CLC Meets History


On Wednesday, February 15th, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Ndaba Mandela, visited Central to speak with freshman and sophomore students. He shared his grandfather’s story along with his own, inspiring students to make a difference in their community and to dream big.

Nelson Mandela was the president of South Africa in the 1990s. He dedicated his life to serving his people and ending the apartheid segregation system in Africa. His legacy continues in his grandson, Ndaba Mandela, whose foundation, Africa Rising, is dedicated to eradicating negative stereotypes of Africa around the world and to empowering the people of Africa by increasing education and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Despite his remarkable accomplishments and impressive heritage, Ndaba Mandela is surprisingly approachable. He is an admirer of Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson, and his music tastes include but are not limited to hip-hop, jazz, reggae, and techno house music. On the day of his presentation, he wore a nice suit paired with black Converse shoes, revealing to the crowd his fun loving personality. And although an avid reader of nonfiction books, Mandela admits to never having read his grandfather’s book, which he conceded he should probably get around to doing.

So what makes Ndaba Mandela special? The secret lies not with his heritage or his intelligence but in the passion and drive he possesses to make his dreams a reality. He stresses that every person has the potential for greatness; however, if you don’t believe in yourself and your cause, then achieving success can be especially difficult. He says that your passion and dedication “become very important down the line when you run into obstacles and people who don’t believe in you…because then you will give up easily.¨

But for a lot of us, overcoming these types of obstacles, particularly ignoring the opinions of others, can be very difficult. It’s hard not to become angry or dejected when we encounter people who don’t believe in us. Even if we know that we are capable, we can become frustrated. However, Mandela says not to argue with those who doubt you or to give up on yourself because of a few close-minded people. He made an excellent point, stating that “you can’t argue with a fool, or you will become a fool yourself.” Sometimes, you simply have to walk away.  Yet, Mandela also reminds us not to shut out those who don’t believe in our potential. He explained that “just because they are limited, [it] doesn’t mean you have to hate them.” His message of tolerance and respect for all is crucial in avoiding and resolving harmful conflicts with others so that we can progress our society forward.

In the end, Ndaba Mandela wanted students to realize that everyone has the potential to do great things and make a difference in their community. Nothing is holding you back. Find your passion, and avoid allowing exterior pressures to shake your convictions. Above all, don’t allow the fear of failure to cause you to give up your vision. Mandela said during his presentation that your dreams should be so big that they scare you. So find your passion and as Ndaba Mandela said, “become the change you want to see.”