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Americans Reflect on Passing of Mandela

  • Brian Padden

Across the United States, Americans are marking the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela with personal reflection and public tributes.

Visitors have been leaving flowers at the South African Embassy in Washington, creating a makeshift memorial in front of a statue of the anti-apartheid leader and former president.

“I think it’s very sad. He had a long hard life, but he did some wonderful things. So it’s a sad day for the world,” said Washington resident Priscilla Sabatilli.

The statue is a replica of one that stands outside the South African prison where Mandela spent 27 years of his life as a political prisoner.

In New York, commuters paused to remember the prisoner turned president, who negotiated a peaceful end to apartheid and urged forgiveness for the white government that imprisoned him.

“I think more the lesson that Mandela left for us is that we can have polar opposite viewpoints and still find a way to sort of end up where we need to be,” said Max Moondoc, a New York resident.

During his radio program in California, civil rights activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson remembered Mandela as a revered champion of human rights.

"People felt, we’re in the presence of a giant. We’re in the presence of a special person, someone who really is a gift to the world,” said Hutchinson.

Across America there are words of praise and quiet prayers at the passing of this international icon of peace and reconciliation.

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