He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.
– South African President Jacob Zuma.
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 (5) at home. He was 95. Rest in Peace and thanks to help to build a better world for all of us.
A revolutionary’s life
1. Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela is born in the tiny village of Mvezo, in the hills of South Africa’s Eastern Cape, the youngest son of a counselor to the chief of the Thembu clan. He was given the name Nelson by a schoolteacher but is also sometimes called Madiba, his traditional clan name. He is pictured in about 1950, six years after he founded the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League with Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu.
2. Mandela, center, meets with fellow ANC Youth League leaders Walter Sisulu, left, and Harrison Motlana during the “Defiance Campaign” trial at the Supreme Court in Johannesburg in 1952. The campaign encouraged people to defy the apartheid laws, a system of strict racial segregation meant to ensure the continued economic and political dominance of white South Africans. Mandela was given a suspended prison sentence.
5. Mandela gives a speech to the African Congress in 1961. The ANC had been outlawed the previous year and Mandela went underground, leaving South Africa in 1962 to undergo military training and gather support abroad.
6. Returning to South Africa, Mandela was captured and sentenced to five years for incitement and illegally leaving the country. In 1964 he was among eight men sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia trial after being convicted of conspiracy and sabotage. In this picture taken in June 1964, the eight men leave the Palace of Justice in Pretoria, their fists raised in defiance through the barred windows of the prison van.
8. Winnie Mandela raises her fist in a black power salute on July 17, 1988, as she announces that a massive pop concert will be held to mark the 70th birthday of her jailed husband. As Mandela languished in prison, the international community tightened the sanctions first imposed on South Africa’s apartheid regime in 1967. In 1990, President FW de Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC.
11. Two days after his release, Mandela addresses a rally attended by over 100 000 people at Soccer City Stadium in Soweto on Feb. 13, 1990. “The march towards freedom and justice is irreversible,” he told the crowd.
13. Mandela acknowledges the applause during a speech to the United Nations in New York on June 22, 1990. Mandela urged the U.N. to maintain sanctions against South Africa until apartheid was abolished.
14. Mandela greets supporters on July 22, 1990 as he holds up high the keys of a Mercedes-Benz car that was especially built and gifted to him by workers at a plant in Mdantsana, a black township near East London. The vehicle became known as the Madiba Merc, after Mandela’s clan name.
15. Nelson and Winnie Mandela join a group of clergymen and embassy officials on a visit to the Tokoza township on Dec. 12, 1990, in an effort to bring peace to the area where 83 people had lost their lives in clashes between Zulu and Xhosa factions in the previous five days.
19. Mandela takes the oath on May 10, 1994, during his inauguration in Pretoria as the country’s first black president. “The time for the healing of the wounds has come,” Mandela said. “The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.”
20. Mandela congratulates South Africa’s rugby captain François Pienaar before handing him the William Webb trophy after his team’s victory over New Zealand in the final of the Rugby World Cup at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on June 24, 1995. “It was on that day that he captured the hearts of white South Africa,” said the author John Carlin, who wrote a book, later turned into an Oscar-nominated movie, about the significance of Mandela’s embrace of the largely-white rugby team.
22. Mandela lays a brick at the Rolihlahla primary school in Ikhutseng, Warrenton, in the Northern Cape Province, on Aug. 31, 1996. Mandela’s government launched a major reconstruction and development programme in an attempt to address South Africa’s socioeconomic problems, but poor housing, crime and unemployment continued to blight the country.
23. Mandela shows U.S. President Bill Clinton Cell No. 5 at Robben Island, where Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years, on March 27, 1998. Clinton lauded Mandela for surviving the experience without “having his heart turned into stone.”
25. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, right, hands Mandela the five-volume report produced by his Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on Oct. 29, 1998. The report revealed human rights abuse by various political parties during apartheid. Accepting the report, Mandela acknowledged that the wounds of the period of repression and resistance were too deep to have been healed by the TRC alone.
27. Mandela hugs Babalwa Tembani, 20, who was infected with the HIV virus after being raped by her uncle at the age of 14, on a visit to the Nolungile Clinic in Khayelitsha, Cape Town on Dec. 12, 2002. In 2005 Mandela’s eldest son Makgatho died of an AIDS-related illness. Announcing Makgatho’s death, Mandela said “Let us give publicity to HIV/AIDS and not hide it, because [that is] the only way to make it appear like a normal illness.”
28. Mandela holds the World Cup trophy alongside Desmond Tutu on May 15, 2004 in Zurich, Switzerland, after South Africa won the right to host the soccer tournament in 2010. Mandela played a key role in South Africa’s bid for the event, and appeared at the closing ceremony.
31. Mandela celebrates his 89th birthday with a group of young people at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg on July 24, 2007. After his retirement from politics Mandela remained involved in social issues through the Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a charity set up in 1999.
32. Brian May performs at the 46664 concert in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life, held at Hyde Park in London on June 27, 2008. The event was organized to raise funds for Nelson Mandela’s HIV/AIDS “46664” campaign, named after his prison number. Exactly 46,664 people were expected to attend the event, which also celebrated the former South African president’s 90th birthday on July 18.
34. U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama visits Mandela at his home in Johannesburg on June 21, 2011, accompanied by her mother and daughters.They are pictured reading his newest book, titled “Nelson Mandela by himself.”
35. Mandela receives the African Nation Congress centenary torch from ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete at his home in Qunu on May 30, 2012. The original torch was lit during the party’s 100th birthday celebrations earlier in 2012, before a replica was presented to Mandela at his home.
36. Schoolchildren read about Mandela’s life at a school in his home village of Qunu ahead of the opening of a container library by the Bill Clinton foundation in celebration of Mandela day on July 17, 2012.
The greatest Mandela’s quotes
1. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
2. “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
3. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
4. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
5. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
6. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
7. “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
8. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
9. “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
10. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“Mandela Day” is a song by the rock band Simple Minds from their album Street Fighting Years. It was written for the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute (also known as Mandela Day), a concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, in 11 June 1988, as an expression of solidarity with the then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela, and was played live on that day (alongside cover versions of “Sun City” with Little Steven and a cover version of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” on which Gabriel himself took on lead vocals).
It was 25 years they take that man away
Now the freedom moves in closer every day
Wipe the tears down from your saddened eyes
They say Mandela’s free so step outside
Oh oh oh oh Mandela day
Oh oh oh oh Mandela’s free
It was 25 years ago this very day
Held behind four walls all through night and day
Still the children know the story of that man
And I know what’s going on right through your land
25 years ago
Na na na na Mandela day
Oh oh oh Mandela’s free
If the tears are flowing wipe them from your face
I can feel his heartbeat moving deep inside
It was 25 years they took that man away
And now the world come down say Nelson Mandela’s free
Oh oh oh oh Mandela’s free
The rising suns sets Mandela on his way
Its been 25 years around this very day
From the one outside to the ones inside we say
Oh oh oh oh Mandela’s free
Oh oh oh set Mandela free
Na na na na Mandela day
Na na na na Mandela’s free
25 years ago
What’s going on
And we know what’s going on
Cos we know what’s going on