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Cave Hill Campus Remembers Nelson Mandela

For Release Upon Receipt - Friday, December 6, 2013

 by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

Principal & Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Cave Hill campus

Humanity’s journey to justice and the celebration of its uncompromising oneness has long been found in the solemn soul and eruptive spirit of its finest children.

Nelson Mandela came to the attention of the world as a young man when he forged a forceful leadership of the global anti apartheid struggle.

It took the finest of minds to conceptutlize and lead the struggle to uproot chattel slavery from the world in the 19th century. It took us all of the 20th century to eradicate the legacies of slavery in the form of racial apartheid.

Nelson led this 20th century campaign and his life became a symbol of the effort to free humanity from the abomination of racial discrimination.

On his release from 27 years of imprisonment I was honoured to be a part of a national effort to organize the Free Mandela Rally at Farley Hill National Park. Over 10,000 people gathered to witness the moment of liberation. Barbados did itself proud that day.

Again, I felt honoured to be a part of the ceremony to officially launch the Nelson Mandela Freedom park at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies on 8th July, 2013. We had hoped that this space of reflection about the value of freedom would be completed in time for an invitation to be extended to Nelson. This was not to be.

On that occasion I described him as the “quintessential voice of humanity who provided the moral and spiritual framework within which humanity can reach its highest ethical peak”.

These symbolic acts of solidarity originated in two primary personal sources; my role as a student agitator in the anti apartheid campaign in England during the 1970s; and the effect upon my consciousness of meeting him that reinforced in my inner being the power of human forgiveness and ethical decision making.     

My social and intellectual admiration for this man, this father, this patron of humanity, knows no boundary. I feel  proud, as a university man, that we at the Cave Hill Campus took the decision months ago to serve as custodian of his legacy and memory in the form of the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park.  No day will pass without his name being uttered in this place; this space dedicated to peace, justice and human dignity.”





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