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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hailed as architect of post-Apartheid nation, Mandela had suffered health issues in recent months

Freed from prison after 27 years, statesman Nelson Mandela led South Africa out of decades of apartheid. Declared the architect of his African nation, Mandela has died at the age of 95. he had suffered major health problems for most of this year.

Nelson Mandela was known for his unmovable stubbornness, quick, easy smile - and even quicker frown when accosted with a discussion he wanted no part of.

Nelson Mandela was known for his unmovable stubbornness, quick, easy smile - and even quicker frown when accosted with a discussion he wanted no part of.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Revered South African statesman Nelson Mandela dies at 95


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "He is now resting. He is now at peace," South African President Jacob Zuma said. "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father." Zuma ordered all flags in the nation to be flown at half-staff from Friday through Mandela's funeral.

A former South African president, Mandela retreated to a quiet life at his boyhood home in the nation's Eastern Cape Province to deal with his declining health.

Mandela was a moral compass of a nation struggling to throw off the shackles of repression. Mandela's defiance of white minority rule and his prison incarceration for fighting against segregation turned the world community to South Africa. Apartheid, the legalized racial segregation enforced by the South African government finally came to an end in 1994.

A man of many facets, Mandela went from a militant freedom fighter, to a prisoner, to a unifying figure, to an elder statesman. Retiring in 1999, Mandela was a yardstick for African leaders, who consistently fell short when measured against him.

Mandela last public appearance was during the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa. His absences from the limelight and frequent hospitalizations left the nation on edge, prompting Zuma to reassure citizens every time he fell ill.

"Mandela is woven into the fabric of the country and the world," said Ayo Johnson, director of Viewpoint Africa says. "He was a father figure, elder statesman and global ambassador," Johnson said. "He was the guarantee, almost like an insurance policy, that South Africa's young democracy and its leaders will pursue the nation's best interests."

Nelson Mandela was known for his unmovable stubbornness, quick, easy smile - and even quicker frown when accosted with a discussion he wanted no part of.

South Africa avoided a full-fledged civil war in its transition from apartheid to multiparty democracy. The peace was due in large part to the leadership and vision of Mandela.

"We were expected by the world to self-destruct in the bloodiest civil war along racial grounds," Mandela said during a 2004 celebration. "Not only did we avert such racial conflagration, we created amongst ourselves one of the most exemplary and progressive nonracial and nonsexist democratic orders in the contemporary world."

Mandela was not always popular in some world capitals. The United States had placed him and other members of the African National Congress in 2008 on its terror list because of their militant fight against the apartheid regime.

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