Event to celebrate Nelson Mandela with discussion of his life and work

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

Connecticut College students, faculty and staff will come together Monday, Dec. 9, at noon to celebrate and discuss the life and work of Nelson Mandela.

At the event, “Mandela: Recollection,” attendees will be encouraged to share anecdotes, personal experiences and other ways Mandela, who passed away Dec. 5 at the age of 95, has influenced their lives.  

“His story is almost larger than life,” said Government and International Relations Professor Tristan Borer, who was inspired by Mandela to make human rights issues her life’s work.

Borer said she was a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame when Mandela was released from prison in 1990. She soon went to South Africa to witness the country’s transformation firsthand, then applied “on a whim” to be a United Nations election observer during the first non-racial elections in 1994.

“We saw people standing in line for days,” she said. “It was really amazing to witness it.”

Borer was in the crowd when Mandela was inaugurated as the first president under the country’s new constitution. Since then, she has researched and written extensively on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. More recently, her research has focused on Western media portrayals of distant human rights abuses, especially in African countries.

Borer and several other professors will share and discuss with students their stories about Mandela’s work and impact at Monday’s event. Chemistry professor Marc Zimmer, a native of South Africa who has taken several groups of students to the country for a full semester of study through the College’s Study Away/Teach Away program, said he hopes all attendees will learn something new.

“There was much more to the man than what you see on the news now,” Zimmer said.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is in the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room in Shain Library.


December 6, 2013