July 18th marks the birthday of one of the most important men in recent African history, Mr. Nelson Mandela, who passed away at the age of 95 in December of 2013.  It is tradition at ASYV to name the family houses in honor of world heroes who inspire the family that occupies the house to reach for the stars. Nelson Mandela is the epitome of that idol, spending almost one third of his life in prison fighting to end the bitter apartheid of the racist government in South Africa. Successful in his battle against segregation, Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994.   

The Nelson Mandela Family is new to the Village as of 2014 and is home to 16 first-year boys who proudly carry his name. I visited the Nelson Mandela family to ask them a few questions about their role model and hear how they felt about the man whose name they honor. Grace NDUWUYUNWE, Family Mama of the Nelson Mandela family said of their naming, “As members of the Nelson Mandela family, we live without separation and strive for justice within ASYV and Rwanda at large. Each member of our family is treated equally and we will work hard together to achieve great things.”  

The boys responses are as followed: 

Q: Why did you want your family to be called the Nelson Mandela Family?

Aime UWIZEYE - He is the inspiration of our family. We want to stand up for what we believe like he did in South Africa. 

Moise MBARUSHIMANA - Nelson Mandela left a legacy that we can be proud of. I am proud of the way he lead South Africa and how he wanted independence for the blacks and to end the apartheid. 

Jean Claude TUYISHIME - Nelson Mandela is the father of Africa. 

Oscar  MURWANASHYAKA - Our family is Nelson Mandela because we have chosen to live in accordance with the values he set for us.  He is a hero in our family and to the people of Africa. 

Pascal Cladien HAKIZIMANA  - Nelson Mandela is a hero and we wish to leave a positive legacy in ASYV like he did in South Africa. 

Roger NTWARI BIZIYAREMYE - Nelson Mandela has a good heart. He spent 27 years in jail in order to give independence to his people. 

Q: What lessons can we learn from Nelson Mandela? 

Thelesphore  BIKORIMANA – Nelson Mandela taught me to be honest and to always try to be patient. We must give support to everyone in order to solve the problems of Rwanda and the world.  

Moise MBARUSHIMANA  - The lesson I learn from Nelson Mandela is that he never gave up on Africa. Me also, I will never give up on Africa. 

Aime UWIZEYE  - What I learned from Nelson Mandela is to be patient. He spent 27 years in prison fighting for his goal and this is something that is very amazing. 

NTWARI BIZIYAREMYE Roger- I learned the importance of justice from Nelson Mandela. He supported the black people of South Africa and he fought for their rights, no matter how impossible the fight. 

Eric MURWANASHYAKA - What I learned from Nelson Mandela is generosity. When he was the president of South Africa he practiced democracy, he was not a dictator. 

Emmanuel- Nelson Mandela is my role model. 

Fabrice MUKARAGE - What I learned from Nelson Mandela is to accept everyone. There are no people who are worth more than others. 

Big Brother Guy  KAMATARI concluded by saying, “Nelson Mandela would be proud of this family. The core values that we live by at ASYV and the way in which this family respects one another, he would look down and be proud to see this family carrying his name.” There is no doubt that the Nelson Mandela Family at ASYV is one of a kind. They will continue to strive to achieve great things with the determination of their hero, Nelson Mandela. 

Submitted by Sasha Friedman, 2014 Village Fellow