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Artifact Date
December 2013
  • Civil Rights
  • Journalism
  • Politics
  • World History

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s widely admired former leader and a Nobel laureate, died on Dec. 5, 2013, at the age of 95. 

Mandela, a civil rights activist and black nationalist, spent 27 years in prison for political offenses before his release in 1990. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with then-President Frederik W. de Klerk — the man who released him — for their efforts to peacefully negotiate an end to four decades of white minority rule.  Mandela succeeded de Klerk in office, serving as the country's first black president from 1994 to 1999.

In a tribute to Mandela upon his death, South African President Jacob Zuma said: "Our nation has lost its greatest son; our people have lost a father."

View archived front pages from other events.

Front Pages Dec. 6, 2013

Mandela’s death appeared on front pages worldwide. He was praised internationally as a peacemaker, human rights activist and freedom fighter, and he drew tributes from people across the political spectrum. Coverage of his life included his time spent in prison for opposing dictators and noted that he had led to the transformation of his country.

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Front Pages Dec. 7

Front Pages Dec. 17 — Coverage of Mandela's Funeral

Mandela was given a state funeral in his home village of Qunu after 10 days of mourning.  About 4,500 people filled the domed tent where the services were held, including African and world leaders,  celebrities, and members of Mandela’s ruling African National Congress.  The U.S. delegation included President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  His legacy was celebrated in services held in other locations, often attended by hundreds who testified to the impact of Mandela’s activism at the local level.

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