Benedictine Soccer Player Reflects on Nelson Mandela

Benedictine Soccer Player Reflects on Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is viewed as an icon to so many. While most of us have read or watched stories about him - a Benedictine College soccer player has memories from his time in South Africa.
(ATCHISON, Ks.) "It always seems impossible until it's done" -- words spoken by the late Nelson Mandela; The words that a Benedictine College student lives by.

"Go back and look at what he's done, and what he's done for the country, and what he's done for certain people in the country," said Jade Mesias.

Jade Mesias, a senior on the college soccer team, was born in South Africa and lived there until he was 16 years old.

Nelson Mandela was a household name when he was growing up.

When he was younger, his mom told him about the time she was in high school, and decided to riot against the government during the Apartheid Era.

That's one story Mesias said he'll never forget.

"They marched and they marched. And, a barricade of policemen showed up, just outside of the school. They started shooting rubber bullets at them and my mom, and their friends, and mom's brothers and family members actually ran away, like you would," said Mesias.

Mesias said hearing that story was scary, but at the time, was reality.

"Those are the things my parents grew up with, and my grandparents grew up with, that I was lucky enough not to grow up with because of Nelson Mandela standing up to the government at the time," said Mesias.

Nelson Mandela spent nearly three decades in jail as a prisoner of Apartheid.

After he was released, he went on to fight for equality.

Those heroic efforts made Mesias look at Mandela not just as a leader, but an inspiration.

"When I think of Nelson Mandela, I think of what can I do to influence my society and my community," said Mesias.

Mesias is using soccer to be a role model for his younger brother, friends, and players on the field.

He wants to change the world, like Nelson Mandela changed his.

"Astonishing. He's an astonishing man. I mean, the things that he's done, and the amount of courage it takes for one person to take that step, against everyone else, is absolutely astonishing," said Mesias.

Mesias hasn't been to his home country in six years, but he plans on returning some time after graduation.

On Sunday, he will join many others across the country for a "National Day of Prayer and Reflection" to remember Nelson Mandela.

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