AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - As the world continues to mourn the death of former South African president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, residents right here in Augusta share their reactions.
"Nelson Mandela has always felt like an extended part of my family," said Tina Marshall-Bradley, the Associate Director of Academic Affairs at Paine College.
She said the death of the 95-year-old world icon did not shock her.
"When he was hospitalized earlier, I felt the time had come," Marshall Bradley said. "If anyone deserved this rest, certainly, Madiba deserves this rest."
But instead of mourning, Marshall-Bradley said she is celebrating his life.
"He fought so hard and accomplished so much and was such a statesman and, I believe, a good person. I never met him but I do feel his work was done," Marshall-Bradley said.
Mandela spent 27 years in prison for challenging South Africa's white-rule apartheid government but would go on to be their nation's first black president.
"I felt like I was a living part of history," recalled Marshall-Bradley. "I read about many of the freedom fighters, from Martin Luther King to Malcolm X but Mandela was someone of our time. He was someone we could emulate; someone we could follow and learn from, in order to fight injustice wherever we saw it."
Mandela has received more than 260 awards and over four decades, most notably the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 but Dr. Mallory Millender, Paine College's historian, said his legacy reaches far beyond any honor he could receive.
"Anything can be achieved if you go about it in the right way and it doesn't matter how humble you are, or how low your status in life is, if you try," Millender said. "If you strive for the right things, if you have good will and love in your heart, it can be achieved."