Nelson Mandela 1918 - 2013

5 December 2013: Today we say farewell to a world icon – South African leader Nelson Mandela, who has died at the age of 95.

Passing of Nelson Mandela

We have all heard by now of the passing of Nelson Mandela. All of us have been touched in some way by his life. Nelson Mandela was a towering figure who played a pivotal role in the life of every South African and had a profound influence across Africa and indeed across the World. A champion of democracy, freedom and equality, Mr Mandela spent half a century campaigning against apartheid, the system which oppressed the black majority of the population in South Africa.

After spending 27 years in jail for his beliefs, he was released in 1990 and went on to help form a new multi-racial democracy. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and served as President of South Africa between 1994 and 1999.

Paul Polman has written to his wife, Mrs Graca Machel, to offer his condolences. In his letter he wrote: “The qualities of leadership that Nelson Mandela came to symbolise are needed more today than ever before... .... Nelson Mandela embodied a set of beliefs and values – of decency, justice, courage and respect – that transcended geographies, cultures and religions.”

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