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Throughout his life, Nelson Mandela had many connections to Methodism. A graduate of a Methodist boarding school, the anti-apartheid champion was mentored by Methodist preachers and educators and formed a bond with a Methodist chaplain while in prison. As president of South Africa, he worked with church leaders in shaping a new nation and eventually married Graça Machel, a United Methodist.
The World Methodist Council recognized Mandela as a “symbol of freedom, justice and peace” when presenting him with its 2000 peace award.
On Dec. 5, 2013, South African President Jacob Zuma announced that Nelson Mandela had died at age 95.