Nelson Mandela death: South Africa and world mourn

South Africans have gathered in Johannesburg and Soweto to mourn their former leader, Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday, aged 95.

Crowds paid tribute, dancing and singing in front of Mr Mandela’s former home in Soweto throughout the night.

Flags flew at half-mast after President Jacob Zuma announced his death in a late night national TV address.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in jail before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

His administration replaced the racist white-minority regime that had enforced segregation of black and white people in a policy known as apartheid.

Mr Mandela went on to become one of the world’s most respected statesmen.

A service of national mourning is expected to be held at a 95,000-seater stadium on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Monday. His body will then lie in state for three days in the capital, Pretoria, before being taken for a state funeral in the village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up.

Nelson Medela

1918 -2013

1918 Born in the Eastern Cape

1943 Joins ANC

1956 Charged with high treason, but charges dropped after a four-year trial

1962 Jailed for five years for incitement and leaving country without a passport

1964 Charged with sabotage, sentenced to life

1990 Freed from prison

1993 Wins Nobel Peace Prize

1994-99 Serves as president

2004 Retires from public life

2010 Last major public appearance at football World Cup in Johannesburg

As soon as the news broke, small crowds began to gather in Soweto’s Vilakazi Street, where Mr Mandela lived in the 1940s and 1950s.

They chanted apartheid-era songs, including one with the lyrics: “We have not seen Mandela in the place where he is, in the place where he is kept.”

By daybreak, dozens more had gathered.

Crowds also gathered outside Mr Mandela’s current home, in Johannesburg’s northern suburb of Houghton, where he died.

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Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, as a law student.

He and other ANC leaders campaigned against apartheid. Initially he campaigned peacefully but in the 1960s the ANC began to advocate violence, and Mr Mandela was made the commander of its armed wing.

He was arrested for sabotage and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, serving most of his sentence on Robben Island.

It was forbidden to quote him or publish his photo, but he and other ANC leaders were able to smuggle out messages of guidance to the anti-apartheid movement.

He was released in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial white dominated segregation called apartheid – a process completed by the first multi-racial elections in 1994.

Mr Mandela served a single term as president before stepping down in 1999.

After leaving office, he became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup.

He was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere.



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