Nelson Mandela's Legacy: Lessons From South African Parents And Teens

27/01/2015 17:35 | Updated 22 May 2015

South Africans share Mandela's lessons

Craig Kielburger is the co-founder, with his brother Marc Kielburger, of the Free the Children charity.

Peace. Perseverance. Pride. Parents and children in South Africa sing the praises of the man they call 'tata,' which means father in his native Xhosa language. Nelson Mandela was known for liberating his people, but he was also the children's champion.

While here attending memorial events commemorating the death of one of the world's greatest heroes, I spoke with many parents and young people about how we can carry on Mandela's legacy.

Parents talked about what they hoped for their children, in the name of Mandela. Children told me how Mandela inspired them to try to achieve great things.

Meet some of the parents and children I met in South Africa -- at the state memorial in Johannesburg, to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where Mandela lay in state, to Qunu, in Eastern Cape region where he grew up, and now, is buried.

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Lennon Zengeya, 23, with son Brendon. Office worker, Johannesburg

"The biggest lesson I learned from Madiba is freedom and peace. I want to teach my son how to live the values of freedom and peace. And teach my son that there was a big man from South Africa, a man of the whole world, a hero, a legend."

Sange Ngqaho, 15. Grade 9 student, Qunu, Eastern Cape

"I come from where Nelson Mandela is from and I want to be an engineer and fix cars when I grow. For children to be successful, they should stay away from drugs, and alcohol, and don't walk around the street after dark. Oh, and study hard."

Nosabelo Kaingara, 24, with her son, Ntsika, 14 months. Mother, Qunu, Eastern Cape

"I pray my son will be like Mandela. He will go to school and be wise. When I was young, I had many hardships. I hope he will have a better life than me. No hardships and no suffering. I think a good education is the first step."

Unathi Gantana, 16, High School Student, East London, Eastern Cape

"I learned about Nelson Mandela when I was in Grade 7. I learned about his courage and his sacrifice. I learned from his story that if we are knocked down, we should get back up again and keep going.

But first you have to figure out what you believe in."

Riona Bellem, 18. High school student. East London, Eastern Cape

"I'm someone who knows how to push for what they want. I think I'm like Mandela in that way. I really want to go to varsity (university) but my parents don't have the funds. But I believe that if you want something bad enough you can come up with solutions. My best advice is to know in your heart what you want, and then go for it!"

Christelle Hulley, 47, Guest House manager, Butterworth, Eastern Cape

"I have three daughters, 7, 11 and 15. I want my children to live keep Mandela's memory alive by being honest. He was a very honest man. And he was a person of peace. And if anything needed to be fixed he was always there to fix it up. I hope my children can be like that."

Sibongiseni, 30. Maintenance supervisor, Butterworth, Eastern Cape

"My daughter, Millisa, is six years old. I want her to have peace with different cultures and love each other. Everyone must have peace. He struggled so we could have schools and education. She can carrying on his dream by being educated."

Edward Giuaka, 36, Driver, Johannesburg

"My daughters are eight and four, and in the name of Mandela, I would like them to be educated, and believe in themselves. And I want them to know that if you have different ideas that someone, it doesn't mean that you are an enemy of that person. Like Mandela, I want them to persevere in everything they do."

Yamkela Matrose, 15. Grade 11 student, Qunu, Eastern Cape

"My dream is to succeed in life and make my mark, like Mandela. I want to be a solder and fight for my country. I don't smoke or drink, which makes you mentally dead and raise a hand to other people."

Monica Ntimana, 29, with Grace, five months. Administrative assistant, Pretoria

"As she grows up, I will keep telling my daughter stories about apartheid and how it was before in this country. I want her to understand the power of education, and that we can all follow our dreams - like Mandela - and become what we want to be."

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