Mandela: Flags to fly at half-mast in SA till after funeral

Pretoria, South Africa  (PANA) - With South Africa in the moment of its deepest sorrow following the death of its first black President Nelson Mandela Thursday, all the country's flags are to fly at half-mast till after his funeral.

''I have ordered that all flags of the Republic of South Africa be lowered to half-mast from tomorrow, 6 December, and to remain at half-mast until after the funeral,'' President Jacob Zuma said in an address to the nation to announce the death of the anti-apartheid activist and global icon, shortly after he passed on.

He also announced that the man fondly called Madiba, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, would be accorded a state funeral.

According to the President, Mandela, who had been receiving intensive home-based medical care since he was discharged from hospital after three months 1 Sept., died at 20h50 at his Johannesburg home on Thursday (5Dec).

President Zuma said Mandela passed on ''peacefully in the company of his family'' and that he is now resting, now at peace.

''Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,'' he said.

President Zuma paid tribute to Mandela, who spent all of 27 years in prison because of his dogged fight to dismantle the obnoxious system of apartheid in his homeland.

''His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love,'' the President said.

President Zuma also condoled with Mandela's family, saying ''to them we owe a debt of gratitude'',  as well as the entire people of South Africa, ''who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood''.

He exhorted South Africans to ''recall the values for which Madiba fought'', ''reaffirm his vision of a society in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another'' and ''commit ourselves to strive together – sparing neither strength nor courage – to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa''.

PANA reports that the presidency's official website also honoured the departed leader.

Visitors to the site in the immediate aftermath of Mandela's death were confronted with the picture of a smiling Mandela, with one of his timeless quotes that reads: ''What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.''
-0- PANA SEG 6Dec2013

06 december 2013 00:27:05

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