Pa. Lawmakers Join World in Mourning Nelson Mandela

Mandela served 27 years in prison for anti-apartheid activities and served as South Africa’s first black president.

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) with Nelson Mandela. (Photo courtesy of Congressman Fattah)
Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) with Nelson Mandela. (Photo courtesy of Congressman Fattah)

Former South African President Nelson Mandela died Thursday at 95.

Mandela, who served 27 years in prison for anti-apartheid activities in white-minority South Africa, emerged to become his country’s first black president. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. 

“The world has lost a great leader. Keeping Nelson Mandela and his family in our thoughts and prayers,” Gov. Tom Corbett Tweeted early Thursday evening.

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) posted a photo of himself and Mandela, saying, “Today my family and I join with millions around the world in mourning the loss of a great humanitarian. Nelson Mandela was a personal inspiration to me, and to so many others for the many sacrifices he made on behalf of the country he loved so dearly. … While we deeply regret this loss, we are grateful for his work bending the arc of history towards justice, and for his legacy that will continue to lead us all in the pursuit of a more just and more peaceful world.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) shared his condolences and said, “Mr. Mandela’s unwavering commitment to justice and equality will continue to provide an example to politicians and activists for many generations.”

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) sent a Tweet offering his condolences.

Leaders around the world recalled Mandela as a “father of democracy.” Current South African President Jacob Zuma confirmed Mandela’s passing, saying, "Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father,” The Huffington Post reported.

U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) said, “Mandela will be remembered as being the ‘father of democracy’ in South Africa and as a leader who always put his country ahead of himself; his legacy will live on in the hearts through his charitable funds and foundations.”

Echoing Fitzpatrick’s sentiments about Mandela’s legacy was U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-Pa.), who said, “Through his steadfast integrity, unyielding will and humility, he was a beacon to all who struggle against racism, tyranny and oppression in support of freedom, equality and dignity. President Mandela changed his country and the world, and his iconic example and life-long efforts will not be forgotten.”

President Barack Obama is expected to travel to South Africa for Mandela’s funeral, the Huffington Post said. Obama, speaking from the White House, said, “Like so many around the globe, I cannot fully imagine my own life without the example that Nelson Mandela set.”

Mandela was known for inspiring others. The Huffington Post has put together a slide show of some of his most memorable and powerful quotes. Among them: “If I had my time over, I would do the same again.”

Mandela will be buried in the village of Qunu, where he grew up.


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