Liverpool mourns death of Mandela

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Nelson Mandela: 1918 - 2013. Pic © southafrica.net

Nelson Mandela: 1918 – 2013. Pic © southafrica.net

The people of Liverpool have reacted with sorrow to the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, as tributes pour in around the world for the inspirational political figure.

A book of condolence will be opened at Liverpool Town Hall on Friday, where the flag will be flown at half mast so the city can pay its respects to a man who came to epitomise the true spirit of human suffering and forgiveness.

Mandela, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 95, was the first black South African to be elected in a multiracial election, symbolically ending the apartheid regime. He had served 27 years in prison, before a worldwide campaign led to his eventual release in 1990.

He was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in 1994, the same year as his Presidential election, for his work in combating apartheid laws. In a recent JMU Journalism poll, Nelson Mandela was found to be the most popular choice for local people’s personal hero.

Many have now have taken to social media to express sadness over his passing and to thank him for his unparalleled example.

Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Gary Millar said of Mandela on Twitter: “A man of no equal amongst all equals! An amazing soul, the ultimate hero, a democratic world changer… RIP.”

Wavertree MP Luciana Berger tweeted: “The world has lost a shining light, an inspiration. RIP #Mandela.”

Her fellow Liverpool MP, Steve Rotheram, tweeted: “You can tell by the outpouring that Mandela was a special human being. The world is a poorer place after his loss. RIP Nelson Mandela.”

The city’s two football clubs also commented about his passing.

The Liverpool FC Twitter account posted a picture of Mandela in a Liverpool shirt, tweeting: “Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela. #YNWA”

Everton FC tweeted one of Mandela’s memorable quotes: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

And Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, a fellow South African, tweeted: “God bless the Madiba family. Still can’t believe it, Madiba is gone.”

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer charity tweeted: “RIP Mandela. He met us in ’97 when we visited S Africa to talk about our Research Centre. We had FA Cup with us and he was thrilled to hold it.”

Mandela had spent three months in hospital earlier this year, and was receiving medical care at home before his death, which has been greeted with worldwide sadness.

JMU Journalism TV report by Aimee Morris

About Paul McIntyre, JMU Journalism