By Jin Kim
The African Student Association, Black Student Union, Sigma Gamma Rho and the Nyumburu Cultural Center held a peace walk and tribute in remembrance of Nelson Mandela on Wednesday evening.
The walk began at 4:30 p.m. at the Memorial Chapel and led into a tribute event at the Nyumburu Cultural Center, where roughly 40 students gathered to remember and learn about the South African leader.
“I’m just really thankful that there was something on campus to commemorate him,” said Kosi Dunn, a South African freshman who recently visited South Africa.
Throughout the afternoon, speakers and presenters shifted between emotional tributes and educational presentations, and from photo montages to lessons about Mandela’s life history.
“Does the number 46,664 mean anything to you?” Black Student Union speaker Roland Zama asked, referring to Mandela’s prison number.
“If you take anything away by the end of today, I want you to know that number.”
As refreshments were served at the end of the event, attendees expressed disappointment in the lack of diversity in the students in attendance.
“I mean, everybody here is black,” said African Student Association president Amara Ndumele.
“Being on a diverse campus, this is unfortunate. It would have been great to get a mix of people and their perspectives.”
Attendees also expressed disappointment in the small turnout, which barely filled half of the seats in the room.
“I expect Mandela to be a more significant figure for people,” said Dunn.
“Maybe I’m biased, but I think there should have been more.”
Organizers and attendees attributed the small turnout to a lack of outreach.
“I do wish more people came, but I think we were successful,” said Ndumele.
“My hope is that these students will educate others.”
“You make progress through participation,” said Dr. Ronald Zeigler, director of the Nyumburu Cultural Center.
“Those who attended – I think they were immersed.”