The Somerville College flag is flying at half-mast today to mark the death of Nelson Mandela, former leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, first President of post-apartheid South Africa, and one of the greatest political and moral leaders of the 20th century.

“Hearing the sad news of Mr Mandela’s death reminds us of the connections between Somervillians Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby and the early days of the ANC [African National Congress] in the 1930s,” said Dr Alice Prochaska, Principal of Somerville College on 6 December.

“Only last week Vera Brittain’s daughter Shirley Williams visited the college to name a new room after her and her mother. She spoke movingly of the two friends’ links to South Africa and of her own lifelong connection to the struggle against apartheid. Today, the College flag flies at half mast in tribute to the most inspiring world leader of his time,” she said.

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