By Clay Gloetzner
Nelson Mandela could be described as a man of originality. He was a president, a prisoner, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, as well as a spokesperson for human harmony and humanity, among other things. But above all, he loved his country of South Africa.
“The passing of Nelson Mandela was an event that resonated around the world,” said Hunt Davis, professor of African studies at the University of Florida.
This past Tuesday on February 25, CF hosted an event on The Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela. Dr. John Anene professor of political science whom teaches mainly from the Citrus Campus arranged this event.
“We find out [how to get a hold of the scholars] through professional connections,” Anene said. “It is very important for them to tell the world about South Africa and Nelson Mandela.”
The panel includes four Fullbright Scholars from across the United States and world. A Fullbright scholarship is a merit-based scholarship that grants students – as well as teachers, professionals, and scholars – whom want to study abroad with an international educational exchange.
These scholars include; Dr. Hunt Davis whom was mentioned above, Dr. Tshifhiwa Nangammbi from the Tswane University of Technology, Dr. Greg Kiker from the University of Florida, and Dr. Okey C. Iheduru from the University of Arizona. The scholars spoke on a different aspects of South Africa, during the time of Nelson Mandela as well as current national issues.
Davis spoke on a more chronological order of Nelson Mandela’s life. One of several interesting points he stated was that Mandela had been given the name Rolihlaha, which means “troublemaker,” and did not have the name Nelson until later on when he began attending a European school.
Nangammbi, among several topics, explained how women in South Africa are looked down upon by the nation as being unintelligent. Further saying how many women receive social grants for every child born of them. This made AIDS rampant all across the country, with girls having children as young as 10 years old.
Kiker lectured on his experience as a Fullbright Scholar in 1992. He was apart of the first Fullbright scholars in 20 years. Until 2002, he lived in South Africa with the discourse between radical political parties. He stated that in order for evil to die, it had to die slowly. He also stated how how much he valued the leadership of Mandela.
“Mandela loved being apart of life,” Kiker said.
The last of the speakers, was Dr. Okey C. Iheduru. From an economic standpoint, he spoke on the many challenges that Mandela faced during his presidency. Mostly about the discourse between black and white South Africans that included many different groups such as ANC against Apartheid.
“You need to think about change, but it comes with a lot of costs,” Iheduru said.
The four Fullbright scholars closed with several Q&As’ and Anene could not have been more happy with the event.
“This is the very first academic reflection of Nelson Mandela in the United States, if not the world,” Anene said. “It took some time to plan something of this scale, so we are very fortunate to have such a wonderful panel.”