Former South African president Nelson Mandela died in Johannesburg on Thursday night at the age of 95. He had been struggling with a lung infection for several months.
Mr Mandela was the first black president of the African country, an office he held between 1994 and 1999.
Mr Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Poland’s President Bronisław Komorowski offered his condolences to the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, saying that Mr Mandela “will be remembered as a fighter for fundamental human rights.” Mr Komorowski said that Nelson Mandela’s “contribution in building a better world was invaluable.”
Speaking to journalists while in Ukraine, Poland’s Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said that Nelson Mandela was “one of the titans of the 20th century.”
“Everyone who has fought for freedom, ... including us Poles, understand who this great man was for Africa and for the whole world,” Mr Sikorski added.
Mr Mandela began his political career in the 1940s. For his work as an anti-apartheid revolutionary he was sentenced in 1962 to five years in prison. Two years later, his sentence was extended to life imprisonment. Mr Mandela spent 27 years behind bars before he was released in 1990.
After his release he led negotiations with South Africa’s president at the time, F.W. de Klerk, which resulted in the abolition of apartheid.
Mr Mandela was elected president in the first multiracial elections in 1994. His government focused on dismantling apartheid by targeting institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, as well fostering racial reconciliation.
For his extraordinary work he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
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