South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has died at the age of 95. Mr Mandela led South Africa's transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison for his political activities. He had been receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital. Announcing the news on South African national TV, President Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela was at peace. Read more >>
Peter Brookes' cartoon from The Times shows a back view of Nelson Mandela, who is about to pass through a set of golden gates in the sky. He has a walking stick in one hand, and his other hand is raised (is he knocking at the gates, or giving a salute?)
At first sight this looks like a fairly typical 'gates of heaven' cartoon (see here for examples). However, closer examination reveals that Mandela is not so much entering through the gates as leaving (the keys are on the other side). The caption 'RELEASE' makes the meaning clear - Mandela's death is a release from suffering. The cartoon is almost certainly meant to recall Mandela's release from prison in 1990 as well.
Release is the feeling that you are free from pain, anxiety or some other unpleasant feeling. • I think her death was a merciful release.