WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- From across the globe and here in Washington, D.C. people are paying tribute to the "Father of South Africa."
Nancy Lifset, a D.C. and South African resident, told us, "It's a sad day, but what a great man and what a great life."
Eelis Hemberg added, "He's at peace now."
Nelson Mandela became the first black president of the country that imprisoned him for 27 years because he wanted to end Apartheid.
Hemberg told us,"I'm so happy I'm part of the first generation to be free from Apartheid. I've been to South Africa and I'm so glad I could visit a free South Africa and it not be oppressed by racism."
They came to reflect, give respect and for Terry Gerace, to drop a single red rose at Madiba's statue.
Gerace said,"My son said it was the wrong color, because I had white roses, too and he said it meant love. Well, that's Nelson Mandela."
During his incarceration, Madiba inspired people to hold daily protests at the South African Embassy in Washington.
South African Ambassador to the US Ebrahim Rasool received a call Thursday from Zindzi, Mandela's daughter.
Rasool shared,"She knows how important the U.S. is to the Mandela family and South Africa. It was here that so much happened. People marched for freedom. People were arrested for freedom and that's why the statue is there."
Hemberg said, "It's sad but also joy. His ideas will live on they will never die."
The Ambassador to the U.S. is hoping to get the okay from the National Cathedral to hold a servicethere next Wednesday.
Rasool says the condolence book is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.at the Embassy. There will be nightly vigils at the Embassy from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be 10 days of mourning in South Africa including a state funeral where all living presidents are expected to attend.