I stepped into the ballroom at the student center to the sound of drums; the playing of
drums always sets me at ease, which was nice because I wasn’t particularly thrilled to be
attending the lecture when I first got there. As I walked around looking at little kid’s drawings on
the walls a gray haired man welcomed everyone and we found our seats. He was followed
shortly by a woman and then a man named Imara spoke of a time when he was able to sit down
and speak with Nelson Mandela personally. Then a larger lady with glasses and a friendly smile
took the stand and spoke about her travels to South Africa which led to a smooth transition into
the story the next two speakers told of their childhood growing in South Africa under apartheid.
Though I felt I knew a large majority of the information being presented to me, it’s the little
things that really seem to stand out, a mannerism of Mandela’s that is similar to your
grandfather’s or the acts of injustice that were allowed in Africa and how Mandela helped end
those atrocities just two years after I was born. It’s one of the many moments when you realize
the world is more flawed than you previously believed.
The tone shifted a tad bit and a woman came out and told the story of the Shaffer Chapel,
back in 1930 two black teenagers were kidnapped from the Marion jail and they were hanged
from a tree on the front lawn of a courthouse. The members of the Shaffer Chapel went to the
boys’ corpses and gave them a proper burial. A Reverend then came out and spoke of the
reconciliation act in 2003 where ten black and ten white clergymen came together at the very
same tree and held hands as a symbol of reconciliation. He was followed by the mayors of both
Marion and Muncie. Two songs were played by an ensemble and then Mandela’s inaugural
address was read followed by some closing remarks. All in all I enjoyed the event, I learned a
decent amount, about things I ignorantly thought I already knew a decent amount about, and the
speakers were relatively quick, each person took no more than twenty minutes.