Nelson Mandela - Live Blogs - Al Jazeera English

Nelson Mandela

World leaders gather as thousands of South Africans come out to remember the 95-year-old statesman, who died after a long battle with a lung infection.


    What now for the Rainbow Nation?

    As South Africans Celebrate The Life Of Nelson Mandela, We Examine His Legacy And Ask How Closely It Is Tied To The ANC.

  • Photo: Mumtaz Anwary 

    Al Jazeera viewer Mumtaz Anwary from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape province, met Nelson Mandela at his home in Qunu, the village where he grew up, on July 24, 2006.

    "I was deeply honoured to have met one of the greatest icons of our lifetime. Thank you so much Madiba for leaving behind a legacy of wisdom which we should all embrace and try to implement in our daily lives to create a more united society. Madiba, you will always be in our hearts. May your soul rest in peace."

  • People comfort each other outside the house of Mandela in Johannesburg [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters] 

  • Hamza Massengo from the Republic of Congo gathers with mourners outside Mandela's house in the Houghton Estates neighbourhood of Johannesburg [Reuters]

  • A mourner takes photos of a brick wall in the house of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, in the outskirts of Johannesburg [Reuters]

  •  Vilakazi Street in Soweto, where Mandela resided when he lived in the township [Reuters] 

  • President of the ANC Nelson Mandela reaches out to the crowd greeting him on Monday, Jan. 31, 1994 in Ikageng Stadium, a township just outside the western Transvaal city Potchefstroom [AP]

  • April 27, 1994. ANC leader Nelson Mandela casts his vote during South Africa's first all-race elections at Ohlange High School in Inanda, South Africa, 10 miles north of Durban [AP]

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama tour Robben Island, South Africa, June 30, 2013. Robben Island is a historic Apartheid-era prison that held black political prisoners including Nelson Mandela [AP]

    The White House says first lady Michelle Obama will attend Nelson Mandela's memorial on Tuesday in South Africa with President Barack Obama.
  • Al Jazeera's Azad Essa returns home to report on the passing of Mandela.
    Click here to read his blog.
  • Driving Madiba

    Nelson Mandela's former driver paid tribute on Saturday to the deceased former South Africa President at the Grand Parade, the very place he drove Mandela when he delivered his first speech as a free man more than 23 years ago.

    Roseberry Sonto has been credited with driving Mandela to freedom after Mandela's release from Victor Vester prison.

    Sonto was among a delegation of provincial African National Council (ANC) members that lead a wreath laying tribute to Mandela in the city. 

    While Sonto expressed his sadness at Mandela's passing, he also said he was relieved that Mandela is not suffering anymore.

    "Very sad indeed. I don't know what to say. We expected that the man is not immortal, but I think the weight of death is more than a man can imagine, but the old man is gone. He is resting in no more pains, no more worries. All I can say is that, go well Tata. You've done your bid in life. You are now that angel," said Sonto. [AP]

  •  Candles are placed infront of the image of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela, during a vigil by Palestinians and members of the African community
    in the Old City of Jerusalem. 

  • US religious groups to pay tribute to Mandela
    Leaders of various religions and denominations will gather in the US state of Nevada in memory of Nobel laureate and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela.

    Rajan Zed, president of  of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said the multi-faith service will include prayers and reflections by Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and  Baha’i leaders.
    "Mandela set a milestone for the world with his efforts in pluralism, common ground, equality, color-blindness and coexistence," he said. 
    The interfaith service will be held at the Reno Buddhist Center.

  • Church service at the Regina Mundi church in Soweto, Johannesburg. [Azad Essa/Al Jazeera 

  • People in South Africa are observing a day of "prayer and reflection" for late President Nelson Mandela. [Azad Essa / Al Jazeera]

  • Thami Gorati speaking to Al Jazeera's Azad Essa on what Mandela meant to him and South Africa.

  • Tebello Gorati, 31, " He [Mandela] united black and white,"

  • Agnes Khumalo, 38, "Anything with Mandela face they [people] are still buying,"

  • Agnes Khumalo: "Anything with Mandela face they [people] are still buying," 

  • Rugby 7s stars salute Mandela
    South African President Nelson Mandela celebrates South Africa's victory over New Zealand in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg. [Reuters]

    The world of rugby 7s united this weekend in support of South Africa's former President Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95.

    At the stadium that bears his name, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, all the participating teams gathered on the pitch together to pay tribute to Mandela. 

    The teams observed a powerful rendition of the South African national anthem before standing still for a moment's silence before South Africa's first match in the tournament, against Canada.

    South African captain Kyle Brown, whose side are one of the favourites for the tournament, round three of the HSBC Sevens World Series, said his team have been motivated by memories of Mandela.

    "We've spoken about it the whole day, the whole week, and its a very emotional weekend for, if not South Africa, then the entire world. There definitely are elements and undertones that we can use to drive us forward and, you know, just make us feel honoured and privileged to feel part of such a great nation," he said.

    Many recalled Mandela's central role in arguably South Africa's greatest sporting triumph -winning the 1995 rugby World Cup just one year after the multi-racial elections that ended decades of white-minority rule.

    Mandela then followed up with a political masterstroke, bridging the gulf between white and black by appearing in a dark green Springbok jersey, a sporting strip enmeshed in the then-entrenched culture of white supremacy.

    On his back was a number '6', the same as that of Springbok captain Francois Pienaar.
  • Racial integration still problem in S Africa

  • The National Memorial Service will be held at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday 10 December 2013 from 11:00. Due to the fact that not all mourners may be able to be accommodated at FNB Stadium, ‘overflow Stadiums’ have been arranged at Ellis Park, Orlando and Dobsonville Stadiums where the National Memorial Service will be broadcast live.

    Mourners must plan how to get to the National Memorial Service venues. No cars will be allowed at the FNB Stadium and there will be road closures around the venues. Metrorail, Rea Vaya, Metrobus and PUTCO will be running services to FNB, Orlando, Ellis Park and Dobsonville Stadiums.
    All transport is free.

    Visit and for details.
  • Fifty-nine foreign heads of state or government have said so far they will attend either the memorial ceremony or the state funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa in the coming week, a foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

    He said the final number of who would attend either Tuesday's memorial in Johannesburg or the funeral in Qunu next Sunday would be confirmed in due course.

  • A close family friend who visited Nelson Mandela in his last hours says he wasn't on life support, appeared to be calmly sleeping and that it was obvious he was "giving up'' in what would be his last struggle.

    Bantu Holomisa, who has known Mandela since his liberation from prison in 1990, told The Associated Press on Sunday that he had been called to Mandela's house by the family on Thursday because of Mandela's deteriorating condition.

    When he arrived, about 20 Mandela family members were gathered there.

    Holomisa said: "I've seen people who are on their last hours and I could sense that he is now giving up".

    Mandela died about two hours later at age 95.


  • We felt it important that we should have a day where all of us as South Africans can come together and pray for our first democratic president and reflect on his legacy. But it is also to pray for our nation ... to pray that we not forget some of the values he fought for ... Mandela distinguished himself for good things and good things only.

                   - President Jacob Zuma, speaking at the Bryanston Methodist Church in Johannesburg
  • Mandela was like moonlight in the dark night ... God sent us this man to
    show us the depths of the human heart, he sent us this man to show us
    despite what was going on at the time, light could shine ... He showed
    heights to which humanity can rise. Madiba (Mandela's clan name), in his
    life, laid the foundation. He paved the way for a better future. But
    cannot do it alone. He needs you, he needs me, he needs the world.

                - Reverend Sebastian J. Rossouw of Regina Mundi Catholic Church, Soweto.
  • "What helped the white people of South Africa was Mr. Mandela's attitude. He
    said let's forgive, and he forgave.
    That created a space for people to feel
    safe and change at a time when the expectation was that there 
    was going to be
    a war .
    .. May we as Christians in this Afrikaans church
    surprise the world by
    not responding with hate but with love and forgiveness. 
    Mandela completed the
    We thank God for this person in our history.'

            - Pastor Niekie Lamprecht of the Dutch Reformed Church, Pretoria East.

  • He was more than just an individual soul, he was the exposition of
    African spirit of generosity ... He's only a reference and a marker to
    better possibilities of our humanity.

            - Dean Michael Weeder of St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town.
  • Those of us who are battling to make ends meet every day and who had hope,
    when he was still around, everything will be OK. If the old man has 
    on, life will continue on, and God will be our God .
    .. Traditionally when a
    person passes we believe he hasn't left. He is going to be an observer 
    of the
    familial and community on a spiritual level although he is no longer 
    with us.
    So we have to abide by the rules and elders as if he's there.

            - Joshua Mzingelwa, leader of Morians Episcopal Apostolic Church in Qunu,

    Eastern Cape (Mandela's birthplace).
  • Palestinians mourned Nelson Mandela as their most loyal champion, lighting candles in special prayer services Sunday and holding his picture like a shield in confrontations with Israeli troops.

    But the death of the South African leader who famously said that "our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians'' also reminded many here of how far they are from establishing a state of their own.

    Palestinian activists have compared Mandela's struggle against apartheid to theirs against Israeli occupation - a parallel Israel rejects - and some increasingly look to South Africa for help in pressure campaigns against Israel.

    Many South Africans also equate the Israeli treatment of Palestinians with their former apartheid regime's abuse of blacks.


  • Former president Thabo Mbeki on Sunday challenged South Africa's leadership to ask if they are living up to Nelson Mandela's standards, in a pointed public challenge to his ANC comrades.

    Mbeki - who succeed Mandela as president in 1999 and was ultimately ousted by Jacob Zuma in a party coup - questioned whether current leaders were living up to Mandela's values.

    "I think to celebrate his life properly we need to ask ourselves a question about the quality of leadership," Mbeki told a prayer gathering at the Oxford Shul synagogue in Johannesburg.

    "To say: 'to what extent are we measuring up to the standard they (Nelson Mandela and his generation) set in terms of the quality of leadership?'"

    The leadership of the ruling African National Congress, previously headed by Mandela and Mbeki, has come under increasing fire over claims of nepotism and corruption.

    The ANC under Zuma is preparing for national elections next year even as he faces accusations of using $20 million worth of taxpayer money on upgrading his private residence.

  • Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has declared three days of national mourning to commemorate the former South African leader. Al jazeera's Yvonne Ndege sat down and spoke to President Jonathan about Nelson Mandela's legacy. 

    Nigeria's president discusses Mandela's legacy
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

  • More than 70 world leaders expected for Mandela memorial, funeral

    More than 70 heads of state and government are expected in South Africa this week to attend funeral events for former president Nelson Mandela, with most due to attend a huge memorial service in Johannesburg on Tuesday, officials said.

    "The whole world is coming to South Africa," foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said.

    After what has been billed as one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in recent history, only a handful of dignitaries would go to Sunday's state burial in Mandela's ancestral home of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, he added.

    "We're trying to keep that to the family," Monyela told a local radio station. [Reuters]
  • Afzal Moolla (R) and Nelson Mandela

    Afzal Moolla, son of stalwart and anti-apartheid activist, Moosa "Mosie" Moolla passed along this poem dedicated to Nelson Mandela:


    ( 1918 - 2013 )

    Madiba, you are resting now.

    Madiba, you have joined the ancestors.

    Madiba, you are with your comrades.

    Madiba, you are with us.

    Madiba, you are within us.

    Madiba, you live!

    Madiba lives!

    He lives!

    He lives!

    He lives ...

  • Afzal Moolla (L), Nelson Mandela, and Moosa "Mosie" Moolla (R)

  • Live Stream of the South African parliament tribute to Nelson Mandela

    South Africa's parliament members are set to hold a special session in honor of the late president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. 

    The members will also observe a minute of silence.

    To watch the event online please click here:

    The event will start within the next one hour and 15 minutes.
  • Nardus Engelbrecht post this on Instagram: #capetown #southafrica #madiba #mandela #parliament

    by Nardus Engelbrecht via Instagram edited by Jillian Kestler-D'Amours 12/9/2013 11:16:57 AM
  • South Africa sets up call centre for Mandela events

    The South African government has established an information call centre to assist the public with any enquiries related to the funeral of former President Nelson Mandela. 

    Contact details of the information centre: (012) 473 0114 or (012) 473 0389

    Details can also be accessed on
  • Al Jazeera correspondent Azad Essa talks to Julius Malema about his memories of the iconic anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela:

  • Al Jazeera correspondent Azad Essa talks to Julius Malema, former president of the African National Congress Youth League, about what he thinks should be done to preserve the legacy of Nelson Mandela:

    We need to continuously reflect whether we sold out Madiba’s legacy, or we lived
    up to it.

  • iPad Mandela Tribute promo
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

  • Photo: Reuters 

    Single candle lit in Mandela’s prison cell

    A single candle has been lit in Nelson Mandela's prison cell on Robben Island, where he spent the harshest of his 27 years in apartheid jails.

    The island is now a museum and major tourist site with visitors able to see the 2.5- metre by 2.1-metre cell where Mandela spent 18 years.

    The candle was lit after Mandela's death on Thursday and will be removed after his burial on Sunday.

    Museum director Sibongiseni Mkhize said it symbolised the triumph of the human spirit.

    “On Robben Island, the conditions were very harsh but he and the other political prisoners triumphed over adversity.”

    Mkhize said staff at the museum, who include former political prisoners turned tour guides, have felt his loss heavily.

    “Everyone is very sad because most of my colleagues had personal relationships or connections with him, because from time to time he used to visit Robben Island when he still had the energy to do so," Mkhize said.

    Flowers could be laid at the ferry departure point for Robben Island in Cape Town as well as in the courtyard where prisoners once broke stones, and  condolence books were also available.

    The museum will hold a memorial for Mandela on Tuesday morning. — AFP
    Photo: Getty Images 

  • Q and A: South Africa's Julius Malema

    Excerpt from the Al Jazeera interview by  Azad Essa with the populist politician about his thoughts on Mandela's life and death: 

    passing away is going to serve as an education of the younger generation,
    particularly of where we come from and where we are heading to and whether what
    Madiba stood for has been achieved.

    Listen to the in-depth interview: 

    Read Al Jazeera In Depth: 

  •  Ire at action over Mandela T-shirts

    Turkey's sports minister has lashed out on at moves by the football authorities to punish two top Ivorian club players for paying homage to Nelson Mandela.

    Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue have been threatened with disciplinary action by the Turkish Football Federation for violating a ban on wearing  political slogans on T-shirts - triggering outrage on Twitter.

    Turkish Sports Minister Suat Kilic called on the federation to review its decision against the two star players with Istanbul giant Galatasaray.

    "I don't find it a healthy choice in terms of Turkey's image abroad and the  two footballers' expression," he said on Monday. 

    Drogba removed his club shirt after a match on Friday against SB Elazigspor to reveal a T-shirt that read, "Thank You Madiba", using Mandela's clan name.

    Eboue's tribute | Photo: AFP 
    Teammate Eboue also honoured the South African anti-apartheid hero who died on Thursday with a T-shirt that said "Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela".

    The federation defended its decision to summon the two players, saying they had not sought permission for their action.

    But the move caused fury among scores of Twitter users, with some accusing the body of "fascism".



    The dignitaries listed in the official programme highlights the scale of the occasion 

    SA steps up security for Mandela's funeral 

    South African security forces have had only days to implement a rough plan for Nelson Mandela's grand funeral, based partly on blueprints of past major events like the 2010 World Cup final.

    South Africa's first black president had been seriously ill for some time, but his death still posed a major challenge as a small army of world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities asked to attend the state send-off.

    Security preparations which would normally take months for the likes of US President Barack Obama had to be compressed into a few days.

    There is also the issue of hundreds of thousands of South Africans who want to say a final farewell to the man who led them out of the apartheid era, so the security authorities have largely relied on the experience they gained during the World Cup nearly four years ago.

    About 80,000 people will attend a memorial service Tuesday at the Soweto  stadium that hosted the 2010 final.

    Mandela's body will then lie in state for three days in Pretoria before being taken for burial Sunday in his rural boyhood home of Qunu.

    Areas around all three venues will be subjected to different levels of security lockdown, with flight restrictions in force around Mthatha, the nearest airport to Qunu.

    Analyst Johan Burger from the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, said a basic security blueprint had existed for some time.

    "Now they have to fill in the numbers and the names and allocate the tasks to the specific commanders," Burger said.

    Many of the more than 90 world leaders attending the various events will bring their own security teams, said Solomon Makgale, spokesman for the National Joint Operational Centre (Natjoints), which co-ordinates between the police, military and intelligence agencies.

    "All of them always come with their security detail, then they work with us," he said.

    Security forces' leave has been cancelled until after Sunday's burial and about 11,000 soldiers have been deployed to back up police operations.

    Some 3,000 marshalls will be engaged in crowd control at the Soweto stadium, which will be surrounded by three concentric security circles of increasing scrutiny, with vehicle access severely restricted.

    The same system will apply for Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings, the seat of government in Pretoria where he was inaugurated 19 years 

    The government has sought to discourage foreign leaders from attending the burial in Qunu, citing its rural location, lack of amenities and limited space.

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