By Jessie Bazan, communication senior
The university community mourns the passing of the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Here, students who participated in Marquette’s popular South Africa Service Learning Program comment on Nelson’s influence.
“I think the biggest impact Mandela had on my time in South Africa was through the stories of those who lived during his time and who were affected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We met the man who was the mayor of Cape Town when Mandela was released from prison, and hearing his stories about the celebratory atmosphere of the city on that day helped to emphasize how beloved he was in the country. We also met two men who were convicted for murdering an American girl named Amy Biehl. They were forgiven by the parents of the girl during the TRC and now work for the Amy Biehl Foundation, a foundation set up by the parents to work with the youth of township schools. It was an extremely powerful example of the impact of Mandela's choice to pursue reconciliation rather than revenge or retribution following the end of Apartheid.”
Kevin Foley, education senior
“Nelson Mandela was, is and will continue to be a symbol of hope for South Africa and the world. There's a reason his image is painted on many schools and etched on South African currency; he worked and suffered — against all odds — for justice and democracy so South Africa could come to hope for and realize freedom without racial boundaries.”
Ryan Knott, arts and sciences senior
“I never met Nelson Mandela in person, but he touched my heart in an extraordinary way. When I became a part of the South African culture, I took on his personal influence as well, an influence of courage and faith in the face of any obstacle”
Emma Scuglik, Arts '13
A service in honor of Nelson Mandela will be held today at 4:30 p.m. in the Chapel of the Holy Family. All are welcome.