Congressman Coble Met Nelson Mandela in South Africa

11:56 PM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Nelson Mandela's story is told around the world - and his legacy is one for the history books. 

READ: Nelson Mandela Dies

Professor Kwame Shabazz teaches about Mandela at Winston-Salem State University.

"The important message is that Mandela has laid the foundation for something more positive and that struggle has been a model for people all over the world and I think that is really what his legacy is," explained Shabazz.

He says Mandela is responsible for creating a new South Africa, "where all people...can live and co-exist in ways that respects the rights of all peoples."

Elon University Professor Prudence Layne takes students to South Africa each year "as part of a program where we study comparatively the fight for civil rights and democracy in the United States and South Africa."

She says on the trip, she takes students "traveling in the footsteps of so many who fought and struggled," including Mandela's.

"I don't know if we will see the likes of a Mandela in our lifetime, but I'm pretty confident that we will again have that kind of leadership. We don't know when, but we know that it will come, But until that day comes, I think we all need to look for the Mandela in all of us," explained Layne.

"That resilience, that spirit of forgiveness, of reconciliation, of hope, of promise, and of really turning our tests into testimonies of hope and of peace."

North Carolina Congressman Howard Coble met Mandela in South Africa shortly after he was released from jail in 1990.

He called him an impressive man and says it was an honor to meet him.

"He was very unassuming, that was the feature that impressed me most favorably. I mean he was after-all an international celebrity but a down to earth guy," said Coble.

Although their meeting was short - it left a lasting impact on Coble.

"I think he was a great man."

Coble added, "He was an outstanding leader in the world and accomplished a lot in South Africa."

READ: World Grieves Nelson Mandela's Death

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