A statue of Mandela, marks the spot outside of the Victor Verster prison, Cape Town, from where he was released. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File)
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Nelson Mandela's South African journey from anti-apartheid leader to prisoner to president to global statesman – the "Long Walk to Freedom" of his autobiography title – is one of the 20th century's great stories of struggle, sacrifice and reconciliation.There is something of a distinction between the main global perception of Mandela – the moral colossus whose resolve and generosity of spirit, tactical as well as genuine, inspired people in Colombia, Northern Ireland and other places struggling with seemingly intractable conflicts – and a growing body of opinion at home that he and his party were too quick to accommodate South Africa's white minority, which lost political control but still dominates industry in one of the world's most economically unequal societies.Mandela's universality means that he also belongs to the world, which has wrestled with a fresh set of economic and political ruptures of late.In July, former U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Johannesburg and spoke about how Mandela, by offering the possibility of "moral transformation," means as much to the globe as he does to South Africa.Mandela had been a strong advocate for the court's creation.Monday is also a public holiday in South Africa, Heritage Day, introduced when Mandela was president to celebrate the country's cultural diversity.
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