Mandela dies at age 95
The tributes have been pouring in for Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who has died at the age of 95.
Prime Minister John Key expressed his sorrow in a statement and Labour leader David Cunliffe says the death of Mr Mandela, a Nobel peace laureate, will leave an enormous void.
“Nelson Mandela was an inspirational leader and a remarkable man,” Mr Key says.
Mr Key plans to attend the funeral with a delegation from New Zealand.
“In his time as president he helped South Africa come to terms with its past, and, through reconciliation, built the foundations for a stronger nation,” Mr Key says in a statement.
“On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express my sincere condolences to both his family and all South Africans,” he says.
Mr Cunliffe referred to Mr Mandela as one of his “life-long heroes”.
“My first ever political demonstration was an anti-apartheid march to free Nelson Mandela,” he says.
“The world is a poorer place for his passing and he will never be forgotten,” Mr Cunliffe says. “Our condolences go to his family and to the many who will be mourning with them today.”
South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement of Mandela’s death from the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday night.
Mr Mandela passed away at his Johannesburg home after a long illness. He was surrounded by his wife, Graça Machel and members of his family.
Mr Mandela was hospitalised on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.
"Our thoughts are with his friends, comrades and colleagues who fought alongside Mandiba," President Zuma says in a statement.
"This is the moment of our deepest sorrow,” he says. “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Yet what made Nelson Mandela great is precisely what made him.
“In him we saw so much of ourselves. Fellow South Africans, Nelson Mandela brought us together and it is together that we will bid him farewell," he says.
In 1993 the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr Mandela and then-president Frederik Willem de Klerk for their work in the peaceful termination of apartheid, and for laying the foundations for democratic South Africa.
In 1990 Mr Willem de Klerk decided to release Mr Mandela, leader of the liberation movement, from prison. He’d been incarcerated since 1963 and following the release, the two politicians worked together to bring an end to the policy of racial segregation.