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Nelson Mandela Dies

Legacy

Mandela retired from public life in June 2004 ahead of his 86th birthday, telling the world: "Don't call me. I'll call you." But he still campaigned for health and educational issues through the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Although slow during his presidency to recognize the enormity of HIV on the people of South Africa, he made up for it afterward.

A number of AIDS charity concerts have been hosted in his honor, and he repeatedly urged people to seek testing and treatment. In 2005, in an attempt to destigmatize HIV and AIDS, he announced that his son, Makgatho, from his first wife, had died of AIDS.

Latest government figures show HIV prevalence among young South Africans increased slightly between 2009 and 2010 but is generally levelling off. Other age groups show a similar trend.

His last public appearance was at the closing ceremony of the soccer World Cup in July 2010.

It was the dream finale to the biggest sporting event Africa had ever seen. Guests ranged from politicians to major sports personalities and actors. They included Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in the film Invictus, about South Africa’s triumph in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Just 20 years earlier, South Africa had been a nation where society was divided by race, entrenched by law, when black and white people never sat together in stadiums, didn’t go to the same schools or restaurants, and didn’t play on the same sports teams. Mandela helped change all that.

Although he received nearly 700 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, his lasting legacy is that he ended apartheid and inspired not just a nation, but people across the world.

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