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Mandela's Life and Death Touches Local Community

The world continues to mourn and reflect on the life and accomplishments of Nelson Mandela. He was an inspiration everywhere, including right here in Central New York.
The world continues to mourn and reflect on the life and accomplishments of Nelson Mandela. He was an inspiration everywhere, including right here in Central New York.
Mandela's death is still a bit of a shock to some but it's beginning to really sink in. People in South Africa are celebrating his life and accomplishments and here in the Mohawk Valley, people are reflecting on his remarkable ability to unite.
“There were people from taxi cabs talking about the greatness of Mandela and what he stood for and it didn't matter where you came from," says Joanne Shenandoah.
Shenandoah is a Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter. She had the honor of singing at the opening ceremony of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1999 in Cape Town. She says she was moved to be in the presence of Nelson Mandela's powerful energy.
“To know that there are people on earth who fight and want freedom and want peace and unity and want a voice to be heard, it's a beautiful thing,” said Shenandoah.
Mandela’s great grandson, Luvuyo Mandela, is a Hamilton College graduate. Professor of Philosophy Todd Franklin still maintains a relationship with him today
“It was the loss of an icon for the world, having a personal relationship with a member of the family, I recognize that it was a very deep and significant loss for the family as well so it was a very difficult moment that gives rise to a time of reflection,” said Franklin.
For Franklin, that reflection focuses on Mandela’s legacy.
"A legacy of listening, a legacy of learning, a legacy of caring and lastly a legacy of sharing…One thing that was really noteworthy when he was on trial was that he declared that he would rather die than give up his commitment to the principal of democracy,” says Franklin.
Some are still a little lost for words.
"Profound sadness because in my mind, in my heart, he should live forever so I was struck by that and then my second thought was, what can I say?" said Phyllis Breland, Director of Opportunity Programs at Hamilton College.

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