PICTURES

Nelson Mandela has died: President Jacob Zuma

Nelson Mandela (left) takes the oath of office in Pretoria, South Africa, to become the country's first black President, May 10, 1994. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO
Nelson Mandela (left) takes the oath of office in Pretoria, South Africa, to become the country's first black President, May 10, 1994. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
Former South African President Nelson Mandela lifts the World Cup trophy in Zurich, Switzerland, after FIFA's executive committee announced that South Africa would host the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Mandela was pivotal in helping the cou
Former South African President Nelson Mandela lifts the World Cup trophy in Zurich, Switzerland, after FIFA's executive committee announced that South Africa would host the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Mandela was pivotal in helping the country win the right to host the tournament. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
President of the African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela raises a clenched fist to supporters upon his arrival for an election rally ahead of the April 27 general elections in Mmabatho, Mar 15, 1994. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, T
President of the African National Congress (ANC) Nelson Mandela raises a clenched fist to supporters upon his arrival for an election rally ahead of the April 27 general elections in Mmabatho, Mar 15, 1994. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95.  -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Pope John Paul II (left) and Nelson Mandela talk at the Presidential guest house in Pretoria, Sept 16, 1995. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Pope John Paul II (left) and Nelson Mandela talk at the Presidential guest house in Pretoria, Sept 16, 1995. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel smiling to photographers as they arrive at Madrid's Almudena Cathedral to attend the Spanish Crown Prince's wedding, May 22, 2004. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thurs
Former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel smiling to photographers as they arrive at Madrid's Almudena Cathedral to attend the Spanish Crown Prince's wedding, May 22, 2004. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Former US President Bill Clinton (left) shakes hands with former South African President Nelson Mandela during the inaugural Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Johannesburg Civic Centre, July 19, 2003. The lecture coincided with Mandela's 85th birt
Former US President Bill Clinton (left) shakes hands with former South African President Nelson Mandela during the inaugural Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the Johannesburg Civic Centre, July 19, 2003. The lecture coincided with Mandela's 85th birthday.  South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Cuban leader Fidel Castro (left) shares a laugh with then South Africa President Nelson Mandela at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, May 19, 1998. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that M
Cuban leader Fidel Castro (left) shares a laugh with then South Africa President Nelson Mandela at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, May 19, 1998. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (left) shakes hands with former South African President Nelson Mandela during a reception at Buckingham Palace in London, Oct 20, 2003. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (left) shakes hands with former South African President Nelson Mandela during a reception at Buckingham Palace in London, Oct 20, 2003. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Then US President George W. Bush meets with former South African president Nelson Mandela (left) in the Oval Office of the White House, May 17, 2005. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95
Then US President George W. Bush meets with former South African president Nelson Mandela (left) in the Oval Office of the White House, May 17, 2005. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
Former South African President Nelson Mandela (left) sits next to his wife, Graca Machel, as they are driven across the field ahead of the World Cup final soccer match between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Ju
Former South African President Nelson Mandela (left) sits next to his wife, Graca Machel, as they are driven across the field ahead of the World Cup final soccer match between the Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 11, 2010. South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress member Nelson Mandela hugs a young Sowetan girl as he visits the black township of Soweto (South Western Township) near Johannesburg, Oct 4, 1990.  South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thu
Anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress member Nelson Mandela hugs a young Sowetan girl as he visits the black township of Soweto (South Western Township) near Johannesburg, Oct 4, 1990.  South Africa's president Jacob Zuma says, Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, that Mr Mandela has died. He was 95. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Former South African President Nelson Mandela looks on as he celebrates his birthday at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape, July 18, 2012. Mr Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political
Former South African President Nelson Mandela looks on as he celebrates his birthday at his house in Qunu, Eastern Cape, July 18, 2012. Mr Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, has died aged 95, President Jacob Zuma said on Dec 6, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (REUTERS) - Former South African President Nelson Mandela died peacefully at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, President Jacob Zuma said.

Mr Mandela, the country's first black president and anti-apartheid icon known in South africa by his clan name of Madiba, emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide South Africa through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy.

In a nationally televised address, Mr Zuma said Mr Mandela would have a full state funeral. He ordered flags to be flown at half mast.

"Fellow South Africans, our beloved Nelson Rohlihla Mandela, the founding President of our democratic nation, has departed," Mr Zuma said.

"He passed on peacefully in the comfort of his home."

Mr Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority apartheid government - a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most respected and loved figures.

He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960, but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the country's white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later.

Mr Mandela, imprisoned for nearly three decades, was elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 and retired in 1999.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honour he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who released from jail arguably the world's most famous political prisoner.

As President, Mr Mandela faced the monumental task of forging a new nation from the deep racial injustices left over from the apartheid era, making reconciliation the theme of his time in office.

The hallmark of Mr Mandela's mission was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which probed apartheid crimes on both sides of the struggle and tried to heal the country's wounds. It also provided a model for other countries torn by civil strife.

In 1999, Mr Mandela handed over power to younger leaders better equipped to manage a modern economy - a rare voluntary departure from power cited as an example to African leaders.

In retirement, he shifted his energies to battling South Africa's Aids crisis and the struggle became personal when he lost his only surviving son to the disease in 2005.

Mr Mandela's last major appearance on the global stage came in 2010 when he attended the championship match of the soccer World Cup, where he received a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 at the stadium in Soweto, the neighbourhood in which he cut his teeth as a resistance leader.

Charged with capital offences in the infamous 1963 Rivonia Trial, his statement from the dock was his political testimony.

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination."