Local South Africans react to Mandela's death

(WJLA) - "There were great moral leaders, and great political leaders -- Mandela was both,” says James Joseph, who raised his family in McLean and was the only U.S. Ambassador to present his credentials to President Nelson Mandela and walk with him in his old prison cell.

That prison sentence hid Mandela from South Africans for 27 years, and in Durbin, the Mouritzen family grew up knowing who Mandela was without ever having seen him until this day in 1990.

From their office in Dulles, Virginia, the Mouritzens are hearing from friends and family still in South Africa, where everyone is in mourning for the man who saved their country from chaos.

And it was on the rugby field at the World Cup in 1995 that changed their world for good.

"The day of that final, it gives me goosebumps, it was the change. After that, people more accepting, this is a guy we can get behind," they said.