Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary, has died at the age of 95.
President Jacob Zuma said Mandela died Thursday at his home after ongoing health problems.
“Our nation has lost its great son,” Zuma said in a televised statement to the nation.
President Barack Obama spoke very highly of Mandela during a press conference at the White House.
“He achieved more than could be expected of any man,” Obama said. “Today he has gone home. We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on Earth. He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages.”
Obama said that he is one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from the leader’s life and that he will do what he can to learn from him.
“Through his fierce dignity and unbending will to sacrifice his own freedom for the freedom of others, Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us,” Obama said.
“His journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings — and countries — can change for the better. His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to, whether in the lives of nations or our own personal lives.”
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo as Rolihlahla, meaning “troublemaker.” His school teacher renamed him Nelson and he moved to Johannesburg at 23.
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