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Hamba Kahle ("Rest in Peace") Madiba: 1918 - 2013
Dec 6, 2013 | News
Hamba Kahle (

WURD remembers the exemplary life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who passed away on December 5 at the age of 95.

(photo credit: PBS.org)
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900AM-WURD joins you in honoring Nelson Mandela, a beacon of inspiration, black manhood, strength, sacrifice, and perseverance.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, former president of South Africa, passed away at his home on December 5 surrounded by family. Reverently and affectionately referred to as "Madiba," his Xhosa clan name, Mandela had been in poor health after an extended hospitalization for a lung infection. In the days immediately preceding his death, family spokespersons released statements preparing his legions of supporters around the globe for his transition.


Mr. Mandela's life and legacy are unmatched in our time. Born in 1918, he briefly pursued a boxing career and went on to become a skilled lawyer and passionate freedom fighter who shaped the strategy of the African National Congress (ANC), a political organization formed in the early 1900s in response to apartheid, the government-sanctioned system of oppression of black South Africans. Originally called the South African Native National Congress, the ANC and its supporters toiled for justice over decades of apartheid rule in which countless thousands of black South African men, women and children were persecuted, jailed, beaten and killed for taking a stand against the government and participating in the anti-apartheid movement.

By the 1950s, Mandela rose to prominence as a key leader within the ANC and continued to rally blacks all over South Africa to political action with the aim of ending apartheid. He and other ANC members, including his equally militant and charismatic second wife, Winnie Madikizela–Mandela, were vilified by the government and frequently jailed. Not surprisingly, Mandela was labeled a communist and eventually convicted of treason in 1964, a crime with a life sentence. His sentence was carried out at the infamous Robben Island prison, known for prisoner abuse and torture. Mandela was forced to spend 19 years of his prison sentence in solitary confinement, but continued the fight from prison, often smuggling messages out to the ANC and a growing international group of supporters.

On February 11, 1990, after 27 years, Mandela was finally released from prison by South African president F.W. de Clerk. Millions of people around the world remember the image of Mandela, then in his early 70s, emerging from the gates of Robben Island hand-in-hand with Winnie, fists held high in the "AMANDLA" power salute. Mandela was immediately named head of the ANC and was elected president in South Africa’s first all-race election four years later in 1994. He remained in power until 1999, declining to seek a second term.

Nelson Mandela is survived by his third wife, Graca Machel (widowed former first lady of Mozambique), his daughter Makaziwe from his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani from his marriage to Winnie Mandela.

An official memorial service will be held Tuesday in First National Bank Stadium in Johannesburg. From Wednesday through next Friday, Mandela will lie in state at the seat of the government in Pretoria. He will be buried in a state funeral on Sunday, December 15, in his ancestral hometown of Qunu in the Eastern Cape province. According to current South African president Jacob Zuma, December 15 will be a "national day of prayer and reflection," in which people throughout the nation will gather in places of worship to conduct "prayer services and meditation reflecting on the life" of Mandela.

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