Triangle residents remember Mandela's legacy
Posted December 6, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The death of former South African President Nelson Mandela weighed heavy on the hearts of residents across the Triangle Friday.
Raleigh defense attorney Joe Cheshire said he counts Mandela as one of his three heroes, along with his father and Martin Luther King Jr.
"I know some people will think this is extreme, but he was a Christ-like figure," Cheshire said. "He went to prison for 27 years and came out selfless, not an angry man."
Mandela, who died on Thursday at the age of 95, is a global symbol of sacrifice and reconciliation in a world often jarred by conflict and division.
South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement at a news conference saying, "we've lost our greatest son."
North Carolina NAACP President William Barber argued the accolades for Mandela the forgiver can't overlook the importance of Mandela, the fighter.
"We can't jump to President Mandela and forget the Mandela that struggled, the Mandela that was condemned, the Mandela that spoke truth to power," Barber said.
Achille Nbembe, a visiting professor from South Africa, had the opportunity to met Mandela. Nbembe said he believes the most important legacy is learning how to turn hate into love.
"That vicarious suffering. He managed to transfigure it and turn it into a gift," Nbembe said.
Robin Kirk, program director with Duke University's Human Rights Center, said she believes Mandela's determination is one of his greatest legacies.
"It wasn't we won now we get to stay," Kirk said. "He really wanted to negotiate his way through that transition for a better place for South Africa."