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Mandela Grandson Comes to Mason

By Buzz McClain, BA '77 on November 26, 2018


For Siyabulela Mandela, Mason’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) was the only place he felt he could continue the legacy of his late grandfather, Nelson Mandela, fighting for freedom and justice.

“As far as my profession is concerned, Mason is known as one of the leading universities in peace research,” says Mandela. “Even my perspectives in conflict resolution have been shaped by scholars from S-CAR. That’s how I ended up here. There was no other place.”

Siyabulela Mandela

Siyabulela Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, wants to “deepen his knowledge” of conflict resolution at Mason’s S-CAR. Photo by Ron Aira

This is Mandela’s first trip to the United States. He is a visiting scholar at S-CAR, working on his PhD dissertation, “Preventative Diplomacy and Conflict Prevention in Africa.

His research, he says, is influenced by Mason professors he studied as an undergraduate at Nelson Mandela University at Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape, South Africa, where he is on the faculty as a lecturer in peace studies.

“I am trying to find innovative ways of resolving conflict in Africa. What I seek to understand is why these conflicts continue irrespective of all forms of trying to solve them. I have reached a conclusion, which I am here to work deeper on: The conflicts continue because most conflicts in Africa revolve around issues of basic human needs.”

Mandela says it was the legacy of his grandfather that drew him to the field of conflict resolution. “I want to experience an Africa that is at peace with itself.”


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