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University community mourns Nelson Mandela
University of Sussex staff and students have begun paying tribute to South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday (Thursday 5 December) aged 95.
Sussex’s links with Nelson Mandela and South Africa began in the 1960s, when an anti-apartheid movement was set up at the University.
The University and the Students’ Union established Mandela Scholarships in 1973 to enable black students from South Africa to study at Sussex.
Today it continues this tradition by offering two or three postgraduate scholarships per year to Southern African students or those from countries within the south African region from communities that have been disadvantaged through apartheid.
South African Kayaletu Tshiki is a current Sussex student who is studying at the University under the Mandela Scholarship.
Speaking to BBC Sussex radio this morning, he said: “I was over the moon to receive the Nelson Mandela Scholarship. The association with the man himself is an incredible thing for any young, black South African to be associated with.
“For me Nelson Mandela is not only a political leader but he is a symbol of hope. He inspires us and is a symbol of inspiration for many young, black South Africans.
"It is a great loss but it is also a time to remember a life well lived. We have lost him - we are saddened by that but we are also celebrating his achievements.”
Professor Harry Rajak, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Mandela Scholarship Fund, has paid tribute today to the “outstanding example” set by Nelson Mandela.
Professor Rajak said: “It was a proud moment indeed when in 1973 the Students’ Union of the University of Sussex established the scholarship fund for the benefit of disadvantaged South African students and were authorized to name it in honour of Nelson Mandela.
“We have felt touched by his greatness and proud to have been able to use our energy and resources to do something which we knew enjoyed his support.
“Throughout his life, Nelson Mandela made a monumental contribution, not only to the people of South Africa but to people everywhere through his profound commitment to the liberation and advancement of those who suffer oppression.
“We will continue to honour him by doing what we can through the Mandela Scholarship Fund in the hope that those who benefit from it will use their talents and energy to fight for the causes for which Mandela fought.
“The world has lost a great person, but is left with an outstanding example for the pursuit of peace, co-operation and goodwill for the benefit of all.”
Mandela Hall in Falmer House, the home of the Students’ Union, was named in Nelson Mandela’s honour in 1978 as a mark of respect for his dedication to the anti-apartheid movement.
The Students’ Union said in a statement today that they were “saddened” to learn of the passing of an “inspirational figure”.
They said: “Nelson Mandela galvanised support from students and people across the world for the anti-apartheid movement. His commitment to social justice, equality and education truly inspired a generation and will live on as testament to his courage and humility.”