Nelson Mandela has died at age 95, South African President Jacob Zuma announced Thursday.
Mandela guided South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy, as an icon of peace and reconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice around the world.
Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against white minority rule, Mandela emerged determined to use his prestige and charisma to bring down apartheid while avoiding a civil war.
“The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come,” Mandela said in his acceptance speech on becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
“We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation.”