South Africa, world mourn 'giant for justice' Mandela

Thu Dec 5, 2013 6:39pm EST
 
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By Ed Cropley and Pascal Fletcher

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela died aged 95 at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, plunging his nation and the world into mourning for a man hailed by global leaders as a moral giant.

Although Mandela had been frail and ailing for nearly a year, Zuma's announcement late on Thursday of the death of the former president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate shook South Africa.

Tributes began flooding in almost immediately for a man who was an iconic global symbol of struggle against injustice and of racial reconciliation.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the world had lost "one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth".

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Mandela "a hero of our time" and said "a great light has gone out in the world".

Ordinary South Africans were in shock. "It feels like it's my father who has died. He was such a good man, who had good values the nation could look up to. He was a role model unlike our leaders of today," said Annah Khokhozela, 37, a nanny, speaking in Johannesburg

A somber Zuma made a national broadcast to announce the death of South Africa's first black president, who emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide Africa's biggest economy through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy.

"Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed," Zuma said in the nationally televised address.   Continued...

 
File photo of Nelson Mandela smiling at a news conference ahead of the second 46664 concert near the small Southern Cape province town of George. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files