CMU community reacts to the passing of Nelson Mandela


The international community is mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela, one of the world’s greatest icons for equality and peace.

Nelson Mandela lived a life promoting racial equality and peace against the apartheid government of South Africa for much of his life.

Mandela’s election as South Africa’s first black president in 1994 helped solidify an end to the apartheid government that had been in place for generations.

Across Central Michigan Universities campus, students and faculty expressed their thoughts and condolences on Mandela’s passing and the legacy he left behind.

Professor Jurkiewicz of the Broadcast department recalls the personal struggles of Nelson Mandela throughout his life. “He was up against an incredibly unjust system. Throughout his early adult life was on the run, barely able to have almost anything to do with his family. Sneaking in to see his kids, and then being incarcerated for over a quarter of a century. After that, as he says in many interviews, what helped him get through jail was that you learn to grow, you learn to evolve and you learn to forgive.”

CMU Senior Zach Hetu says, “I think it’s a great loss in general for the international community, he affected a lot of people in a positive way.”

Freshmen Coley Hankis-Betser adds that, “The fact that he spent 27 years in jail, standing up for what he believed in is really inspiring to me. He was a really great guy and it’s always sad to see someone like that in this world pass away.”

CMU also happens to be the current home for one international student from South Africa, Cayleigh Immelman.

Immelman was only two years old when Mandela took office.

She says, “Every generation has different views and I think my generation, as the leaders of tomorrow have been extremely lucky and that we have been brought up in an equal sort of imposed society and I think that we will remember Mandela and especially with his passing and we will sort of put that into place as we become leaders.”

Immelman says friends and faculty at CMU have been kind and supportive since Mandela’s passing.

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