Ndaba Mandela, grandson of the late Nelson Mandela, was the keynote speaker at the MLK Luncheon.
The powerful words from Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech started off Mandela’s speech From Prisoner to President: The Mandela Legacy Lives On. The topics he discussed ranged from African stereotypes to following your dreams.
After seeing the misrepresentation of Africa, Mandela co-founded Africa Rising to counteract the negative images.
“Africa Rising was born because we realized that people had very limited knowledge of Africa and the limited information they have is perpetuated by mainstream media showcasing Africa’s poorest,” said Mandela. “As if the only positive thing that comes out of the African content is safaris, which is animals.”
Mandela hails from Johannesburg, South Africa and during his time there he lived with his grandfather Nelson Mandela. While living with his grandfather, Ndaba saw one of the most powerful leaders up close.
“Nelson Mandela comes from a very poor community,” said Mandela. “But he was able to rise above and become one of the greatest leaders in the world’s history. You have the same power that Nelson Mandela had, but you need to look within yourself and release that power.”
Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson and Fidel Castro all visited Nelson Mandela’s mansion, and Ndaba said that he treated them the same way he treated people from the village.
Mandela praised the physical barriers that have already been broken, but acknowledged mental barriers that people, particularly minorities, still have to overcome.
“Our ancestors have broken the physical chains,” said Mandela, “[but] the chains still exist in our mind and mentality.”
Even though there weren’t many students in attendance, Ndaba had a special message for the younger generation.
“Young people, dream so big it scares you. If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough,” said Mandela. “If you are not passionate about your job quit today.”
As Mandela exited the stage, he was met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
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