Bay area South Africans react to loss of Nelson Mandela

10:02 PM, Dec 6, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

Tampa, Florida -- There's sadness and celebration in the Tampa Bay area as people think of the life and legacy of South African leader Nelson Mandela. He passed away Thursday night at the age of 95. 

Claude Kershaw and his girlfriend Penny Viljoen say Mandela's incredible sacrifice and commitment to peace lives on.

The two moved to the Bay area last year but were born and raised in South Africa. Kershaw says, "To do what he did and have a peaceful transition from one government to the next in my opinion is beyond miraculous - that it was a non violent transition."

The couple admit they learned a lot while they were growing up about the man who led the struggle against apartheid and would later became the country's first black president. They were born one year after the leader was released from prison where he served a 27 year sentence. 

Kershaw says, "It's actually unimaginable to think that he had the resolve after 30 years to still strive for the same ideals that he did at the time that he was incarcerated. I could not imagine myself coming out of prison and not being bitter and resentful at that time. I think that is probably the reason that makes Mandela so special."

Kershaw says he's not surprised at the images of people gathering outside Mandela's Johannesburg home, dancing and singing to celebrate Mandela's life. Because of him, they are free. Kershaw says, "It's impossible to imagine life as a South Africaner without the influence of Mandela in every day life."

He adds that while his homeland has come a long way, there is still work to do. Kershaw says, "There is still a large disparity in terms of economics in the country and at the moment it's changing but there's still a long way to go."


Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:

#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights

Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights

Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children

Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge

Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond

Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"

CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog

Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband

Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion

Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun

Popular photo galleries:

Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers

Travon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos 

Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant

Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***

Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole

Popular Databases:

Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here

Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here

Tammie Fields, 10 News

Most Watched Videos