Nelson Mandela, one of the Twentieth Century’s most beloved and respected men, died Thursday at his home. He was 95. South African president Jacob Zuma broke the news of Mandela’s death to his countrymen (many of whom knew Mandela simply as Madiba), saying, “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
In a statement, President Barack Obama highlighted Mandela’s influence on the entire world, saying, “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth.
He no longer belongs to us. He belongs with the ages.” Born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo, Mandela would go on to help form the youth league of the African National Congress and began his lifelong commitment to end racial oppression and apartheid. Imprisoned for 27 years, he was set free in 1990 and four years later became the nation’s first black president.
One of Mandela’s many memorable quotes was one of his last: “I would like to be remembered not as anyone unique or special, but as part of a great team in this country that has struggled for many years, for decades and even centuries. The greatest glory of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.”