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December 5, 2013

Nelson Mandela dies at 95

JOHANNESBURG — Nelson Mandela, the 95-year-old former South African president who closed the final chapter in South Africa's struggle to cast off white racist rule, has died. As South Africa's first black president, the ex-boxer, lawyer and prisoner No. 46664 paved the way to racial reconciliation with well-chosen gestures of forgiveness. South Africans celebrate his legacy and mourn their loss.

A colossus of the 20th century, Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison to topple apartheid with iron discipline, hardheaded realism and a common touch that endeared him to whites who had been conditioned to regard him as their bitter enemy. His death closes the final chapter in Africa's struggle to cast off white rule, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor. Rock concerts celebrated his birthday, Hollywood stars glorified him on screen, and his regal bearing, graying hair and raspy voice made him instantly recognizable across the globe.

 

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