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In the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, Havering residents and politicians have been reflecting on the life and legacy of the former South African president.

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Flags are being flown at half-mast at Havering Town Hall today as a mark of respect to Mr Mandela, who died last night aged 95 at his home in Johannesburg.

He had been receiving medical care for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital.

Mr Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for his political activism and relentless work against racism, before leading the country’s transition out of apartheid upon his release in 1990.

Cllr Michael White, council leader said: “Nelson Mandela was a heroic figure who stood against discrimination throughout his life, at great personal cost.

“He suffered through many years in prison but did not waver in his fight to abolish apartheid, and went on to become a global icon. His life’s lesson is one of self-sacrifice, dignity and forgiveness, which we can all learn from.”

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Rainham, said: “He was the most inspiring figure of the 20th and early 21st century, built on integrity and humility. A great man and a great loss.”

Did you meet Mr Mandela? How did he influence your life? Email sam.gelder@archant.co.uk.

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