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Live: Nelson Mandela death leaves South Africa in mourning

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The moment Tony Abbott learnt of Mandela's death

The Prime Minister was mid-way through an interview with Neil Mitchell when he heard of Nelson Mandela's passing.

That's all from our live coverage for now.

But many people will continue today to reflect on Nelson Mandela - a freedom fighter who emerged from decades in prison to lead a new South Africa, in the process becoming one of the most significant figures of the 20th century.

Among them is fellow Nobel prize winner, the South African born J.M. Coetzee. He has shared his thoughts with Fairfax.

Mandela's personal and political authority had its basis in his principled defence of armed resistance to apartheid and in the harsh punishment he suffered for that resistance. It was given further backbone by his aristocratic mien, which was not without a gracious common touch, and his old-fashioned education, which held before him Victorian ideals of personal integrity and devotion to public service.

You can find the rest of the Herald's coverage here:

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in Invictus
Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela in Invictus Photo:

Morgan Freeman recalls in Time magazine how he came to know Nelson Mandela, whom he played in the Clint Eastwood film Invictus.

"Madiba, as his friends called him, and I became friends back in the 1990s when, during a press conference, he was asked who he would want to portray him in a film. To my everlasting honour, he mentioned me, and thus began our 20-year relationship. I got to walk with him, talk with him, hold his hand and get to know one of the greatest men who ever lived. Nearly 20 years after our first meeting, my company Revelations had the unique pleasure of developing and producing the film Invictus, with me in the role of Mandela. Consistent with the true content of his character, his only comment after we first screened the movie for him was a humble, “Now perhaps people will remember me …”

The opening of the second day of the Ashes at the Adelaide Oval has been marked by a minute's silence for Nelson Mandela before the first session.

Another former Australian prime minister has paid tribute to Mandela’s long campaign and self-sacrifice for political freedom.

Bob Hawke also highlighted the "very proud moment" when he welcomed Mandela to Parliament House in 1990.

"He had travelled to Australia to thank our nation for the part we played in bringing about his release and the enormous reform in South Africa which ultimately resulted in president de Klerk dismantling apartheid. Upon his inauguration as president in 1994, at which I was present, he devoted himself to healing a nation that had suffered from centuries of racial discrimination and oppression. 

Nelson Mandela was one of the most remarkable leaders I have ever met and truly embodied the ideal of the brotherhood of man. His courage and character have been an inspiration to many, both within and beyond South Africa. It was an honour for me personally, and a matter of pride and distinction for the University of South Australia when Nelson Mandela accepted in 2001 the international patronage of the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Hawke Centre."

A scene from South Africa, where crowds have gathered outside Mandela's Johannesburg house to mourn the country's founding father.

A woman holding a candle and a rose cries outside the house of former South African president Nelson Mandela following ...
A woman holding a candle and a rose cries outside the house of former South African president Nelson Mandela following his death. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER JOE Photo: ALEXANDER JOE
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Victoria’s MPs will express their condolences at a special event for Mandela at Parliament House on Tuesday, Aisha Dow reports.

Premier Denis Napthine made the announcement on Friday morning, declaring the former South African leader “the greatest humanitarian leader of our time”.

“Mr Mandela was a transformative figure like no other,” Dr Napthine said.

“He fought tirelessly, despite extreme adversity and oppression, for equality and fairness and to build a stronger and more united South Africa.

"The thoughts and prayers of all Victorians are with his family and with all South Africans during this very sad time.”

Next week's New Yorker cover to pay tribute to Mandela, a towering figure of the 20th century.

The New York Times' Johannesburg bureau chief, Lydia Polgreen, is outside Mandela's former home in Soweto, where she says a small group are singing "Viva, Nelson Mandela, viva!"

U2 released a song called Ordinary Love in tribute to Nelson Mandela just weeks ago.

It is featured in the trailer for the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

You can check it out here.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is hugged by U2 lead singer Bono, at the Nelson Mandela AIDS Benefit ...
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is hugged by U2 lead singer Bono, at the Nelson Mandela AIDS Benefit Concert in 2003. 
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Victoria's opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee grew up in South Africa and said he had never forgotten one particular thing Mandela said.

"He said that South Africa is made of tribes," Mr Tee said.

"That stayed with me and inspired me my entire life, the need to reach out beyond my group.

"Whether it's me as a person or a government, I think that is the legacy he left me.

"He was a champion for South Africa and a role model for the rest of the world, that's why he is so special."

Nelson Mandela, while in the dock in at the 1964 Rivonia Trial facing the gallows for acts of sabotage against the apartheid government:

 ‘‘I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.’’

On becoming president in 1994:

‘‘Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.’’

On meeting the Spice Girls in 1997:

‘‘They are my heroes ... This is one of the greatest moments of my life.’’

Here are some other pieces on Nelson Mandela.

Australian journalist Neil McMahon observed the Mandela phenomenon up after his release from prison.

Nelson Mandela was a colossus whose time had to come, writes Vic Alhadeff.

Mandela showed magnanimity and humanity in accommodating his apartheid-era tormentors to rebuild the racially divided country.

Nobel prize winning author J.M. Coetzee writes: Mandela held his turbulent country together during dangerous years


Former US president George W Bush released the following statement.

"Laura and I join the people of South Africa and the world in celebrating the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. President Mandela was one of the great forces for freedom and equality of our time. He bore his burdens with dignity and grace, and our world is better off because of his example. This good man will be missed, but his contributions will live on forever. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathy to President Mandela’s family and to the citizens of the nation he loved"

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Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called Nelson Mandela "unarguably one of the greatest global figures of our time".

"Today we have lost a light of our world.

"In fractious and troubled times, Mandela led his nation out of the dark age of apartheid – not with a violent struggle, but with peace, compassion and a force of moral leadership.

"Mandela knew his country could never be healed with violence or vengeance. He suffered so his people could be free.

"Mandela was a true leader, a statesman, and the defining symbol of reconciliation."

Shorten said Mandela was an example to the world.

"We must live by that example.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his country, and all who looked to him in hope for a better world. We are better because of Mandela. May he rest in peace."

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, meets Zindzi Mandela, right, the daughter of former South African ...
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, meets Zindzi Mandela, right, the daughter of former South African President, Nelson Mandela, as they attend the Royal Film Performance of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. Photo: Chris Jackson

Prince William, who was attending the premiere of the film about Mandela's life when news of his death came through, said it was "extremely sad and tragic news".

"It's just reminded what an extraodinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was." 

The prince said his thoughts and prayers were with the Mandela family.

Greens leader Christine Milne.
Greens leader Christine Milne. Photo: Katherine Griffiths

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne has added her thoughts to the Nelson Mandela tributes.

“South Africa and the world will today mourn the loss but celebrate the life of the great leader, freedom fighter and president, Nelson Mandela.

“As a global symbol for peace, for freedom and for the struggle for liberation from suppression and violence, Nelson Mandela will live forever in the hearts and minds of Australians, just as he will for people across the globe.

“I had the immense privilege of being in the audience when Nelson Mandela addressed the World Parks Congress in 2004. I was humbled to be in the presence of one of the greatest and wisest leaders of the century.

“Mr Mandela’s message at the time was: ‘A sustainable future for humankind depends on a caring partnership with nature as much as anything else.’

“His passion for education was a great source of personal inspiration for me as a teacher and a parliamentarian – ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’"

Britain will mourn with Mandela's family, and the people of South Africa, David Cameron says. The British Prime Minister has just appeared before the press.

"I believe that his inspiration for the future will be every bit as powerful as the extraordinary things that he acheived in his remarkable life," he says.

You can read the full address from South African President Jacob Zuma here.

It starts "My fellow South Africans, Our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the founding president of our democratic nation, has departed."

And it ends with "Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika", which translates as God Bless Africa.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son.":  South Africa President Jacob Zuma announces the death of Nelson Mandela.
"Our nation has lost its greatest son.": South Africa President Jacob Zuma announces the death of Nelson Mandela. Photo: AP
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