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Local Couple Remembers Mandela

Giant photographs of former president Nelson Mandela are displayed at the Nelson Mandela Legacy Exhibition at the Civic Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, June 27, 2013. President Jacob Zuma canceled a trip to Mozambique on Thursday in an indication of heightened concern about Mandela, whose health deteriorated last weekend. (AP Photo)

Giant photographs of former president Nelson Mandela are displayed at the Nelson Mandela Legacy Exhibition at the Civic Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday, June 27, 2013. President Jacob Zuma canceled a trip to Mozambique on Thursday in an indication of heightened concern about Mandela, whose health deteriorated last weekend. (AP Photo)

AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) Р While the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, the reaches of his legacy extend all the way to Western Mass.

Mzamo and Zengie Mangaliso grew up in South Africa and they remember being children in the apartheid country. At that time, Nelson Mandela’s teachings were forced underground by a country that banned all materials associated with him. But his beliefs were kept alive by the suppressed families.

“Mandela when we were growing up was kind of a mythical figure out there, trying to fix things,” said Mzamo Mangaliso, an Associate Professor at UMass.

His wife Zengie, a Professor at Western State University has similar memories.

“I grew up in a house where my dad talked about this man who was trying to do something about some of these disparities that we were growing up seeing,” she said.

Nelson Mandela’s teachings had been so censored that it wasn’t until Mzamo and Zengie moved to the United States that they first heard his speeches and saw his picture.

“I could see why my father revered him so much,” remembered Zengie.

Now that Nelson Mandela is gone, the Mangaliso’s say there are simple lessons that the future generations can learn from him.

“Anything is possible in life. you may be born of very, very disadvantaged backgrounds but you may arise to be the highest thing that you would want to be. In his case he was a prisoner one day and then the next day he was president,” Mzamo said.

For Zengei, the lesson is a philosophy to live by.

“Not all of us can be Mandelas but in our little corners, we can leave this world a little bit better,” she explained.

Mzamo told us that he feels the important thing for all of us to remember is just how privileged we all are to be able to say that we walked the earth at the same time as Nelson Mandela.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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