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New Yorkers Remember Life Of Nelson Mandela

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TWC News: New Yorkers Remember Life Of Nelson Mandela
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The city and the world are remembering former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday in South Africa at age 95.

The Empire State Building was lit in the colors of the South African flag - blue, red, yellow and green - Friday night in Mandela's honor.

On orders from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the flags at City Hall were lowered Friday.

Flags are also flying at half staff outside the United Nations.

Mandela visited the building several times over the years to deliver speeches aimed at ending apartheid and promoting equality.

A tribute of flowers and candles continued to grow Friday outside the South African consulate as people mourned the passing of the anti-apartheid icon.

The consulate plans to have a book of condolences available starting Monday for people to sign.

On Tuesday, the United Nations has scheduled a memorial service.

The focus now is on Mandela's legacy.

"Mandela gave us back our dignity. He gave us back the pride to be a South African," said one person. "I think he redeemed us in the eyes of ourselves and in the international world."

There will be an open, public memorial service at Riverside Church in Manhattan to remember and honor Mandela next Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama also ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House, federal buildings, military bases and embassies until sunset Monday.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a moment to honor the memory of Mandela Friday as she was recognized for her own hard work in human rights by the Lantos Foundation on Capitol Hill.

"I only hope that as we both mourn and celebrate the passing of this universally recognized and beloved figure, that we remember he became that through an enormous amount of hard work on himself," she said.

Mandela was surrounded by his family in Johannesburg when he passed away shortly before 9 p.m. South African time.

South African officials say he will be laid to rest on December 15 in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province.

The civil rights icon had been battling health issues and spent part of the summer hospitalized with a lung infection.


Mandela was born in 1918 and grew up to become a lawyer.

He became an active leader in the African National Congress, working to end South Africa's segregationist policies.

Mandela was convicted of sabotage in 1964 and spent 26 years in prison.

International pressure on South Africa led to his release in 1990, and he became the country's first black president in 1994.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost their father. And though we knew this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss," said South Africa President Jacob Zuma.

Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2002.

He retired from public life in 2004 because of his health.

Following news of his death, South Africans gathered in the streets to pay tribute to the legacy he now leaves behind.

Mourners in Johannesburg's Soweto neighborhood chanted, sang and danced in remembrance of their former president.

Many of the songs they sung were from the anti-apartheid era when Mandela became a worldwide figure for civil rights.

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