Former South African President, Nelson Mandela, died Thursday at the age of 95. He was a civil rights activist, a Nobel peace prize winner, and an icon of freedom and equality.
Newswatch 16 spoke to folks in our area about the impact of Mandela’s legacy.
From prisoner to president, Mandela was a moral compass to the nation of South Africa.
Mandela spent most of his life fighting decades of apartheid in his native country, something that took away his freedom, for nearly 30 years.
Born in 1918, Mandela grew up in the hills of the Eastern Cape.
He went on to study law at a university in Johannesburg.
Before he left school he helped form the youth league of the African National Congress, a group that would fight the deep racial tensions and segregation in South Africa.
In 1964 Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to overthrow the Government. He served 27 years behind bars.
Mandela was released in 1990 and later elected president.
He died Thursday at his home, with his family by his side, after a long battle with lung infections.
Folks in the Wilkes-Barre area said Mandela’s death is a loss to all people, but they believe, his teachings will live on.
“It is the end of a legacy, we just hope that we all could learn from his example. It’s sad that he’s gone, but hopefully people will continue to do his work,” said Ruth Ann Pugh of Wilkes-Barre.
“It’s definitely sad, and it’s a great loss, and I hope that everybody will continue his legacy and talk about him and realize what he stood for and what he did for the country,” said Josephina Holley of Hanover.
“Kids growing up are going to go learn about him, like Martin Luther King, his name will go for years and years in the history books,” said Mimi St. Preux of Wilkes-Barre.
President Obama has ordered all flags fly at half staff until December 9.