World Leaders pay Tribute to the Anti-apartheid Icon and Father of Modern South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (TIP): Nelson Mandela, the revered South African anti-apartheid icon who spent 27 years in prison, led his country to democracy and became its first black president, died Thursday at home. He was 95. “He is now resting,” said South African President Jacob Zuma. “He is now at peace.” “Our nation has lost its greatest son,” he continued. “Our people have lost their father.” A state funeral will be held, and Zuma called for mourners to conduct themselves with “the dignity and respect” that Mandela personified. “Wherever we are in the country, wherever we are in the world, let us reaffirm his vision of a society‚Ķ in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another,” he said as tributes began pouring in from across the world. President Obama said his first political action was an anti-apartheid protest inspired by Mandela, who “achieved more than could be expected of any man.”

“I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example Nelson Mandela set,” he said. Though he was in power for only five years, Mandela was a figure of enormous moral influence the world over – a symbol of revolution, resistance and triumph over racial segregation. He inspired a generation of activists, left celebrities and world leaders star-struck, won the Nobel Peace Prize and raised millions for humanitarian causes. British Prime Minister David Cameron said of Mandela, ‘A great light has gone out’. British flag at 10 Downing has been lowered in honor of the departed leader Mandela, a former president, battled health issues in recent months, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations. With advancing age and bouts of illness, Mandela retreated to a quiet life at his boyhood home in the nation’s Eastern Cape Province, where he said he was most at peace. He was later moved to his home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, where he died. Despite rare public appearances, he held a special place in the consciousness of the nation and the world.