What is your reaction to the death of Nelson Mandela?

Photo courtesy of Mayibuye/Robben Island

“Nelson Mandela, who was born in a country that viewed him as a second-class citizen, died Thursday as one of the most respected statesmen in the world. He was 95,” writes NPR’s Jason Beaubien.

In April 1994, the world watched as millions of South Africans — most of them jubilant, but many wary — cast their ballots in that nation’s first multiracial election. The outcome: Nelson Mandela became president of a new South Africa.

Mandela’s journey from freedom fighter to president capped a dramatic half-century-long struggle against white rule and the institution of apartheid. This five-part series, originally produced in 2004, marked the 10th anniversary of South Africa’s first free election.

Produced for NPR by Joe Richman of Radio Diaries and Sue Johnson, Mandela: An Audio History tells the story of the struggle against apartheid through rare sound recordings of Mandela himself, as well as those who fought with and against him.

Mandela: A Rare Success As Liberation Leader And President

There are many examples of triumphant liberation leaders and successful political leaders, but it’s rare to find someone who has managed the transition from one to the other.

George Washington did it in the 18th century. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey did it after World War I. And Nelson Mandela also belongs to this exclusive club.

“It is hard enough to find someone courageous enough to lead a revolution, rarer still for them to have remarkable leadership skills,” says Jack Goldstone, director of the Center for Global Policy at George Mason University. (NPR)

Today’s Question: What is your reaction to the death of Nelson Mandela?