KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Born and raised in the country transformed by the anti-Apartheid icon, Kansas City resident Leon Versfeld finds sadness but celebration in the passing of icon Nelson Mandela.
"How fortunate are we to live during the lifetime of this great man? His legacy will probably outlive all of us," he said.
Versfeld was born in South Africa while the country was still in the grip of Apartheid. Mandela led the country to democracy and became the first black president.
"The fact that his death in South Africa is celebrated by both black and white is indicative of this great man," Versfeld said.
He was in his last days of high school in South Africa when Mandela was freed after 27 years in prison. What he remembers most are Mandela's wise words.
"One of my favorite sayings that he had was 'no person is born to hate one another because of the color of their skin or because of their background or because of their religion. People must learn to hate. And if they can learn to hate, they can also be taught to love,'" Versfeld said.