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Flags to be flown at half-mast as Wakefield marks death of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela  visit to Leeds.30 April 2001.Pictured on the stage Nelson Mandela dances to the crowd during one of the performances from Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Nelson Mandela visit to Leeds.30 April 2001.Pictured on the stage Nelson Mandela dances to the crowd during one of the performances from Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Flags will be flown at half mast on Wakefield Council buildings as a mark of respect to Nelson Mandela.

Tributes from all over the world have been paid to the South African revolutionary and former president, who died on Thursday aged 95, following a lung infection.

Mr Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid protests, but is considered a hero for ending racial segregation in South Africa during his time as the country’s president.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Nelson Mandela was a giant of a man, standing head and shoulders above the crowd, a champion of that most basic of human rights - freedom.

“The world is already a poorer place without Nelson Mandela but also a far better place because of him.

“He personified the triumph of the human spirit and will live on through all he achieved in his tireless fight for justice and equality.

“Many tributes will be paid to him in the coming days and weeks. I know the people of this district will be at one with the millions round the world mourning his death.

“We will be sending our condolences to the people of South Africa who have come through so much to prove to the world why racism should never be tolerated.

“I invite the people of this district to sign the book of condolence at County Hall and make sure they play their own part in making sure the legacy of Nelson Mandela is always remembered.”

Ed Balls MP tweeted: “Seeing Nelson Mandela walking free is one of the great moments of my life - proving leadership and hope can triumph. Thank-you. RIP”

Mr Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, after a ban on the African National Congress was lifted.

Mr Mandela had been an ANC member since 1943, first as an activist, then as the founder and president of the ANC Youth League.

Shortly after his release Mr Mandela and his delegation formally agreed to the end of the armed struggle in South Africa.

And despite almost three decades in jail he never showed any bitterness or hatred towards those who practised apartheid.

He was was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected as South Africa’s first black president in May 1994, and led the nation’s transition from white-minority rule before retiring in the summer of 1999.

Mr Mandela was made an honorary freeman of Leeds during an official visit in 2001 in which he rededicated the city’s Mandela Garden, which first opened in 1983.

A book of condolence will be available to sign at County Hall, on Bond Street, until Friday, December 20.

 

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