MOUNT VERNON – Ndaba Mandela continued following in his grandfather, Nelson Mandela’s, footsteps of activism and inspiration by visiting two Mount Vernon City School District schools to discuss how students can foster change in the world themselves on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.
Ndaba Mandela visited Nelson Mandela/Dr. Hosea Zollicoffer School to discuss his grandfather’s legacy and his own activism. He participated in a roundtable discussion with students at Mount Vernon High School.
Mr. Mandela was recently nominated for an International Emmy for his series “The Mandela Project,” and he took the opportunity of being in New York to speak to students. Nakia Hiland, who worked on “The Mandela Project” and is the new director of the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau program Safe Place for Our Girls, invited Mr. Mandela to Mount Vernon to speak to students and explain the impact that young people can have in the world.
“We understand that so many individuals today still struggle, but we have people like the descendants of Nelson Mandela to carry his legacy, to speak with youth, to talk about youth empowerment and to talk about education and what that means in terms of where you can end up one day,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith.
Ndaba Mandela told students about Mandela Day, where people celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of public service with 67 minutes of service to their community. He asked students to observe Mandela Day next July 18 with the hope that it snowballs into a lifetime of service.
After he spoke to middle school students, Mr. Mandela went to several classes in NMHZ to answer questions from students that they had prepared with their teachers. He answered their questions and encouraged them to listen to their parents and teachers as they continue growing up.
“It’s all about giving back to your community, about being in service to others,” said Mr. Mandela. “Being a leader is not about being the best. Being a leader is not about being number one. Being a leader is about serving and giving service to those who can’t serve themselves and standing up and being a voice for people who can’t be a voice for themselves.”
At Mount Vernon High School, he answered questions from a panel of students and echoed his message of public service. Students in the audience also had the opportunity to ask questions. He continued to encourage students to strive for positive change, treat everyone equally and challenge themselves to help others.