Former South African president Nelson Mandela died yesterday at the age of 95. Robyn Murray is a South African journalist and former News Director of KVNO in Omaha. She talked to NET News about Mandela’s passing from Capetown, South Africa.
“It’s hard to overstate what Mandela means to South Africans. You hear that he’s considered the father of this nation, that’s not an empty statement. He saw something in us that was better than what we could imagine in ourselves. He inspired us to strive to be better and move beyond our horrific past, to forgive each other and forgive ourselves. And he led by example. His presence and his enormous spirit, capacity to forgive and to love.”
Murray told us about the Grand Parade square in Capetown’s city center, which she visited this morning:
“There was a feeling of sadness, reflection and celebration, too. I think people are trying to remember his life, what he stood for, and celebrate his legacy as well.”
Murray also remembered when Mandela visited her high school:
“As he came down the hallway to our assembly…the entire assembly stood up, in unison, and started applauding, before he even entered the room. And we carried on applauding until he was at the podium and had been there quite a while. He had this enormous presence that swept through the room, and we were completely entranced by him.”
You can find more coverage of Nelson Mandela’s passing from NPR News.