Google has marked the passing of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela by placing a link on its homepage to a digital archive it built last year.
Last night, the world learned at first via social media sites Twitter and Facebook of the death of Mandela at the age of 95. Announcing his death, South Africa President Jacob Zuma said: “What made Nelson Mandela great was precisely what made him human. We saw in him what we seek in ourselves.”
Mandela, known throughout Africa as Madiba, spent 27 years in prison to win eventual freedom and free South Africa from the injustice and ravages of apartheid.
Mandela, an icon of freedom, dignity and human rights, went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 just before becoming president of South Africa.
Ireland championed Mandela’s cause during the 1980s, from rugby protests to strikes by Dunnes Stores workers.
Mandela travelled to Ireland in 1990 to accept the Freedom of the City of Dublin and returned in 2003 to open the Special Olympics in Dublin.
He retired from public life in 2004 and switched his focus to charitable work and combatting poverty and HIV/AIDS.
More than a year ago, we reported that Google gave a US$1.25m grant to the Johannesburg, South Africa-based Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to build a digital archive of documents and photos of Mandela.
The donation enabled the internet giant to preserve and digitise thousands of archived documents, photos and videos about Mandela.
The online multimedia archive includes Mandela’s correspondence with family, comrades and friends, diaries written during his 27 years of imprisonment, and notes he made while leading the negotiations that ended apartheid in South Africa.
The archive includes more than 1,900 unique images, documents and videos.