After former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, is perhaps the most recognizable man in the world.
Other than their rise to world acclaim and their pugilistic backgrounds, the two icons have a number of commonalities, none more significant than their resolve to stand up for their political rights, which earned them punishment from their governments. Ali was sentenced to five years in prison on grounds of draft evasion. However, he stayed out of prison pending appeals, and the conviction was reversed four years later in 1971.
Mandela was not so fortunate in his fight against apartheid and for his defiance against unjust laws. He served 27 years in prison before finally being released in 1990. Then came a succession of awards for his political determination and integrity, including being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and becoming the president of South Africa a year later.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Jacob Javits Center, during the Circle of Sisters Expo, a panel will discuss “The Influence of Nelson Mandela and his Commitment to Abolish Apartheid in South Africa.” The panel, sponsored by WBLS-FM, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and the Harlem Arts Alliance, will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in room 1DO5, and includes this reporter, along with Tsiddi LeLoka, Ron Kunene and Rashida Ismaili.
After the panel discussion, there will be a screening of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” a biopic based on Mandela’s autobiography that stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris.
Circle of Sisters is a two-day event (Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 20) that showcases goods, products and services from more than 200 businesses.
Additionally, the event seeks to educate and inform the over 40,000 attendees on matters related to business, health, technology and more. Finally, attendees experience top-rated entertainment from celebrity, local, national and international artists.