South African President Jacob Zuma has just announced that Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader, father of modern South Africa, and one of the towering figures of 20th-century history, has passed away at the age of 95. From Zuma’s statement:
“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 nationality. Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause.”
Adam Roberts’ obit is up on Slate now.
Above, see Mandela’s famous address to a rally in Cape Town upon his release from prison on Feb. 11, 1990. He concluded the speech by quoting the statement he had made 26 years earlier during his trial:
“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”