By Ehi Ekhator
Nelson Mandela, the South Africa’s first black president and anti-aparthied icon has passed away, says president Zuma.
Mandela died at 95, he led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s after spending 27 years in prison.
He had lung infection and been receiving intense home-based medical care for the past three months in the hospital.
According to Mr. Zua on South AFrican national TV, he said Mandela departed and was completely at peace.
His words “Our nation has lost its greatest son,” Mr Zuma said.
Mr. Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate was one of the world most respected leader after he preached togetherness despite his 27 years imprisonment.
He had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004.
“What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves,” Mr Zuma said.
“Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to Mr Mandela, saying “a great light has gone out in the world”.
Earlier, the BBC’s Mike Wooldridge, outside Mr Mandela’s home in the Johannesburg suburb of Houghton, said there appeared to have been an unusually large family gathering.
Among those attending was family elder Bantu Holomisa,
A number of government vehicles were there during the evening as well, our correspondent says.
Since he was released from hospital, the South African presidency repeatedly described Mr Mandela’s condition as critical but stable.
Born in 1918, Nelson Mandela joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1943, as a law student.
He and other ANC leaders campaigned against apartheid (white-only rule).
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964, but was released in 1990 as South Africa began to move away from strict racial segregation.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected South Africa’s first black president in 1994. He stepped down after five years in office.
After leaving office, he became South Africa’s highest-profile ambassador, campaigning against HIV/Aids and helping to secure his country’s right to host the 2010 football World Cup.
He was also involved in peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in Africa and elsewhere.
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