The Mandelas

Yesterday’s morning session began with an inspiring and interactive presentation by Lerato Ngobeni and Luvuyo Madasa. What we did not know until the end of the presentation was that Luvuyo is Nelson Mandela’s grandson. (He was familiar with Richmond, Virginia and Collegiate School as he received a basketball scholarship to Saint Anne’s-Belfield which then turned into an academic scholarship for college.) Due to time constraints, the presenters managed to combine a one day presentation on legacy, heritage, activism, leadership, and future into a two hour session. The entire session was summarized through an incredible slam poem by Mr. Madasa. The afternoon was filled with debates where students were encouraged to hold civil discourse by arguing against a point and not the debater. The evening wrapped up with a talent show after dinner, which was a well-deserved break after the hard work students have been doing  throughout the week. Each of our students performed a piece with their family group, and then were treated to a special guest performance by local musical artists.

Today, was an EARLY wake-up day due to a change in the original schedule of the program thanks to the generosity of the King of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi. After his interactions with the students, he wanted to ensure the festival attendees had the opportunity to engage with exhibits at the Nelson Mandela Foundation Center of Memory: Living the Legacy. This field trip helped bring theory from the week’s activities alive into practice. The students heard from our very own Mr. Boyd with reflections from the week, a representative from NBA in Africa, and poet Lebo Mashile in the same auditorium that has hosted famous guests such as Drake and President Obama. After these presentations, the students explored the exhibits and even got to set foot in Nelson Mandela’s office. The students had a bagged lunch from McDonald’s for the 2-hour plus bus ride back to campus. Tonight, students enjoyed a traditional South African braai (known in the U.S. as a barbecue) for dinner. Before enjoying their last night together in family groups, the students heard one more poetry presentation.

This week has flown by quickly and it’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of the Leadership Festival. It will be hard to tell our new friends goodbye. We are looking forward to experiencing some more South African culture through our weekend adventures.