Inspired through the efforts of Nelson Mandela, 12 New York students had the opportunity to travel to South Africa and make their own impression on the world.
A city-wide contest through the Department of Education selected the top 12 essays amongst over 1000 entries, giving winners the chance to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Of the 12 winner, 6 students reside in the Bronx.
On behalf of 46664, an organization launched to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and continue Mandela’s humanitarian efforts, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, students were sent to Johannesburg, Africa from Monday, June 1 through Thursday, June 4.
During their trip the youth had a chance to attend a play, ‘Khululeka,’ tour the Apartheid Museum, and view an African Umoja musical performance.
“The Apartheid museum was nothing like the ones you see in New York. There was graffiti on the wall but in relation to how we can make an imprint on the world,” said Tevin Jackson, student of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Manhattan and Wakefield resident. “We also saw a musical that told the story of how South African music has changed over the years.”
Adding to their trip, the New Yorkers had a chance to interact with student of South Africa and meet Nelson Mandela.
“Meeting Nelson Mandela was the highlight of my life. The entire trip was an amazing experience,” said Christina Johnson, student of the Renaissance High School for Musical Theater and Technology and Bronx Blvd. resident.
The focus of the trip was to create a global student charter in order to relay Mandela’s message for a call to action and change, as well as support the concept of creating an official annual ‘Mandela Day’ on July 18.
“The charter is basically to emulate Nelson Mandela’s principals and continue is legacy,” said Johnson. “It’s something everyone can follow, made for youth by youth.”