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Georges DeKeerle/Getty Images
Nelson Mandela lives on in the hearts of his South African constituents and the minds of people around the world who shared his commitment to human rights.

By Nangayi Guyson

When Thursday’s news hit the world that  our African father Nelson Mandela who has been sick and hospitalized in Pretoria, was dead at the age of 95, news coming from South Africa, shows that people have gathered in Johannesburg and Soweto to mourn their former leader and Crowds paying  tribute, dancing and singing in front of Mr Mandela’s former home in Soweto.

Flags have  fallen half mast after President Jacob Zuma announced his death in a late night national TV address.

Mr Mandela had been suffering from a lung illness for a long time.

Mr. Mandela, served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999 after being imprisoned by whites for 27 years during his fight against Apartheid in South Africa.

The South Africa constitution could allow him to stand for two terms but due the love he had for his for people, he gave up power after ruling for only one term and started to consider reconciliation and introduced policies that aimed at combating poverty and inequality in his Country. He has received more than 250 awards for decades including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Many African and western leaders wonder how the man who had suffered for 27 years in prison just give in power so quickly but his giving power earned him respect both at home  and internationally.

According to BBC ,  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.

HIS LIFE JOURNEY

Mandela grew up in an Africa that was still dominated by European colonial rule, and went on to become an international symbol of peace, determination and dignity. Despite tragedy and hardship, he maintained a life-long commitment to human rights.

He emerged on the global stage from the apartheid of his homeland as part man, part myth — a black South African warrior who embraced peace.

He became a worldwide symbol of determination, dignity, grace and good will.

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JURGEN SCHADEBERG/AP

Nelson Mandela (right, seen here as a young leader) showed an early inclination toward dissent. He was expelled from the University of Fort Hare in 1938 for his part in a student strike.

Now dead at age 95, Nelson Mandela lives on in the hearts of his South African constituents and the minds of people around the world who shared his commitment to human rights.

His was an unlikely journey that began in a segregated section of South Africa, the nation where a white minority condemned blacks to second-class citizenship for centuries.

Nelson Mandela (left) talks President Bill Clinton as they walk to the Oval office of the White House on Oct. 5, 1994.

Doug Mills/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nelson Mandela (left) talks President Bill Clinton as they walk to the Oval office of the White House on Oct. 5, 1994.

It ended Thursday with his death from lingering health woes — a full 23 years after he emerged from jail and became his nation’s first black president.

Mandela was no stranger to tragedy. He outlived three of the children from his first marriage — a daughter who died at birth, a son killed in a 1970 car crash and a son claimed by AIDS in 2005.

Michelly Rall/WireImage

Mandela was no stranger to tragedy. He outlived three of the children from his first marriage — a daughter who died at birth, a son killed in a 1970 car crash and a son claimed by AIDS in 2005.

Mandela was the son of a tribal chief, born in the last year of World War I. The regal bearings of his childhood stayed with the natural-born leader as his reputation grew.

Though most knew him as Mandela, his fellow South Africans referred to him as Madiba — his clan name and a term of respect.

African National Congress supporters await the arrival of then-President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, on May 30, 1999.

JEAN-MARC BOUJU/AP

African National Congress supporters await the arrival of then-President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, on May 30, 1999.

The man who would go on to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize grew up in an Africa still dominated by European colonial rule, and showed an early inclination toward dissent. He was expelled from the University of Fort Hare in 1938 for his part in a student strike.

Demonstrators in Johannesburg, South Africa, celebrate the release of Mandela in 1990.

Demonstrators in Johannesburg, South Africa, celebrate the release of Mandela in 1990.

Mandela was no stranger to tragedy. He outlived three of the children from his first marriage — a daughter who died at birth, a son killed in a 1970 car crash and a son claimed by AIDS in 2005.

He was kept behind bars during the funeral of his mother. His first ex-wife died in 2004; he divorced second wife Winnie in 1996 after accusing her of “brazen infidelity.”

President George W. Bush (right) speaks to the press as Nelson Mandela looks on during a press conference outside the Oval Office after a meeting in 2001.

Hamburg, Harry

President George W. Bush (right) speaks to the press as Nelson Mandela looks on during a press conference outside the Oval Office after a meeting in 2001.

Winnie was convicted in 1991 for the kidnapping of an alleged police informant while Mandela was jailed as a political prisoner.

More recently, his 13-year-old great-granddaughter died in a 2010 car wreck just before South Africa hosted the World Cup.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu, South Africa, on Aug. 6, 2012.

POOL/REUTERS

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu, South Africa, on Aug. 6, 2012.

But Mandela’s spirit remained indomitable as the years passed and his message echoed with new generations around the globe.

Oprah Winfrey poses with Mandela during the Agenda for Earth Turning Ceremony for The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa on Dec. 6, 2002.

JUDA NGWENYA/REUTERS

Oprah Winfrey poses with Mandela during the Agenda for Earth Turning Ceremony for The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa on Dec. 6, 2002.

“Free Nelson Mandela” — a song by the British band The Special A.K.A. — became an international call for justice in 1984.

Steven Van Zandt, a Jersey Shore kid of the 1960s, led an artists’ boycott of South Africa and welcomed Mandela during the leader’s triumphant visit to New York after his release.

Mandela was the son of a tribal chief, born in the last year of World War I. The regal bearings of his childhood stayed with the natural-born leader as his reputation grew.

Keystone/Getty Images

Mandela was the son of a tribal chief, born in the last year of World War I. The regal bearings of his childhood stayed with the natural-born leader as his reputation grew.

During his 27 years of captivity, 18 of them inside a cell on barren Robben Island, Mandela refused deals offered by the white South African regime to free him from prison.

 

Nelson Mandela (left) listens to Cuban leader Fidel Castro during a visit by Castro to the former South African president on Sept. 2, 2001, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

JOSE GOITIA/AP

Nelson Mandela (left) listens to Cuban leader Fidel Castro during a visit by Castro to the former South African president on Sept. 2, 2001, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In a 1975 letter to Winnie, Mandela suggested that his confinement was actually a means to greater knowledge.

“You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the process of your own mind and feelings,” he wrote.

Mandela (right) with his second wife, Winnie, and daughter Zindzi in 1961.

ALF KHUMALO/AP

Mandela (right) with his second wife, Winnie, and daughter Zindzi in 1961.

The solitary inmate also wrote his thoughts in an unpublished manuscript written in prison.

The self-deprecating Mandela noted that he and other leaders of the anti-apartheid movement received all the attention in the struggle for freedom.

Bono (right) and Nelson Mandela pose after meeting at Mandela's residence in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 25, 2002.

JUDA NGWENYA/PA

Bono (right) and Nelson Mandela pose after meeting at Mandela’s residence in Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 25, 2002.

But they were “only part of the story,” he wrote. Every activist, he continued, was “like a brick which makes up our organization.”

Mandela (left) with Michael Jackson (center) in 1996.

SIPHIWE MHLAMBI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mandela (left) with Michael Jackson (center) in 1996.

He later published an autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” which was turned into a movie.

His supporters turned out en masse when Mandela — running as part of the once-banned African National Congress — was voted in as president in his homeland’s first all-races election.

First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha met with Mandela in 2011.

DEBBIE YAZBEK/AFP/Getty Images

First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha met with Mandela in 2011.

Even as his health failed and his public appearances dwindled, Mandela’s hold on his nation remained firm.

Just last year, new banknotes were released by the South African central bank bearing Mandela’s likeness — a smiling face of his nation’s George Washington.

When it came to heroes, Mandela preferred nonpresidents and nonpoliticians: He frequently cited Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi as role models.

Unlike the two assassinated men, Mandela died a peaceful death — after a long and fruitful second chapter of life after his release from prison.

The South African icon was also known for his sense of humor. After resigning after serving one term, “I must step down while there are one or two people who admired me,” joked Mandela, who was newly married to his third wife, Graca Machel. She was by his side when he died.

Written and complied by Nangayi Guyson with additional information from nydailynews.com

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