Nelson Mandela dies aged 95

South African President Jacob Zuma announces the death of Mandela and confirms he will be given a state funeral

Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s most revered statesmen, who led the struggle against South African apartheid, has died aged 95.


Jailed for 27 years, he became the country’s first black president following his release in 1990.

Mr Mandela – who has struggled with a series of health problems in recent years – retired from public life in 2004 aged 85 to spend more time in “quiet reflection”.

Born in 1918 in a small village in the eastern Cape of South Africa, he was a leading figure in the African National Congres (ANC) which was outlawed in 1960, forcing Mandela underground.

He was eventually arrested and charged with sabotage and attempting to violently overthrow the government and was sentenced to life in prison in the winter of 1964.

He remained in prison on Robben Island for 18 years before being transferred to Pollsmoor Prison on the mainland in 1982. He was eventually released in 1990 following international lobbying and amid increasing civil strife in the country.

In 1994 he negotiated an end to apartheid with then President FW de Klerk before leading the ANC to power, becoming South Africa’s first black president.

Since stepping down as president in 1999, Mr Mandela has campaigned against HIV/Aids and helped to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup.

During that year he also allowed BBC1’s Ground Force team to give his garden a makeover for the show’s millennium special.

The programme’s three presenters – Alan Titchmarsh, Tommy Walsh and Charlie Dimmock – travelled to Mandela’s home in Qunu, in the country’s Eastern Cape province for create one of the UK TV’s landmark events.

Mandela was married three times and fathered six children. He leaves behind his wife Graca Machel, his surviving children and 17 grandchildren.