Nelson Mandela Dies at 95

Nelson Mandela Dead: South African President

South African leader was most recently portrayed in 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

Nelson Mandela, whose anti-apartheid leadership inspired millions around the world including songwriters, filmmakers and writers, died today at 95 in Johannesburg. He had been suffering from a lung infection for several months.

Mandela emerged after 27 years in prison (1963-1990) to become president of South Africa and is generally considered the father of his country. After his presidency, 1994-1999, he founded a global charitable organization. There have been many activists who have been mistreated and/or unjustly imprisoned, but Mandela’s story captured the imagination of the public — and artists — much more intensely than most.

Idris Elba plays him in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” which was released in November.

His daughter Zindzi recently told the South African Broadcasting Corporation that Mandela has seen some clips of the film, which is adapted from his autobiography of the same name. His eldest daughter Makaziwe said, “Even when there are moments when you can see he’s struggling, but the fighting spirit is still there with him.”

Mandela has been portrayed in film and TV by a distinguished group of actors in such works as the 1997 “Mandela and de Klerk,” Sidney Poitier; 2007 “Goodbye Bafana,” Dennis Haysbert; 2009 “Invictus,” Morgan Freeman; 2010 “Mrs. Mandela,” David Harewood; 2011 “Winnie,” Terrence Howard.

He has also been given a dozen other depictions on TV and in film. And he appeared as himself in multiple docus, including “Mandela” (1996); “Mandela at 90” (2008); and “The Art of Reconciliation” (2012). In 2008, producers planned a Broadway musical based on the autobiography of his daughter Zindzi Mandela, but that never happened.

He had his detractors, as any revolutionary leader would. And in July of this year, there were always headlines about family squabbles involving his ex-wives, children and grandchildren. But showbiz folks didn’t know or didn’t care about the criticisms. He became the symbol of the freedom fighter, of perseverance and of nobility in the face of persecution.

On July 18, his 95th birthday, huge crowds gathered in Pretoria, outside the hospital where Mandela had been staying since June 8 with a recurring lung infection. Speaking of his condition, his daughter Zindzi told CBS News, “He continues to amaze us every day.” That could sum up his health condition as well as his 67 years of activism.

Mandela was born in 1918. After the Afrikaner nationalists of the National Party began implementing a policy of apartheid in 1948, lawyer Mandela was repeatedly arrested for his actions. Though he initially stuck to a non-violent policy, he co-founded the militant org Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961 with a policy of bombing government locations. The following year he was convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the govenrment and sentenced to life in prison.

In 1983, The Special AKA recorded “Free Nelson Mandela,” a song also recorded by Elvis Costello. Two years later, Youssou N’Dour made the album “Nelson Mandela,” which became his first U.S. release.

While still in prison, a group of performers staged a 70th birthday celebration in his honor on June 11, 1988,  at Wembley Stadium in London. The following year,  Simple Minds included a song “Mandela Day” on their 1989 album “Street Fighting Years.”

Other artists recording songs or videos devoted to him include Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela, Nickelback and Raffi.

After years of global protests on his behalf, Mandela was finally released in 1990.  He wrote his autobiography, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and, a year later, worked with President F.W. de Klerk to eliminate apartheid and establish multiracial elections.

After his own presidency, he worked through his Nelson Mandela Foundation to fight poverty and battle HIV and AIDS. In South Africa, he is considered the father of his country.

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  1. ABUH LAWRENCE I. says:

    NELSON MANDELA is a legends nd is an hero 2 his country nd d at d world at large, so, i encourage all leaders in NIGERIA ND all d whole country 2 learn from d legacy he had lead down 4 us. His a good nd d best leader i knew so far, a leader whom can lead his life 4 his people.

  2. Mukhuta Muhiana John says:

    C’est avec une infinie tristesse que j’ai appris le décès de l’ancien Président sud-africain Nelson Mandela, notre Père, notre Frère. Je voudrais, au nom du people de la RDCONGO, du Fondation de la paix mondiale, et de moi-même, adresser mes plus sincères condoléances à sa famille ainsi qu’à l’ensemble des Sud-Africains.

  3. RIP tata mandela we will miss u and we will alwys remember u nd respect u. this day is sappoused to be a holiday across the world so that we can pay a contribute to him…

  4. i send my sympathy 2 mandela family nd all south africans not 4getin da rest of da world bcoz he was a father 2 all of us… he left his foot print behind so we wil alwys remember him as da freedom fighter nd as da 1st blck south african who changed south africa 2 b a bettr place

  5. hailu ETHIOPIA says:

    R.I.P Iron man the father of Africa

  6. peterdlite says:

    makawa mumwe chete kuvamwe vose panyika makativakira rugare nzira nerudo mukurarama ninoti zorora murugare

  7. seo jeong won says:

    Accept my sincere[deepest] condolences.

  8. calvin carl says:

    rip mandela.u were a gr8 man and u will 4 ever be remembered.but we are going to miss u very much.

  9. Michael Anthony says:

    Mandela’s extraordinary life has come to a close. And South Africa and the world was forever changed by him.

    Yet here it is, only a couple of hours later, and the networks are going over the top as usual. They are practically talking to anyone, who all share the same sentiments. I expect them to next show the sun setting and such, just to keep the”show” going on.

    It would make more sense to quit these repetitive segments and prepare a special 1 to 2 hour special report that details his life’s history. Its what most people don’t know much about.

  10. Chris says:

    Nobody cares!

  11. Matthias Grimwald says:

    You’ve said “he is considered the father of his country” twice in the same article. Bad writing.

  12. Guest says:

    Given his age, it’s not exactly a surprise but the world lost a truly inspirational leader today. Thank God he was given a long life to see most of what he had fought for come to pass. RIP.

  13. tsholanang morare says:

    may your soul rest in peace .you may be gone you will never be forgotton

  14. Darn. I am sorry to see him pass. The world is a little less without him. May he rest in peace. God knows that man earned that.

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