WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Two of Nelson Mandela’s granddaughters appeared at a special event at the Verizon Center Saturday night. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis were on hand for the ceremony before the game against the Pistons.
“It’s hard for us to be here, but at the same time I know my grandfather would have wanted us to continue his legacy in some way,” says Swati Mandela. “He dedicated his entire life to changing peoples’ lives and to giving back.”
Mandela died on Dec. 5 in South Africa. In order to carry on his legacy of helping others, his granddaughters presented both teams with a limited edition of Mandela Bangles, which are ornamental bracelets. Proceeds from the bracelets go toward education, raising awareness about inequality, poverty, and HIV and AIDS.
“He is such a central figure to NBA players so it’s really great for them to be able to support this,” says Leonsis.
“What better place to be than in the nation’s capital to celebrate one of the greatest freedom fighters in the history of the world, Nelson Mandela,” says Mayor Gray.
Mandela’s granddaughters hope that by being in Washington they are continuing his work and honoring someone they and so many around the world loved deeply.
“It’s difficult to talk about now,” says Zaziwe Mandela. “We miss him dearly. We know we’re strong. He left us in a good place. We miss him every single day.”