Reportage photographer Brent Stirton, who is originally from South Africa and has been in the country covering the reaction to Nelson Mandela’s death, shared his thoughts on the man and his legacy on National Geographic’s 'Proof' blog:
The real tragedy is that he was not released as a younger man. Who knows what a man like Mandela could have done with those extra years? The specter of the Cold War loomed large in the state of geo-politics at the time: The wars in Angola, Namibia and Mozambique; the war of independence in Zimbabwe; behind it all, the ghost of capitalism versus communism. How petty it all seems now, when you see what one man could achieve when he tapped into what exists in all of us, that element of being commonly human.
(Photos by Brent Stirton/Getty Images)