ALBANY, N.Y. – Former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela died Thursday, and he was mourned by people all over the world. Two Capital Region women recalled how his legacy impacted their lives.
Alice Green of the Center for Law and Justice was visiting a maximum security prison the day Mandela was released from a South African prison.
She said, "I watched the men who were watching this with me who were in prison for very serious offenses. I saw them crying because he represented hope for them."
Green eventually travelled to South Africa and stood in the cell that held Mandela for 27 years.
Penelope Andrews is the President and Dean of the University of Albany Law School. She was born and raised under apartheid in South Africa. She met Mandela when their paths crossed while they both fought the racial segregation system.
He also wrote the foreword to one of her books.
"Mandela was a symbol of what we were hoping to achieve; a symbol of reconciliation, of non-racialism," she said. "He was a symbol of justice. He was more than iconic. He was mystical."
Both Green and Andrews have committed their lives to fighting for equal rights and social justice. Mandela's legacy will continue to light the way.
Green said, "[Mandela] showed us how to forgive but stay true to our course and what we believe in."
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