Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Local Ties to Nelson Mandela
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
ITHACA (WENY) -- Cornell Professor Grant Farred grew up during Apartheid in South Africa, living day to day with segregation, violence, and unrest.
"Mine is a generation that grew up in the face of violence, we experienced that directly," said Farred.
He moved to the U-S in August 1989 to go to school, and has gone back to South Africa every year since. He knows all too well what his country would be like, had it not been for Nelson Mandela.
"The society I knew all my life until graduate school was divided, racially stratified, unequal society," said Farred. "My generation gave everything it could in the cause of a free South Africa, a democratic South Africa."
Mandela worked endlessly for equality and freedom. Rights Farred says the so-called "Born Free" generation takes for granted.
He questioned: "What does this generation make of it's own responsibility? To this inequity? Their own contribution to this? Is this a me first generation?"
It's with a heavy heart Farred says goodbye to a leader he says changed the fabric of his nation. But he thinks there's an opportunity for self- reflection here.
"It's an opportunity for South Africans to ask, yes Mandela has passed, who are we? And perhaps more importantly, what have we become? And what do we want to become from this moment on?," said Farred.
He says honoring the needs of the moment is the best way to honor the death of Nelson Mandela