonight.

In a televised address, Mr 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. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves."

David Cameron tweeted his condolences, adding: "A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time. I've asked for the flag at No10 to be flown at half mast."

In a more detailed statement put out by Downing Street, Mr Cameron said: "A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure in our time; a legend in life and now in death - a true global hero.

"Across the country he loved they will be mourning a man who was the embodiment of grace.

"Meeting him was one of the great honours of my life. My heart goes out to his family - and to all in South Africa and around the world whose lives were changed through his courage."

In 1997 Mr Mandela was made a freeman of Oxford. The previous year Oxford University gave him a Degree of Doctor of Civil Law.

Oxford West & Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, who was born in South Africa, tweeted: "'With freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.' Rest now Madiba. Your life transformed ours."

Raymond Blanc has tweeted: "The world has lost the most forgiving and intelligent man."

Sir Richard Branson added: "Today we lost not only a great man; we also lost one of the world’s greatest leaders."

 

Mandela - the tributes

Nelson Mandela's extraordinary achievements during his lifetime meant he was never short of accolades from his peers.

  • "Nelson Mandela is a leader no prison cell, no intimidation, no threat could silence. A man whose belief in the future was so powerful that not even 27 years behind bars and barbed wire could destroy his dream that millions could be free" - Gordon Brown, former prime minister.
  • "Your sacrifices, your accomplishments and your many gifts to our world have affected those no longer with us, as well as those not yet born" - Former US president Bill Clinton and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • "How blessed we have been. He has become the most admired statesman in the world, an icon of forgiveness and reconciliation, a moral colossus ... wonderful man, wonderful, wonderful gift to us" - Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
  • "To this day, Madiba (Mandela) remains probably the single most admired, most respected, international figure in the entire world. He continues to inspire millions of people and several generations throughout the globe, by continuing to fight for reconciliation before recrimination, healing before bitterness, peace before conflict; by fighting for health, for education, for the right of every child to have a better start in life" - Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.
  • "What is so special is that you spend 27 years in prison, you come out and you do the thing that everyone thought was impossible to do, become president of the nation and change the way people feel about Africa, and then you get to live to celebrate 90. I just don't know anybody who deserves this more or anybody who we should be gathered around literally at his feet to say thank you for all that he has given the world" - US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
  • "He is a giant amongst the political figures of the modern age. At a time when we are looking for role models, what better role model than Nelson Mandela?" - Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell.
  • "Your name will forever be associated with the battle for justice, freedom and democracy. Your continuing fight to defeat HIV/Aids ensures you remain a beacon of hope for millions. Long after you deserved a break the struggle is still your life" - Former prime minister Tony Blair.
  • "He's someone who I often think about when things get tough and life isn't full of roses. Nothing can be as hard as what he went through" - Model Naomi Campbell.
  • "He has fought bravely ... and forgiven absolutely" - Formula One star Lewis Hamilton.
  • "I applaud the leadership he is providing on many vital causes in South Africa and around the world. Mr Mandela is a great example of courage, hope and the power of freedom" - Former US president George W Bush.

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