Though physically imprisoned for over 27 years, Nelson Mandela’s spirit always remained free.
Photo by Louise Gubb/Corbis
Local residents and business owners reflect on the life of Nelson Mandela
Words cannot express how many lives Nelson Mandela impacted worldwide with his life and journey. As the world mourns his loss, the local community reflects on the man, who will be remembered as one of the greatest trailblazers for racial and social justice of our time.
Crenshaw residents and business owners shared their feelings about Mandela and the impact he had on them and the world.
“Mr. Mandela to Africa is like Martin Luther King, Jr. to us in the U.S.,” said local resident, Dorothy.
“The best, the greatest,” said local resident, Jewel about Mandela. “A man we will always remember for all the things he did.
“A man of the world—he’s just somebody I’ve always admired, looked up to—all the wonderful things he did for everybody.
“He’s going to be greatly, sadly missed.”
“Living in Southern Africa, Namibia and the power that the man possessed as far as being instrumental in not only his country but the neighboring country of Namibia, it’s profound,” said local resident, Tanya. His wisdom, his exquisite speech and his heart for the people—black, white, no matter what, he made everyone fill like they belonged.”
“Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest men that has lived,” said local resident, Barbara. “He has changed the nation, not only Southern Africa but he has changed race relations in the world but it still shows us how far we still have to go to reach the freedom from racial prejudice.
“He’s a great man—going to be missed.”
“One of the greatest human beings to ever live on this earth,” said Ron Graves of Hair Architects in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
“Very sad, very touching, I think anybody that knows anything about African history, knows Mandela, knows what he meant to this world, not just this country but to all mankind.
“To be able to have the forgiveness in his heart, to able to move on and not carry any malice—an insurmountable, incredible man.”
“I feel sad,” said a local resident. “He was a great man at a very critical time.
“When he was in Los Angeles… I didn’t get a chance to shake his hand but I really wanted to do that.”
“Even though you knew he was pretty ill, it was still surprisingly moving,” said James Fugate of Eso Won Book Store in Leimert Park. “He lived an incredible life and [was] a great humanitarian, who was able to put the pain of 27 years behind him to try and help his people the best way he could—he was a great man.”
“I was just very sad and very shocked to hear that Nelson Mandela had made his transition but also relieved he was out of pain and misery,” said Aminah Muhammad of Crescent Books, Videos & Art in Leimert Park. “It was a day of reckoning, reflecting back, looking at his past…and the great work that he did…we thank God that he was blessed to be on this earth and we pray that he fulfilled his purpose.”
“We feel sad but yet we feel he accomplished what he was meant to do in this world,” said Obinne Emmanuel Onyeador of African Heritage & Antique Collection in Leimert Park. “It was time for him to go but the whole world cries knowing that he is our hero.”