Nelson Mandela's grandchildren speak to Concord students

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Students at the Cannon School in Concord were a captive audience as they listened to a group from Johnson C. Smith's RUN-GLOBAL Communication Team.

They came for Cannon's "Nelson Mandela Day" and used the framework of the anti-apartheid leader's life to help the students understand their own purpose and contribution to society.

"They were motivating us that we could do what we wanted to do, like if we had a dream we could take that dream and go forward with it,” seventh-grader Mary Morrison said.

JCSU junior Zwelabo Mandela was one of the speakers at Wednesday’s event.  He is the grandson of Nelson Mandela. 

"If you're able to be comfortable with yourself and pursue whatever it is that you want to do passionately, then you're able to bring great change to this world," he said.

While the world remembers the former South African president as a global hero for equality, Mandela's granddaughter Dineo Seakamela, a junior JCSU Communications major, also spoke today and said she wanted the children to understand the idea that leadership can be demonstrated in simple actions we take on a daily basis. 

"Feeding a homeless person or standing up for someone who's voice may not be as well developed as theirs -- just having the courage to stand up for something and someone in life," she said.

Mpumi Nobiva said that courage can come through the power of education.  The JCSU sophomore was a part of the first graduating class at Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for girls in South Africa.

"I think the starting point of leadership is that you can accept your circumstance, but understand you are not necessarily defined by it." Nobiva said. "You have the power to create your own destiny."

The RUN-GLOBAL Communication Team hopes to continue to spread their messages to other Charlotte-area schools and outside the Carolinas.