The Dec. 5 death of Nelson Mandela has rippled throughout the world's media, drawing tributes and reflections from all corners.
"Nelson Mandela is the only anger-free human I have ever known," said David Fenton, the veteran progressive PR pro who promoted Mandela's 1990 eight-city visit to the U.S. , shortly after his release from the South African prison on Robben Island. "An inspiration to humanity. I was so privileged to have worked for him."
Colette Phillips, president and CEO of Boston agency CPC Global, recalled Mandela's visit to the city changed its image. “The day that Nelson Mandela came to Boston was the day I felt that it was almost like this shattering of a perception that has dogged Boston for years about being this very hostile and unwelcoming city for people of color,” she told Boston's NPR station, WBUR, today. “Because it was a day that brought together people from every socioeconomic background and ethnicity who really wanted to come and see this international icon that was bigger than life.”
Dianne Stewart, a Charlotte, N.C., PR pro who moved to the U.S. in 2001 from South Africa, said Mandela commanded respect. " “The jewel in his crown is the way he enabled two extreme points of view to come together, literally sitting down at a table, and hash out how to have peace,” she told the Charlotte Observer. "The outside world saw him as an international statesman, a figurehead, a Martin Luther King."
The National Press Club in Washington, where Mandela spoke twice in the 1990s and was honored last year with a program on his life, noting his appearances are unforgettable memories for those present. "His photo remains in a prominent place in our club and is noticed by speakers and leaders from around the globe when they visit here," said NPC president Angela Greiling Keane. "He brought many freedoms to his country and shared them with the world."
President Barack Obama said Mandela completed his extraordinary journey "with grace and humor, and an ability to acknowledge his own imperfections." Obama quoted Mandela himself: "I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."
The Atlantic has a summary of how the world's newspapers covered Mandela's death.
The Associated Press' former Southern Africa bureau chief penned a recollection of covering Mandela and South Africa in the 1990s.
Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, who was the paper's South Africa correspondent during the 1990s, penned Mandela's lengthy obit in the paper.