For my Interview I asked my mother about her experience when Nelson Mandela came to New York on June 21st, 1990. At the time my mother was living in New York City and working for Scholastic. Nelson Mandela had just been released from prison on Robben Island in February of that year. He was arrested for conspiracy and sabotage to overthrow the South African government. Mandela was release after serving 27 years, and he came to New York City both to show the people that he was free but also to give a speech on some of his key issuessuch as the Apartheid in South Africa. Her manager at work had given everyone the day off so that they could see Nelson Mandela. She recollects that when she first saw him, “He was standing up and just waving… He had the ‘Nelson Mandela Smile’ the whole time… It didn’t feel like an event that needed to [have] heightened security.”
The atmosphere was a happy one. Everyone was celebrating and hopeful of what the future could bring. When asked about what the crowd was like she said, “It was everyone… what it meant to the African Community in New York was another aspect to that day. It represented something to them that was probably quite unique… I can’t recall anyone else having that impact.”
My mother remembers the sound of the day more than anything. When he came into view, she said the sound was deafening. Her recollection of the day is here:
Kifner, John. “The Mandela Visit; Mandela Gets an Emotional New York City
Welcome.” The New York Times, 21 June 1990, Accessed 5 Sept. 2016.
“Why was Nelson Mandela imprisoned for 27 years?” Reference.com,
nelson-mandela-imprisoned-27-years-a0d6f2bb63b05efd. Accessed 5 Sept. 2016.