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Nelson Mandela dies

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Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid crusader and former South African president, died Dec. 5 at 95. We’re bringing you live updates here.

mandela mourner

A well-wisher writes on a poster in the street outside Mandela’s old house in Soweto, Johannesburg. (Ben Curtis/AP)

TIMELINE: The life of Nelson Mandela

LIVE REACTION: Remembering Mandela

PHOTOS: An extraordinary life

The scene outside Mandela's house

Africa bureau chief Sudarsan Raghavan talked to WBUR from South Africa about the scene outside Mandela’s house in Johannesburg — and the prayers, songs and also some fears that are being voiced across the country.

Winding down live updates

We’re winding down our live updates here. For the latest news, stay with The Washington Post throughout the day and beyond as we continue to report on reactions to Mandela’s death, reflections on his life and more.

A high price for stumbling on HIV response

As the world remembers Nelson Mandela, The Post’s Craig Timberg discusses the former South African president’s hesitation to acknowledge the HIV epidemic spreading across Africa, which cost Mandela both politically and personally.

'The power of forgiveness'

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright honored Nelson Mandela on Friday by saying he taught the world the power of forgiveness.

“President Mandela was an activist, a prisoner of conscience, a political leader, a venerated statesman and he was, above all, a teacher,” Albright said. “He taught us that the power of forgiveness is greater than the power of hate.”

She added, “His presence on this earth will be sorely missed, but his lessons will endure in the hearts of millions.”

Albright made her comments at an awards ceremony in Washington, where former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received the Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize.

— Philip Rucker

Day of mourning in Cuba

A Cuban hangs a poster of Mandela and Fidel Castro. (Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images)

A Cuban hangs a poster of Mandela and Fidel Castro. (Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images)


Communist authorities in Havana ordered a national day of mourning for Mandela, calling him a “model revolutionary,” and broadcasting photos and videos of him embracing Fidel Castro during a visit to the island in 1991.

Mandela’s leftist roots made him a longtime sympathizer of Castro, and Mandela credited Cuba’s Cold War-era military interventions in Africa in the 1970s and 1980s as helping to defeat apartheid. Cuban troops fought directly against South African forces during the civil war in Angola, and Mandela said that news of Cuban battlefield victories reached him in his prison cell.

There was no immediate statement on his death from the ailing Castro, 87.

— Nick Miroff

Colin Powell discusses Mandela's position on the terror list

Former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell talked to the BBC’s Newshour about Mandela, sharing his experience at Mandela’s 1994 inauguration. He talked about the world leaders who were there, and waiting for Mandela’s arrival, “that magic moment which seemed to take forever.”

He also discussed Mandela’s position on the U.S. terror list.

“During those times when the ANC was bombing things and doing other violent acts, a case could be made that it was appropriate to put him on a terrorist list, and that’s what the United States did at that time,” he said. “But then things changed, as things often do in the world.”

Listen to the interview here:

Obamas traveling to South Africa next week

President Obama and his wife Michelle will travel to South Africa next week to honor Nelson Mandela, the White House said Friday morning.

“President Obama and the First Lady will go to South Africa next week to pay their respects to the memory of Nelson Mandela and to participate in memorial events,” said press secretary Jay Carney. “We’ll have further updates on timing and logistics as they become available.”

Mandela’s funeral is expected to be held Dec. 15, a week from Sunday. But there will be events honoring the former South African president and leader all week long. Obama has long been expected to travel to South Africa to honor Mandela, who he calls an inspiration and hero.

— Zachary Goldfarb

Syrian government and 'oppressors'

In a statement that was immediately met with derision from opposition activists and commentators, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is two and a half years into a civil war that began as a peaceful uprising against his dictatorial rule, on Friday said Mandela’s fight for freedom and justice should provide a lesson for the world’s oppressors.

“His history of struggle has become an inspiration to all the vulnerable peoples of the world, in the expectation that oppressors and aggressors will learn the lesson that in the end it is they who are the losers,” said a statement on the official Facebook page for the Syrian Arab Republic’s Presidency. Mandela would continue to be “a symbol of patience, resilience and liberation” after his death, it said.

— Loveday Morris

From feared to revered

The Post’s Steven Mufson, author of “Fighting Years: Black Resistance and the Struggle for a New South Africa,” explains how Nelson Mandela used his time in prison to shape the future of South African politics, and the consistent leadership he showed even before he was globally revered.

South African government sets up memorial page

The government of South Africa has established a page dedicated to Mandela, including information on the memorial service, funeral arrangements and more. The site includes speeches given by Mandela, videos of him and a message from President Jacob Zuma.

And the page links to a Facebook page for South Africa’s government, where people are invited to post condolences.

Iran to name a Tehran street after Mandela

Iran will name a street in Tehran after Mandela to honor him, according to IRNA, the country’s official news agency. The Tehran City Council will choose which street in the Iranian capital city will be named after Mandela, the report said.

This street will have quite a bit of company around the world. There are more than 120 streets, avenues, highways and other roadways named after Mandela, according to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.

Mandela's life and legacy

The Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan, in Johannesburg, talked about Mandela’s life and legacy in this video:

Mourning period in Egypt

Egyptian President Adly Mansour has declared a three-day mourning period for Mandela, according to the official state news agency.

Erin Cunningham reports that Mansour’s office issued a statement earlier, saying that Mandela “will remain in the hearts and minds of Egyptians” as a symbol of national struggle.

Rouhani's letter to Zuma

The South African Embassy in Tehran.(Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA)

The South African Embassy in Tehran.(Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA)

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, sent a letter to his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, on Friday, officially offering condolences from the Islamic republic on the passing of Nelson Mandela.

Contents of the letter were published on the Islamic Republic News Agency’s Web site.

“I was informed of about the demise of the former president of our friend country (ally,) South Africa, his eminence Nelson Mandela, to my great sorrow and deep grief,” Rouhani wrote.

“Nelson Mandela doubtlessly believed in freedom and equality of the human beings, not only in his country, but around the globe and never hesitated in this firm belief,” added Rouhani. “In this road that was abundant with ups and downs and filled with pain all along, including suffering homelessness, being away from home and family, and long periods of imprisonment, he gave meaning and spirit to the long road towards liberty gloriously.” 

— Jason Rezaian

Karzai's tribute to Mandela

In a video tribute, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Mandela’s death was a “great loss to South Africans and the whole of humanity.”

“Nelson Mandela has passed away, an icon of our time, for man’s dignity, equality and freedom, a selfless human being, who struggled not only for the black South Africans against Apartheid, but for the dignity of all of us,” Karzai said in the tribute. “History will throw a very kind light on him. Mandela deserves it.”

— Tim Craig

In China, swell of social media chatter

A man walks past the Embassy of South Africa in Beijing on Friday. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

A man walks past the Embassy of South Africa in Beijing on Friday. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

There has been a considerable surge in Mandela talk on social media networks in China, reports Simon Denyer, The Post’s Beijing bureau chief.

On Sina.com’s Weibo service, which is a platform similar to Twitter, the number of comments related to Mandela had topped 491,000 shortly before 10:30 p.m. (Beijing time) on Friday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his grief over Mandela’s passing, sending a message of condolence to South African President Jacob Zuma, according to Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

When news breaks during a film premiere

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, attend "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" in London on Thursday. (Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, attend “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” in London on Thursday. (Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The London premiere of a film about Mandela’s life, already a high-profile screening because Prince William and his wife, Catherine, were in the audience, took on a new dimension when news of Mandela’s death broke.

Mandela’s two youngest daughters were at the premiere of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” which stars Idris Elba and traces Mandela’s life from his time as a lawyer to his later years spent as a global statesman.

When news of Mandela’s death broke during the screening, his daughters asked that the film continue and left the theater, according to the Associated Press. The producer announced the news once the movie had ended and called for a moment of silence.

Prince William said the news was “extremely sad and tragic” in a brief statement on Thursday, saying that the movie reminded them about “what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was.”

The timing of this created some cognitive dissonance online, as Foreign Policy reports. Stories about Mandela’s passing lived side-by-side with commentary about what the royal couple was wearing to the screening.

Watch a trailer for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” here:

Books about Mandela

Looking for something good to read about Mandela? Bookish has assembled a list of good books about him, his life and his achievements. [via Ron Charles]

Gorbachev, Putin praise Mandela's life

World leaders continued to recall Mandela on Friday.

“I knew Nelson Mandela very well,” former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev told the Interfax news agency on Friday. “He was an amazing man, who lived a hard and long life. One-third of his life took place in very harsh conditions. He contributed a huge amount to the fight against the consequences of apartheid. He did a lot for mankind, and he will be remembered not only by the people of his country, but also by people worldwide.”

Gorbachev went on to say that Mandela set “a great example for thinking people.”

“He was an amazing, clever, and talented statesman,” Gorbachev said. “He told me many times that the perestroika in the U.S.S.R. did a lot to help his country get rid of apartheid.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a note of condolence to Jacob Zuma, the South African president, noting that “having endured difficult sufferings, Mandela remained faithful to the ideals of humanism and justice until the end of his life.”

Children recite Mandela's famous words

Mandela’s most famous speech was his courtroom address where he called free and equal society “an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Quartz asked children at Rosebank Primary School in Johannesburg to recite part of this speech:

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