February 11, 1990 and February 11, 2000 are two dates that never will be forgotten by the present writer. The first date was the day that the world celebrated the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of prison for his fight against white racism and oppression in South Africa. The second date was the day South Carolina released the writer from a 10 year legal obligation to leave Howard University to return to teach at a university in South Carolina.
Nelson Mandela’s release from prison should never be forgotten because of the way he walked from bondage. His attitude toward the nation that held him in prison for 27 years was a lesson in both humility and forgiveness that may never be repeated in the history of the world. Today Howard University will celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela in a special symposium with scholars from around the world who will gather on the Howard University campus to remember Mandela and his long walk to freedom.
Being held in prison 27 years is a horror far greater than being held by a contract to teach. The coincidence of the February 11th release date only serves as a means to remember the lessons that Nelson Mandela taught the world about the power of reconciliation and forgiveness. He forgave South Africa for the horrors of Apartheid and years of oppression against his people. The events at Howard will be a learning experience and a musical tribute to Mandela and the lessons he taught the world.
Howard University was the first university in the world to honor Alex Haley after his death on February 11, 1992, in a week long celebration of his life and his work. The university has been a national leader in recognizing the achievements of great black men and women since it was founded. The tribute to Mandela will culminate in a musical concert in the Cramton Auditorium that is free to the public at 7 pm.
Professor Metze was the Professor of the Year (UGSA) at Howard University in 1998 and the Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year (HUSA) in 2000 at Howard University. He took his full retirement from Howard to move to West Africa to become chancellor of a university program. His students in Africa presented protest speeches to fight for Mandela's release from prison in 1984.
The Nelson Mandela Day at Howard University begins at 8:30 a.m. The musical concert in memory of Nelson Mandela begins at 7 p.m.