BEACON OF HOPE--This Nov. 20, 2008 photo shows the late activist and Mandela close friend Dennis Brutus during a panel discussion about human rights at Worcester State College in Worcester, Mass. Brutus was jailed at Robben Island with Mandela in the mid-1960s. He helped persuade Olympic officials to ban South Africa from competition from 1964 until apartheid ended nearly 30 years later.  (AP Photo/Worcester Telegram & Gazette

BEACON OF HOPE–This Nov. 20, 2008 photo shows late activist and Mandela close friend Dennis Brutus during a panel discussion about human rights at Worcester State College in Worcester, Mass. Brutus was jailed at Robben Island with Mandela in the mid-1960s. He helped persuade Olympic officials to ban South Africa from competition from 1964 until apartheid ended nearly 30 years later. (AP Photo/Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Nelson Mandela, boxer, lawyer, revolutionary, political prisoner and ultimately the builder of a united South Africa after becoming its first Black elected president, died Dec. 5 at 95.

His release from Robben Island prison in 1990 after serving 27 years for treason was a turning point for his country, his continent and the world.

One year later, Mandela came to Pittsburgh and spoke at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, mostly because his friend, poet and former prison mate, Dennis Brutus was teaching across the street at the University of Pittsburgh. It was Mandela’s only visit here, yet Pittsburghers who never met him, mourn his loss and celebrate his life.

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