Riverside County NAACP Official Reflects on Mandela's Human Dignity

News Thursday of former South African president Nelson Mandela's passing hit home in Riverside County.

"The death of Nelson Mandela was received with great sorrow for the loss of a man known as the Father of South Africa," said Mary Venerable, president of the Lake Elsinore NAACP Branch 1034.

Mandela died Thursday night South Africa time at the age of 95. He had battled health issues in recent years, including a recurring lung infection that led to numerous hospitalizations.

"We are reminded that he lived a long life working for the rights of the people of South Africa," Venerable said. "President Mandela’s goal and objectives were related to the goals of the NAACP and our Branch. We are influenced by his actions after spending 27 years as a political prisoner which served to support the actions of our Branch to develop community support activities."

Venerable said Mandela's memory shall always serve.

"We were encouraged by his efforts to end apartheid and we will hold to his efforts to end discrimination in our nation. We will honor him at our Black History Month Celebration in February 2014 during which we will recognize him as a leader who promoted the ideals of human dignity, freedom and democratic values," she added.

Lake Elsinore, the second oldest city in the county, was the first city in the state to elect an African American mayor, Thomas R. Yarborough, in 1964. He was first elected to the council in 1948, and today the city maintains a park in his name.

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said that with "the passing of Nelson Mandela, the world has lost one of its greatest teachers—a model of compassion, strength, and peace."

The world reflected on Mandela and his legacy Dec. 5.

Reported by Lake Elsinore Patch Editor Toni McAllister


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