UW-Green Bay honors Mandela’s life, legacy

The UW-Green Bay community is remembering the life and legacy of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, honoring the visionary leader who passed away Thursday (Dec. 5) at the age of 95.

Student emcees will speak about Mandela during Saturday’s (Dec. 7) Community Kwanzaa Celebration held in the University Union at UW-Green Bay, said Mai Lo Lee, multicultural adviser in UW-Green Bay’s American Intercultural Center. The annual event, held in conjunction with St. Norbert College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, celebrates the unique African American holiday that focuses on the traditional African values of family, community, responsibility, commerce and self-improvement.

UW-Green Bay sophomore Tresavoya Blake and St. Norbert junior Akeem Edmonds will serve as emcees for the celebration. UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Tohoro Francis Akakpo will deliver the keynote address, and plans to observe a moment of silence for Mandela before he speaks.

UW-Green Bay Assistant Prof. Eric Morgan also has been sharing thoughts on Mandela, including via interviews with local news media. Morgan, Democracy and Justice Studies (History) has been to South Africa several times and much of his scholarship has focused on the country, its history and the legacy of apartheid.

There were few individuals in 20th century history who were willing to sacrifice their freedom, and even their lives, for what they believed in, Morgan told WBAY, Channel 2 in a Thursday interview. But Mandela was one such person, and his legacy will be remembered forever, Morgan said.

“He believed in forgiveness. And I think that’s one of his great legacies, and probably his greatest legacy,” Morgan said. “That we have differences, issues, strife, this is how humanity works. But you have to be able to look your oppressor in the eye and say, ‘I forgive you.’ ”

Saturday, Dec. 8 will be a national day of prayer and reflection in South Africa, and memorial service for Mandela will be held Tuesday, Dec. 10, news media reported Friday. His body will lie in state from Wednesday, Dec. 11 until his burial on Sunday, Dec. 15.

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