Nelson Mandela life story: the long walk, the spirit, the legacy, the speeches, the friend and the tributes - read our unparalleled coverage

Contributions from Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Walter Sisulu, Cyril Ramaphosa, and his official biographer Anthony Sampson

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A long walk to immortality - the life and times of Madiba
By Anthony Sampson (1926 - 2004). 'Mandela: The Authorised Biography' was published by HarperCollins in 1999.

The speeches: An ideal for which I am prepared to die
Here Nelson Mandela speaks for himself, in speeches spanning four decades, from the 1963-4 Rivonia Trial to his 90th birthday in 2008, these are his words

The prophet of tolerance - by Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Mandela's greatness grew from a genuine respect for other people and their beliefs. By Archbishop Desmond Tutu, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

The born statesman - by Jakes Gerwel
From uniting South Africa to his involvement in the Lockerbie trial, Mandela was a political giant who never lost sight of the world he gave up so much for. By Professor Jakes Gerwel, Chancellor of Rhodes University, Grahamstown

The Magician's Legacy - by John Carlin
He led his people to democracy but his greatest achievement was to teach us how to look for the best in ourselves. John Carlin was The Independent's South Africa correspondent from 1989 to 1995. His book "Playing The Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation" was published by Atlantic Books in 2008

An unconquerable spirit - by Ahmed Kathrada
For those who shared his struggle and his captivity, Nelson Mandela's moral strength was a source of constant inspiration - and occasional amusement. By Ahmed Kathrada, a prisoner from 1964 to 1989 andPresident Mandela's Parliamentary Counsellor from 1994 to 1999

Not just father of the nation - by Janette Bennett
Madiba's political struggles made family life unusually difficult for him. Yet he leaves behind a large extended family with whom he remained on remarkably warm terms

A heavyweight with a light touch - by Albie Sachs
Mandela's greatest legacy may be his profound commitment to democracy. By Albie Sachs, anti-apartheid campaigner, who was a judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa from 1994 to 2009

Tributes from Bill Clinton, Cyril Ramaphosa and Kofi Annan
'He taught us so much'

An icon for our times - by John Walsh
His charisma was such that every megastar wanted a share in it

An exceptional leader, an exceptional man - by Sir Anthony O'Reilly
Mandela could both impress a man like Henry Kissinger and invite a butler to his inauguration. By Sir Anthony O'Reilly, president emeritus and the former chief executive of Independent News & Media

Thank you for your life, my friend - by Walter Sisulu
Mandela's friend and fellow freedom fighter wrote this obituary towards the end of his own life. He did not live to see it published but it remains a worthy tribute and a revealing portrait

Thabo Mbeki's praise poem
From "A Farewell to Madiba", a praise poem by Thabo Mbeki (president of South Africa from 1999 to 2008), delivered by him to the National Assembly, Cape Town, on 26 March 1999

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In The Independent on Saturday:

A special supplement celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela

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