Africa

Friday 11 July 2014

'Our nation has lost its greatest son' - Former South African president Nelson Mandela has died

Published 05/12/2013|21:48

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The founding president of the democratic nation of South Africa has 'passed on peacefully' in the company of his family and friends at the age of 95.

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela died after a prolonged lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said.

In a nationally televised address, Zuma said South Africa's first black president would be accorded a full state funeral. He ordered flags to be flown at half mast.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son, our people has lost its father," he said on a live broadcast this evening.

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's former president, was reported to be not "doing well" this evening but was continuing to put up a courageous fight from his "death bed", his family said.

Two of Mr Mandela’s granddaughters and Bantu Holomisa, a close family friend, were among those seen entering the family house in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton this evening, along with military personnel responsible for the former president’s health.

Mr Mandela (95) was receiving medical care at home after he was discharged from hospital in September following treatment for a recurring lung infection.

Makaziwe Mandela, his daughter, said earlier: "Tata is still with us, strong, courageous. Even, for a lack of a better word . . . on his 'death bed' he is teaching us lessons; lessons in patience, in love, lessons of tolerance.

"Every moment I get with him I'm amazed.

"There are times where I have to pinch myself that I come from this man who is a fighter even though you can see he is struggling, but fighting spirit is still there with him."

Nelson Mandela circa 1960's. (Gallo Images/Getty Images/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Nelson Mandela circa 1960's. (Gallo Images/Getty Images/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Mr Mandela spent almost three months in a hospital after being admitted in June, following another lung infection.

His lung problems date back to his time in prison, when he was diagnosed with early-stage tuberculosis. Since June, the country's presidency had consistently described his condition as "critical but stable".

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