Zuma's announcement on death of Nelson Mandela

Thu Dec 5, 2013 6:03pm EST
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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Following is the full text of South African President Jacob Zuma's address to the nation on the death of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela on Thursday:

"My Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation, has departed.

"He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20h50 on the 5th of December 2013. He is now resting. He is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.

"Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world.

"His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude.

"They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free.

"Our thoughts are with his wife Mrs Graca Machel, his former wife Ms Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, with his children, his grand-children, his great grand-children and the entire family.

"Our thoughts are with his friends, comrades and colleagues who fought alongside Madiba over the course of a lifetime of struggle.

"Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood.   Continued...

South African President Jacob Zuma speaks on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, in this still image taken from video shot on December 5, 2013. REUTERS/SABC via REUTERS TV