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Nelson Mandela, 1918 – 2013

Nelson Mandela, who fought to end apartheid in South Africa and survived 27 years in prison to become the nation’s first black president, died Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. Mourned as one of the world’s greatest statesmen, revolutionaries and inspirational leaders, Mandela was 95.

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PRETORIA, South Africa – Nelson Mandela’s coffin, draped in a South African flag, was carried up the steps of the Union Buildings Wednesday by eight warrant officers representing the armed forces, underscoring the somber reality of his death.

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South African President Jacob Zuma pays his respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela during the lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Second right is Mandela’s widow Graca Machel and right, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s former wife. (Credit: AP Photo/Marco Longari, Pool)

Thin crowds lined the road as his coffin passed, led by a phalanx of motorcycle police with their headlights on, many of them moved to tears.

The mood was a departure from the joyful celebrations of recent days, which have marked his contributions as a freedom fighter and peacemaker.

Chantell Rooibadjie, 36, sprinted from her house to the road in her pajamas to see the motorcade, as it passed.

Click here to read the full story on LATimes.com.

JOHANNESBURG — Presidents and prime ministers, celebrities and royals joined tens of thousands of South Africans to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, in a memorial service celebrating a man seen as a global symbol of reconciliation.

In what has been billed as one of the largest gatherings of global leaders in recent history, world leaders from U.S. President Barack Obama to Cuba’s Raul Castro gathered alongside street sweepers, actors and religious figures to pay tribute to the revered statesman who died last Thursday, aged 95.

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President Barack Obama gives a tribute to Nelson Mandela at his public memorial on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

Despite the pouring rain, the atmosphere inside Johannesburg ‘s FNB stadium was celebratory, with people dancing, blowing vuvuzela plastic horns and singing songs from the anti-apartheid struggle.

Around them, huge poster pictures of Mandela hung inside the stadium.

Many people carried banners honoring “Madiba,” Mandela’s traditional clan name. Others were draped in materials covered with his face or the green, yellow, black, red and blue colors of the South African flag.

Some had skipped work and lined up for hours to secure seats so that they could pay their respects at the stadium where Mandela delivered his first major speech after his release from 27 years in prison.

The four-hour service, coinciding with U.N. Human Rights Day, was the centerpiece of a week of mourning and was expected to bring much of South Africa to a stop.

It began with the national anthem before South Africa’s presidents — past and present — were introduced. There was a loud cheer from the crowd for F.W. de Klerk, the last leader of white South Africa, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela for helping to end apartheid.

The joyous cries died down as speeches from Mandela’s family and friends, members of the African National Congress, as well as a fellow Robben Island prison inmate, began.

Anguished faces listened quietly as a sorrowful chant to “Tata Madiba” filled the air. “Tata” means “father” in Mandela’s Xhosa tribe.

‘The world has lost a beloved friend and mentor’

Mandela’s gift for uniting foes across political and racial divides was still evident at the service.

Walking up the stairs onto the stage to deliver his speech, Obama shook hands with Castro, an unprecedented gesture between the leaders of two nations that have been at loggerheads for more than half a century.

Obama, who like Mandela was his nation’s first black president, has cited Mandela as his own inspiration for entering politics.

“To the people of South Africa — people of every race and every walk of life — the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us,” he said, calling him a “giant of history.”

To roaring applause, he said Mandela’s death should prompt self-reflection.

“With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask: How well have I applied his lessons in my own life?” Obama said.

“It is a question I ask myself — as a man and as a president. We know that like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation. As was true here, it took sacrifice — the sacrifices of countless people, known and unknown — to see the dawn of a new day.”

The presidents of Brazil, Namibia, India, Cuba and South Africa were designated speakers.

“South Africa has lost a hero, they have lost a father. The world has lost a beloved friend and mentor,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said to loud cheers.

“Nelson Mandela was more than one of the greatest leaders of our time, he was one of the greatest teachers. And he taught by example.”

The stadium, which can seat around 90,000 people, was not full, and speeches were hard to hear at times.

In the keynote speech, South African President Jacob Zuma hailed Mandela as a global icon.

“Everyone has had a Mandela moment when this world icon has touched their lives,” he said.

“There is no one like Madiba. He was one of a kind.”

Presidents and celebrities

Foreign guests included British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Prince of Wales, French President Francois Hollande and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and members of The Elders, a group of retired statesmen founded by Mandela and others, were also in attendance, including former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

The crowds cheered loudly and clapped as a huge screen showed famous faces.

The world of entertainment also was well represented, with South African actress Charlize Theron and U2′s Bono in attendance. Celebrity guests also included Oprah Winfrey and Naomi Campbell.

Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, and his former wife Winnie Mandela embraced and kissed as they arrived.

Paying tribute to his uncle, Gen. Thanduxolo Mandela gave thanks for the outpouring of respect from around the world.

“This universal show of unity is a true reflection of all that Madiba stood for — peace, justice, unity of all mankind,” he said.

“Let us pledge to keep Madiba’s dream alive.”

Tight security

With 91 heads of state attending, security was tight.

Working off plans developed for years in secret, the South African government planned to use an elite military task force, sniper teams and canine teams to help secure the stadium, CNN’s Arwa Damon reported Monday. In addition, helicopters and military jets frequently fly overhead.

“Should anybody, anything dare to disturb or disrupt this period of mourning and finally taking and accompanying the former president to his last resting place, then that person will be dealt with,” Brig. Gen. Xolani Mabanga said Monday.

South African officials wouldn’t give details about their security plans — how many police officers, how many troops, precautions to keep the stadium weapons- and explosives-free.

“But we can assure that all necessary steps have been taken, and that is why the leadership of the world and former leaders of the world have confidence to come to our country at this time to share with us this moment,” said Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane.

U.S. officials said they were satisfied with security arrangements.

The event rivaled other significant state funerals in recent decades, such as that of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965 and the 2008 funeral of Pope John Paul II, which attracted some 2 million people to Rome — among them four kings, five queens, at least 70 presidents and prime ministers and the leaders of 14 other faiths.

Security was also stepped up outside Mandela’s home, where crowds showed up with umbrellas to show their appreciation for a man they said represented unity. Some even enjoyed the rain, jumping into puddles.

“We want to respect our father of the nation, our father of the country. That is why we left work to pay that respect to him,” one South African told CNN.

State funeral on Sunday

While Tuesday’s memorial is the first major event honoring Mandela since his death, it won’t be the last.

A state funeral will be held Sunday in Mandela’s ancestral hometown of Qunu in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province.

Crews worked overtime Monday to prepare the stadium for the service.

The government set up overflow locations at stadiums and other facilities throughout the country.

With private vehicles banned from the area around the stadium, the government pressed buses from around the country into service and stepped up train service to move the crowds.

In Soweto township, where Mandela lived before he was imprisoned, people waited for three hours for buses to take them to the stadium. Unfazed by the wait, they sang and danced.

Out of the public eye, friends who had not seen each other in years have been coming together with Mandela’s family in his home, said Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s longtime personal assistant.

Mandela called la Grange his “rock,” even though she seemed an unlikely confidante. She was a white Afrikaner and an employee of the former apartheid government.

In her first interview since Mandela’s death, she described the mood in his home to CNN’s Robyn Curnow on Monday.

“Obviously there’s sadness in the house,” she said, but also, “People are celebrating Madiba’s life. They are grateful.”

CNN’s Michael Pearson, Athena Jones, Holly Yan, Chris Cuomo, Kim Norgaard, Robin Curnow, Arwa Damon and David McKenzie contributed to this report.

Arriving on stage at FNB stadium in Johannesburg to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama shook hands with dozens of other world leaders, pausing briefly to grasp the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro.

It was a moment of high symbolism. More than 50 years after the Cuban Revolution, the United States and Cuba still do not have diplomatic relations. The President has eased some of the economic embargo and travel restrictions that the administration of President George W. Bush strongly enforced, but relations still are tense. Cuba continues to imprison an American citizen, Alan Gross, who was arrested in 2009 on charges of attempting to destabilize the Cuban government.

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President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shake hands before Obama gives his tribute to Nelson Mandela at his memorial on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. (Credit: Pool)

Obama knew, of course, that Castro would be on stage. But refusing to shake Castro’s hand would not have been in keeping with Mandela’s legacy of reconciliation. And it was not the first handshake between American-Cuban leaders. In 2000, at the United Nations, then-President Bill Clinton shook hands with Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, its first revolutionary president, and Raul’s brother.

Obama says he wants to improve relations with Cuba, but disagreements over human rights violations and other issues continue to keep the countries apart.

The handshake came before Obama’s speech, in which he made remarks about reconciliation.

“It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well — (applause) — to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion and generosity and truth,” Obama said.

The President also made sure to include a comment about freedom, which seemed directly aimed at dictatorial regimes.

“There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people,” he said. “And there are too many of us on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.”

CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, however, recalls a different story at the inauguration of Mandela in 1994, when Vice President Al Gore went out of his way–ducking behind aides, through doors–to avoid a greeting with Fidel Castro.

“But an inauguration is very different from a memorial service,” King added on CNN’s “New Day.” “Raul Castro was right there. I would say the President of the United States really didn’t have much of a choice.”

Had he lingered a long time, King said, Obama might have started a bigger backlash than the one he’ll likely receive.

“But make no doubt about it…somebody will decide that was a horrible thing,” King continued. “I think the President was showing respect for the moment.”

Word of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s death Thursday sparked an outpouring of responses and personal recollections from around the world. Here are some of them:

African figures

South African President Jacob Zuma

“Our thoughts are with the South African people, who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nation. Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause. This is the moment of our deepest sorrow. Our nation has lost its greatest son.”

Mandla Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela

“All that I can do is thank God that I had a grandfather who loved and guided all of us in the family. The best lesson that he taught all of us was the need for us to be prepared to be of service to our people. … We are now preparing to celebrate his contribution to this country, to the world and to our family. Celebrating his long life is the best accolade we can give him.”

South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“My message to my fellow South Africans — over the past 24 years, Madiba taught us how to come together and how to believe in ourselves and each other, a unifier from the moment he walked out of prison. He taught us extraordinarily practical lessons about forgiveness and compassion and reconciliation.”

Former South African President F.W. de Klerk

“Nelson Mandela’s biggest legacy was his commitment to reconciliation, was his remarkable lack of bitterness and the way in which he did not only talk about reconciliation but he made reconciliation happen in South Africa. He was a remarkable man. … There was an immediate, I would say, a spark between the two of us and notwithstanding the many spats we had later, I always respected him and I always liked him as a person.

“He was a magnanimous person, he was a compassionate person; he was not only a man of vision, he was not only a great leader, but he was also a very human, human man.”

Tokyo Sexwale, who was imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island

“Nelson Mandela demonstrated that leadership is not about power, but on the contrary, about honor. That is what we learned from Nelson Mandela during the dark days with him on Robben Island. Today he is seen as an icon in the world, whose teachings, principles and values need to be embraced by all. He was embraced even by even white wardens, his own jailers, because he demonstrated that through the power of dialogue … people on different sides, former enemies, can come together. That’s how we in South Africa were able to resolve our intractable problems created by the racist system of apartheid.

“My cell was only about 2-3 meters away from his cell. His cell was small, but it contained a very formidable and larger-than-life figure.”

Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

“Nelson Mandela impacted the lives of people in every corner of the world. All of Africa will mourn the loss of a true African hero, statesman and elder.

“He was an inspiration and beacon of hope to people across the globe who are fighting for justice and peace in the world.”

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An image of Nelson Mandela is projected onto a screen during a memorial at First A.M.E. Church in South Los Angeles on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. (Credit: KTLA)

World figures

U.S. President Barack Obama

“My very first political action, the first thing I ever did that involved an issue or policy or politics was a protest against apartheid. I would study his words and his writings, the day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears. And like so many around the globe, I cannot imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set. And so, as long as I live, I will do my best to do what I can to learn from him.”

U.N. Security Council

“President Nelson Mandela will forever be remembered as someone who gave up so much of his life in the struggle for freedom, so that millions could have a brighter future.”

Pope Francis

“Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late president’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations.”

Dalai Lama

“He was a man of courage, principle and unquestionable integrity, a great human being, someone of whom we can truly say, ‘He lived a meaningful life.’ I pray for him and offer my heartfelt condolences to you, the members of your family and the entire people of South Africa.”

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi

“I would like to express my extreme grief at the passing away of a man who stood for human rights and equality in this world. He made us all understand that nobody should be penalized for the color of his skin, for the circumstances in which he was born. He also made us understand that we can change the world — we can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this reason, I would like to pay tribute to him as a great human being who raised the standard of humanity.”

Malala Yousafzai, teenage Pakistani education activist

“Nelson Mandela is physically separated from us, but his soul and spirit will never die. He belongs to the whole world because he is an icon of equality, freedom and love, the values we need all the time everywhere. His long, long struggle is a great demonstration of humanity. I have learned so much from Nelson Mandela, and he has been my leader. He is a perpetual inspiration for me and millions of others around the world.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II

“The Queen was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Mandela last night. He worked tirelessly for the good of his country, and his legacy is the peaceful South Africa we see today.

“Her Majesty remembers with great warmth her meetings with Mr. Mandela and sends her sincere condolences to his family and the people of South Africa at this very sad time.”

Mary Robinson, former Irish president and member of ‘The Elders’

“It’s really extraordinary that the thoughts of the world are on one man, that most people who feel very acutely about it haven’t met, and yet they know that he was an extraordinary man — and I hope that we will think more about what is the compelling nature of our sense that this man was the best of us. And he was, because he did represent those values. He also was great fun, he had wonderful comic timing.”

French President Francois Hollande

“Nelson Mandela’s message will not fade away, it will continue to inspire those who fight for freedom and give confidence to the people who defend just and universal causes.

“Nelson Mandela has been an exceptional resistor and a magnificent victor. He showed that the human will can not only break chains but use energy to successfully build a common destiny.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“Nelson Mandela was among the greatest figures of our time. He was the father of his country, a man of vision and a freedom fighter who disavowed violence. He set a personal example for his country during the long years in which he was imprisoned. He was never haughty. He worked to heal rifts within South African society and succeeded in preventing outbreaks of racial hatred.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

“With a heavy heart, we say goodbye to Nelson Mandela. Surely, his legacy will remain a source of inspiration and courage for all people.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

“A giant among men has passed away. This is as much India’s loss as South Africa’s. He was a true Gandhian. His life and work will remain a source of eternal inspiration for generations to come.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

“His name will always be associated with the peaceful transition from the iniquitous apartheid regime to democracy and the rule of law. And not only that — Nelson Mandela symbolizes the fight against inequality and racism, the struggle to conquer hatred and, in short, to bring about a better world. We have an obligation to uphold his legacy.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“I am very sad for Mandela’s death. Things that Mandela did laid a great mark not only to the people living in South Africa but on the whole world. The honorable struggle for his people will always be remembered in respect for centuries.”

American figures

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

“Madiba’s ‘long walk to freedom’ gave new meaning to courage, character, forgiveness, and human dignity. Now that his long walk has ended, the example he set for all humanity lives on. He will be remembered as a pioneer for peace. There are some truly brave people in this world whom you meet and you’re forever changed for the experience. … We had the honor of sitting with Mandela over the Thanksgiving holidays of 2007. I was struck by how warm, open, and serene he was.”

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton

“Today the world has lost one of its most important leaders and one of its finest human beings. And Hillary, Chelsea and I have lost a true friend. … We will remember him as a man of uncommon grace and compassion, for whom abandoning bitterness and embracing adversaries was not just a political strategy but a way of life.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Clinton

“Nelson Mandela was a champion for justice & human dignity, with unmatched grace. I’ll remember him as Madiba, truly an unconquerable soul.”

Retired Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state

“I knew him. I had dinner with him. I had conversations with him, and what always struck me was his humbleness. He was a humble, gentle, warm person, even though he was a fighter on the military stage as well as the political stage. … He approached everybody he met as a fellow human being and equal to him, and that’s what I remember.”

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

“His passion for freedom and justice created new hope for generations of oppressed people worldwide, and because of him, South Africa is today one of the world’s leading democracies. In recent years, I was gratified to be able to work with him through The Elders to encourage resolution of conflicts and advance social justice and human rights in many nations.”

First lady Michelle Obama

“We will forever draw strength and inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary example of moral courage, kindness, and humility.”

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel of New York

“African-Americans have really been denied what most Americans enjoy. And that is their history, from where they came from. Not only were our names taken away, our culture, our songs, our history, our language, but Africans were demonized. When I was a kid, the worst thing you could do was call anyone an African.

“But when Nelson Mandela came on the scene, where every black kid could say, ‘Gee mom, that great guy looks just like me, doesn’t he?’ He has given to African-Americans something that you can’t get out of churches and you couldn’t get out of schools. He gave us an identity to know. When God made him, and made us to look like him, he was thinking about all of us. And so I don’t know what it takes for God to pick up a saint, but I’ll tell you one thing, he’d win in any election for sainthood, all over the world.”

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

“President Mandela was an activist, a prisoner of conscience, a political leader, and a venerated statesman but he was, above all, a teacher. … Mandela’s strength as a teacher is that he not only advised us what to do, he showed us how. Personally, I will treasure the memory of our meetings, the directness of his talk, the warmth of his smile, and the depth of his commitment to the economic and social well-being of his people.”

Celebrities

Oprah Winfrey, media entrepreneur, talk show host, actress

“One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you’ve ever heard and more — humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all.”

Boxing great Muhammad Ali

“What I will remember most about Mr. Mandela is that he was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge. He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale.”

Peter Gabriel, musician and humanitarian activist

“It’s a really sad day for us, and you know we’re going to miss him enormously. But he’s left a hell of a legacy. … He’s really a master lesson in nonviolent struggle. He came from a violent struggle because he didn’t see any alternative. But if you follow where he led, follow his example, then you know, you look at any place like the Middle East for instance, and you dream of a leader with that type of courage and big heart.”

Harry Belafonte, singer, actor and social activist

“His wisdom and goodness were the brightest stars in our moral galaxy. His courage inspired all who struggled for justice. His vision gave sight to those who otherwise might have been blinded by hate. His truth will live forever.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former California governor and actor

“I will never forget the time I spent with President Mandela. … He told me about his struggles, his time in captivity, his persecution and oppression. Most people would have had nothing in their heart but revenge, but all President Mandela had was forgiveness. He is the definition of serving a cause greater than self. He single-handedly reunited his nation, because he had a vision of the future that should inspire all of us.”

Dennis Haysbert, actor

“Portraying Nelson Mandela, in the film ‘Goodbye Bafana,’ was a defining moment in my life and my career. We as a society have been blessed to live in a time that Nelson Mandela has lived, loved, and led. What he has done for his country, his countrymen, and everyone on this planet may not be achieved again … ever.”

U2′s Bono

“In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job. Mandela played with the highest stakes. He put his family, his country, his time, his life on the line, and he won most of these contests. Stubborn til the end for all the right reasons, it felt like he very nearly outstared his maker. Today, finally, he blinked. And some of us cry, knowing our eyes were opened to so much because of him.”

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group Ltd.

“He had a wicked sense of humor, a twinkle in his eye. He would burst into singing and dancing. And yet at the same time, there was a serious side to him. He set up a wonderful organization called The Elders in order for his legacy to live on. He took time and trouble appointing six wonderful men and women … and he asked them to continue his legacy after he’d gone.”

Morgan Freeman, actor

“Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve — a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go.”

Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls basketball player

“I wish they would pause everything so the whole world can give thanks.”

Idris Elba, who plays Nelson Mandela in new biopic ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

“What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Naomie Harris, who plays Winnie Mandela in ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

“Today South Africa lost its spiritual father. Too often violence and oppression lead to further violence and retribution. He taught us to fight back with peace. Long before we made this movie, I was inspired, as so many have been, by the leadership, grace and compassion of Nelson Mandela. While no single film can replicate a person’s life, I am very proud to be part of our tribute to this extraordinary man.”

Naomi Campbell, supermodel

“Nelson Mandela has stood as a figure of strength, hope, freedom, selflessness and love, and I join everyone across the world in mourning his passing. However, he was much more than just a figurehead to me — he was my mentor, my honorary grandfather, my Tata. Since meeting him in 1993, he’s guided me and gave me a reason for being in the tough times of my life. He changed my perception of the world. It will take time to come to terms with his absence, but I know his energy and impact will forever be in the core of my spirit. My heart goes out to the entire Mandela family.”

On the day that he died, Nelson Mandela was remembered not just for his life-long struggle, leadership and impact on South Africa, but also for his inspiration of artists, including filmmakers. Kacey Montoya reports from Hollywood for the KTLA 5 News at 10 on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.

Just months after he was released from prison, anti-apartheid icon and South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela came to Los Angeles in 1990, drawing tens of thousands.

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Nelson Mandela spoke on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall on June 29, 1990. (Credit: KTLA)

Then 71 years old, Mandela crossed the country during his eight-city U.S. visit, which came after he spent 27 years in a South African prison.

“Meeting him was the delight of my life,” Rep. Maxine Waters said of Mandela’s Los Angeles stop.

The First African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Los Angeles was overflowing during his appearance in late June 1990.

“They were filled with joy,” then-pastor Rev. Cecil Murray said of the congregation, “with tears, with their hands in the air, even after he had left.”

Murray and Rev. Mark Whitlock , who was also at appearance, remarked Thursday on Mandela’s calm and peacefulness, along with his sense of purpose.

“You could feel it in his spirit,” Murray said.

Mayor Tom Bradley, Los Angeles’ first African-American leader, gave Mandela a key to the city.

“Imprisonment, torture, endless killings, cannot and will never subdue the flames of resistance fanning in our hearts,” Mandela said, standing on City Hall’s steps.

He also appeared at the Coliseum, filling the venue with some 70,000 fans.

“Many would know Los Angeles as the unchallenged capital of motion pictures, many would regard your city as the city of glamour and splendor,” he said at the Coliseum, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1990.

“We who have suffered and continue to suffer the pain of oppression know that underneath that face of Los Angeles lies the great and noble spirit of the citizenry. We who fight for human rights know the depths of the human spirit running through the hills and valleys of the state of California.”

Mandela returned to L.A. on a fundraising stop in 1993, gathering support for his successful bid to become South Africa’s president the following year.

Mandela died Thursday at age 95, prompting remembrances across the globe.

KTLA’s Carolyn Costello contributed to this report.

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” was Nov. 29, just days before Nelson Mandela died Thursday at age 95. Kacey Montoya reports from Hollywood for the KTLA 5 News at 6 on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again,” President Barack Obama said in a statement on the icon’s death given from the White House Briefing Room Thursday evening. The statement aired on the KTLA 5 News at 6 on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.

Southern Californians who want to share their condolences and remembrances of South African freedom-fighting icon Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, will have a place to do so in Los Angeles.

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Nelson Mandela reads an advanced copy of his book in 2011 in this photo provided to CNN by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. (Credit: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation)

The South African Consulate General in the Mid-Wilshire area will opens its lobby from Monday through Friday, Dec. 9 to Dec. 13, for people to sign a book of condolences.

The lobby will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, according to the consulate, which is located at 6300 Wilshire Boulevard (map).

South African Consul-General Cyril Sibusiso Ndaba was set to speak on the Mandela’s death late Thursday afternoon.

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