Nelson Mandela Dead at 95


The great South African leader and defender of equality Nelson Mandela has died at 95.

South African President Jacob Zuma announced the sad news:

"He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 20.50pm on the fifth of December 2013,” Zuma said. "He is now resting, he is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew this day would come nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, his compassion, and his humanity earned him their love. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Mandela family. To them we owe a debt of gratitude. They have sacrificed much and endured much so that our people could be free…"

The world has lost one of its bravest souls and greatest champions of freedom. May his legacy continue to inspire new generations.

Obama's statement:

The Human Rights Campaign mourned Mandela's passing:

“Nelson Mandela tore down oppression, united a rainbow nation, and always walked arm-in-arm with his LGBT brothers and sisters—and with all people—toward freedom," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Though every man, woman and child who seeks justice around the world mourns this loss, his vision of an equal future lives on undimmed."

Mandela, who was South Africa’s first post-Apartheid president, was an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. He appointed an openly-gay judge to South Africa's High Court of Appeal and during his presidency, South Africa became the first nation in the world to constitutionally prohibit sexual orientation-based discrimination. Mandela will be remembered for his social justice activism and commitment to equality for all people.


  1. Derrick from Philly says

    He supported civil rights for Gay people. How could decades in prison make someone more humane toward people’s civil rights? I’ll always wonder how Mandela became the great spokesman for justice that he was.

  2. says

    46664 now walks with the angels.

    Few folks will grace this earth and leave behind a legacy like Mandela’s. We are all part of a better world because of him. Seeing him in Toronto when I was in high school was one of the most inspiring moments of my entire life. Leader, vanguard, brother. He was, and will always be, courage. strength. love. grace. forgiveness. defiance. resilience. immortality is yours when you inspire change and love in others. Thank you, Madiba.

  3. Gonzo says

    Funny that the posters above me base
    his likeability solely on if he supported gay marriage or not.

  4. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Did he support gay marriage?”

    Did YOU in the 1990s or in the 2004 presidential elections?

  5. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Funny that the posters above me base
    his likeability solely on if he supported gay marriage or not.”

    You mean the posteR above you–singular.

  6. aj says

    @Gonzo: I am not aware that he was ever known to mention gay marriage specifically; by the time that it became an issue he was essentially retired from politics. But he supported gay rights, and he supported the inclusion of a clause in the South African constitution that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That clause is why gay marriage is legal in South Africa now.

  7. Rowan says

    Did anyone ask of that Walker dude who married his girlfriend when she was 16 support gay rights? SMDH.

  8. Bill says

    Lol! Look at Kiwi trying to give a eulogy! Raymond, you don’t believe in heaven or angels, so what are you talking about? What a phony. You are the opposite of Mandela, who was sincere and compassionate and accomplished.

    Also, please note that at no time in his long life did Mandela speak on transgender bathroom issues. Nor did he support the the right to taxpayer funded hormones. So if you are going to be consistent with your past comments directed at so-called transphobes, you should be happy that he died.

  9. UFFDA says

    The King of Africa and a singularity of our times has left us, a man whose righteous resistance reshaped a nation and the destiny of humankind. Home now to Ghandi, King and Christ.

    Do not miss his autobiography.

  10. BMF says

    South Africa was the second non-European country to have same-sex marriage. It’s impossible to imagine how that would have happened had the father of the new South Africa had been against it.

  11. BreckRoy says

    One of the greatest human beings to walk the earth. May he rest in peace and his legacy flourish always. If you are too young to remember him in his prime, please read his story. You will be amazed and inspired. God bless this man and the lessons he taught us.

  12. Tyler says

    Rick/Asam: you really have no shame, do you? You’re an actual monster and I hope you die forgotten and alone.

  13. andrew says

    People should not be sad that Mandela died at age 95. We should celebrate that a man of his qualities graced our world and, probably more than anyone else, made it a better place.

  14. circuitmouse says

    I had presumed Towleroad readers to be more versed in public affairs. Even given the relatively few detractors, it has become clear that not all had the advantage of a competent education.

    Or perhaps they get some perverse pleasure in stirring up muck and mayhem.

  15. Tyler says

    He was the greatest living organism ever to have formed since the Big Bang. Born of a virgin, he overthrew apartheid by being in prison. He also developed and marketed the world’s first cold fusion apparatus, which he built himself on weekends. He also could fly.

  16. Vikraminmumbai says

    A documentary film that’s worth seeing is The Man who Drove with Mandela. Its about Cecil Williams, a white gay theatre director from Johannesburg who was a supporter of the anti apartheid struggle and who helped Mandela drive around the country when he was a wanted fugitive. Mandela posed as Williams’ driver and it was while they were travelling that Mandela was arrested before being sent to Robben Island. The film gives a vivid sense of the gay community in South Africa. As in most parts of the world at that time homosexuality was illegal and homosexuals were often very badly treated, yet the community flourished, not that deeply concealed. Mandela would have known of Williams sexuality and obviously it didn’t matter to him. Activists like Williams, along with black gay ANC activists like Simon Nkoli, shaped the ANC’s supportive policy towards lgbt rights, which was reflected in the new South Africa’s amazing constitution.

  17. Frank says

    Sometimes I really hate being gay. I’ve never seen so many racists as I have seen trolling the gay bars and websites of America.

  18. 1♥ says

    Obama’s statement was a wonderful tribute to a trully great man.


    So YOU can confirm that all the commenters on Towleroad are Gay or are apart of the Gay community. Prove it or you’re just another troll like they are.

    BTW I’m not saying there are racist that are homosexual. I’m saying towleroad is infested with hatemongers that will do and say anything to divide and destroy the Gay community because hate is all commenters like Frank, ASAM, RICK, DAVID C, etc etc have in their pathic hate filled hearts.

  19. Frank says

    Yep, 1♥ you’re absolutely right. I cannot confirm that all the comments on Towleroad come from people who are apart of the gay community, so I must be a troll just like they are. Never mind that comments like these are regular thing on websites like this one and others like queerty,, etc. If I can’t trace and track every single one to their point of origin then I should just pretend like they don’t exist. Never mind the number of gay people of color who can tell stories of dealing with racist queens at gay bars, of having to show two the three forms of ID to get into gay bars, of listening to gay men lament about the “Asian Invasion” in club Rage in L.A. because a large number of Asian people happen to go on a particular night, of the grindr,A4A, or profiles that say things like, “no blacks”, “no Asians”, “no chocolate”, “no rice”, “blocking more Asians than the great wall of China”. Yes. I’m clearly a hater just like ASAM, Rick, David C., etc. Clearly.

  20. MichaelJ says

    Mandela’s death is not a tragedy or even a sad. He died of old age. As Andrew wrote, his vision and the accomplishments of his life should be celebrated.

    If there is any tragedy it is that the celebrations will feature various public officials from around the world, most all of whom lack a principled vision of what’s right and wrong, let alone the courage and will to act accordingly.

  21. 1♥ says

    You’re the one building walls not bridges.

    Your judging the Gay community by ads on hookup site, please stop being silly. I know black guys that only date whites or only date asians. I can go to Adam4adam and find ads requesting no whites etc..
    So you don’t now any mix race couples. But I know of many including my own. Also I make a clear a difference between homosexual and gay. There are many homosexuals that hate the Gay community and want to tear it apart. My Gay community has a rainbow flag because it includes ALL people.
    If you are not a troll then humbly apologize but you need to learn to build bridges and not walls. Love must be our foundation and it will overcome the hatred of the bigots

  22. ELI says

    To Frank,
    You know Frank, there are A-holes in the Gay world. I see them as people who have been hurt and can only pity them for their ignorance and hate. Don’t let them get to you. We all have to make a difference in the world and you can too.
    To One Heart,
    I think you’re letting the trolls get to you. Take a deep breath and imagine a large penis… now, don’t you feel better.

  23. Mike says

    It is impossible to emphasize the importance of the work for ALL of humanity that Nelson Mandela accomplished.

    At retirement he modestly called himself a “has been”. By the same token Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and many other so called world “greats” who changed the world are also has beens. The extraordinary impact that he made will long survive him and continue to grow with the efforts of future visionaries.

    Among the impressive panoply he created the Rainbow Nation – where gay rights and equal marriage are revered and enshrined in the constitution of South Africa To this day, it is the only country on the continent with marriage equality assured in the constitution . . .

  24. Frank says

    Two things 1♥. Frist, yes building bridges is better than putting up walls, but despite what you may think, I’m not the one putting up walls. Second, notice I said “American” gay community. I’ve been living in Europe now for six years and I can tell that gay people here have a way different attitude towards people of color than they do back home. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying there isn’t racism here, but I’ve never been treated as good in my 27 hears in America, as I’ve been treated in the six years here as a person of color, at least in the gay community. So I’m not trying to say that all gay people hold these attitudes. Also, I’m glad you know gay people in interracial relationships. So do I. But that doesn’t mean that racism is somehow eradicated in the gay community. It’s beautiful that in your gay community is a rainbow flag that includes all gay people; but, I’m sorry, I don’t see that much of a rainbow in Chelsea, Boystown, the Castro, Hillcrest, or Oaklawn.

    @Eli I’ve been trying to keep telling myself that when dealing with people like this, but it’s difficult when everytime you try to call them out on their behavior everyone tries to act like you are the one with the problem.

  25. MichaelJ says

    Question: Is there any country other than the Republic of South Africa with a constitution that explicitly mentions sexual orientation in its descriptions of people’s freedom and civil rights?

  26. Frank says

    Yes that exactly it Enchantra. Why is it the default gay community that whenever their an issue it must be related to sex?

  27. Frank says

    Yes that exactly it Enchantra. Why is it the default in gay community that whenever their is an issue, it must automatically be related to sex?

  28. Enchantra says

    Frank – You were the one who brought up sex. You were whining because the johns on cruise sites state their preferences. I would imagine that other pygmies find pygmies to be attractive. Why then would it surprise you that WASPs find WASPs attractive?