Nelson Mandela death: World front pages

The death of South Africa's first black President, Nelson Mandela, has dominated media coverage around much of the world.

Like newspapers in South Africa and in the UK, many dailies splashed portraits of the anti-apartheid leader on their front pages.

For print editions in some countries, the news evidently broke too late, but electronic media in both China and India covered the story extensively.

Image caption Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland had this striking image of Mandela on its front cover.
Image caption Another magazine, the New Yorker, had a dramatic image of Mandela giving a clenched fist salute.
Image caption Canada's Globe and Mail marked the event with a special e-book.
Image caption South Africa's Star stressed Nelson Mandela's global appeal.
Image caption An image of Mr Mandela waving made the front page of the Daily Nation in Kenya.
Image caption The Washington Post chose an image of Nelson Mandela visiting the cell where he was once incarcerated.
Image caption For the New York Times, Mandela was the "conqueror of apartheid".
Image caption In Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro daily O Dia quoted Mandela on the need to combat hatred.
Image caption Chinese state media like Renmin Ribao gave Mandela's death prominence on their websites.
Image caption Renmin Ribao's English edition devoted a special report to the "20th century colossus".
Image caption In Norway, Aftenposten journalist Ingeborg Senneset tweeted this spread of local front pages. "He gave the world hope" was the headline on VG.
Image caption The news competed on the front of French conservative daily Le Figaro with another African story, French military intervention in the Central African Republic
Image caption Also in France. Le Parisien splashed with the words "Farewell Mandela". Some bloggers questioned why the story had not made the front of the print edition of another of the big dailies, Liberation.
Image caption In Italy, there were red faces at former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's daily Il Giornale after it ran a headline about Mandela being the "father of apartheid". Italian journalist Pierfranceso Loreto and others tweeted about the gaffe. The paper later apologised for its "serious mistake".

Global editorials

Around the world, headline writers are free with the use of words like "legend" and "hero" to describe the former South African president.

African papers speak of Mandela as a "freedom icon" for the continent and the wider world. Chinese media recall him as an "old friend". A Russian TV channel says he "achieved miracles of reconciliation" while a German news website hails him as " one of the greatest fighters against oppression".

A Venezuelan paper dubs him "the apostle of dialogue" while for Cuba's state newspaper, his legacy "will continue to inspire future generations of revolutionaries".


The Journal du Mali writes: "A hero of the 21st century. An exceptional man of unparalleled destiny, the father of the South African nation left his imprint on the whole era."

In Kenya the Daily Nation carries the headline "Freedom icon Nelson Mandela dies at 95" while The Standard writes: "He is remembered as a peace-maker and unifier of a racially divided South Africa and as a man who fought for justice and spent 27 years in prison.

"Historians will question what value Mandela would have brought to the world if he had spent the 27 years of his imprisonment a free man."

The Namibian news website says that Mandela's "long walk from apartheid prisoner to South African president remade a country and inspired the world".

Adam Thiam in Mali's Arawan Express writes: "Alas, he was not immortal. Books will record 5 December 2013 as the day when Nelson Mandela died, almost a centenarian, as if he was no longer able or willing to suffer this very day the umpteenth humiliation inflicted on him by the continent for which he struggled so hard, in Bangui."

Rwanda's New Times has the headline "Mandela: The passing of a world icon".


News anchor Yuan Guoyu said on China Central Television's morning news bulletin: "Mandela was an old friend of China. His friendship with the people of China will still be ever-lasting."

According to China Central Television: "The deep friendship between Mandela, the people of South Africa and China was made under long-term mutual struggles.

"Mandela once said, older generations of Chinese leaders like Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Zhu De, and the Chinese people, gave a lot of support to the struggle of South Africans to strive for independence and resist the apartheid system."

The South China Morning Post website has the headline "Nelson Mandela, 20th century colossus and beloved statesman, dies at 95."

An editorial in India's The Hindu says: "Mandela was one of the mightiest figures modern humanity has known, and one of the world's most revered statesmen."

Robyn Dixon in Australia's The Age writes: "Nelson Mandela always insisted that he wasn't a saint, and by all accounts was quite irritated with the gilded view of him as an almost mystical figure.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHow TV stations around the world have been reporting the news

"He even asked the Nelson Mandela Foundation to avoid using images of his face, which had become a kind of trademark, and focus on other things, such as his hands. He ordered them to make room for other people's voices and memories. But the idolatry endured."

JM Coetzee in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald writes: "By the time he became president in his own right he was already an old man. His failure to throw himself more energetically into the urgent business of the day - the creation of a just economic order - was understandable if unfortunate.

"Like the rest of the leadership of the ANC, he was blindsided by the collapse of socialism world-wide. The party had no philosophical resistance to put up against a new, predatory economic rationalism."

Patrick Carlyon in Australia's Herald Sun writes: "Mandela himself spoke of climbing a 'great hill' when freedom was won - only to discover that more hills needed climbing.

"He became the country's first black president in an era of drastic change. His grace alone did not unpick the knot of issues faced by South Africa, but it cooled outbreaks of violence and revenge attacks."


Russia's NTV states: "Mandela was a legend who achieved miracles of reconciliation."

Russia's state-run Channel One TV states: "Without exaggeration, he changed the world... [and] gave all his life to the fight for equal rights irrespective of the colour of skin."

Russia's Ekho Moskvy radio talks of the leader "who became the symbol of a successful struggle for the equality of people throughout the whole world".

For Spain's El Pais, Mandela was "the man who defeated racism".

The headline in Germany's Taggespiegel is "Death of a legend" while for Der Spiegel, "Mandela was one of the greatest fighters against oppression."

Lars Langenau on Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung website writes: "Mandela has changed South Africa.

"Like nobody else. Within a few years, Mandela managed to deeply transform the country between the oceans. Thanks to him, there was no civil war.... From prisoner to head of state - an unparalleled biography... A great man - for his country, for the world - has left us."

Thamos Scheen on Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung website states: "Mandela was a politician who, like very few others, became a legend already during his lifetime, and who, in his constant efforts for peaceful compromise and reconciliation, can only be compared to the Indian Mahatma Gandhi."

Patrice Claude in Le Monde writes: "He has been compared - and he will be identified even more now that he is dead - with Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King.

"The same charisma, the same fierce determination. History will decide. Bill Clinton saw in him 'the triumph of the human spirit, a symbol of the greatness of spirit born in adversity'. It is more likely that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela will remain, for Africa, what Abraham Lincoln was for North America and Simon Bolivar for South America: a liberator."

Francois Hauter in Le Figaro writes: "When he left prison on 11 February 1990 at 1500 hours, he held Africa and the West in the palm of his hand.

"A single gesture sufficed... And what did he do? He took a white child in his arms, he held the child against his heart. People had expected a revolutionary. They discovered a man of peace."

Italy's La Repubblica says, "Farewell Mandela, hero of Africa; He defeated apartheid: The world will always be grateful to him."

Middle East

London-based pan-Arab Al-Arab al-Alamiyahstates: "World bids farewell to man who grabbed history with his hands, directed ethics arc toward justice"

Elie Wiesel in Israel's Yediot Aharonot writes: "Nelson Mandela, what a giant human being"

Iranian state radiosays: "Nelson Mandela was the symbol of the fight against racism across the world."

Latin America

A headline in Venezuela's El Nacional states: "The apostle of dialogue has died: Nelson Mandel preferred reconciliation to vengeance and overcame apartheid."

Front-page commentary by Claudia Fonseca Sosa in Cuba's Granma states: "Mandela is no longer with us physically, but his legacy will continue to inspire the future generations of revolutionaries."

For Argentina's Clarin, Mandela was "the man who overcame hate and improved the world".

Mexico's El Universal writes of "the anti-racism icon" that was Mandela.

North America

An editorial in The Globe and Mail states: "As Winston Churchill was to steadfastness in the face of a tyrannical foe, as Mahatma Gandhi was to non-violent resistance, Mr Mandela was to reconciliation with an oppressor.

"Revenge, hatred, bitterness, acrimony, war - these are commonplace between peoples, even within peoples. The individual who can overcome these primal forces with an affirmative message, and thereby shape his times for good, not evil, is more valuable to the world than all the gold in Africa's mines."

An editorial in The Washington Post states: "He sought unity rather than revenge, honesty and understanding rather than the naked exercise of power.

"These are all fine abstractions, of course, but never so clear to us as when there is a living figure to exemplify them."

An editorial in The New York Times states: "His successors, even those he personally supported, have, sadly, not been his equals…

"Most ominously, the end of apartheid did not, and still has not, brought an end to the deep poverty of millions of its victims. It will be up to a new generation of South African leaders to resolve these problems. All of them will owe a historic debt to Nelson Mandela."

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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