Hackney secondary students remember Mandela in special assembly this morning

The Urswick School remembers Nelson Mandela

The Urswick School remembers Nelson Mandela - Credit: Archant

Students at a Hackney Central secondary school remembered former South African president Nelson Mandela in a series of special assemblies held this morning following his death yesterday.

The Urswick School remembers Nelson Mandela

The Urswick School remembers Nelson Mandela - Credit: Archant

Around 820 students aged from 11 to 19 attended assemblies led by headteacher Richard Brown, which focused on Mandela’s life, including spending the 27 years he spent in jail before becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

The students listened to one of the most celebrated quotations from Mandela’s 1994 autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom, which says: “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

They also reviewed front page coverage his death by the national press.

The students then said a prayer, before observing two minutes of silence as a mark of respect.

Mr Brown said: “I felt it was important for the school to mark the death of Nelson Mandela. The students can learn important lessons about hope and perseverance from the story of his life.”

Pupil Ademola Ikusawe, 17, of Homerton High Street, Homerton, said: “Listening to Mr Brown speak about Nelson Mandela today, I felt inspired that someone who had such little power at one point in his life was able to change the world. I believe that the world will continue to change because of his legacy.”

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Eboseta Ayemere, 17, also of Homerton High Street, Homerton added: “It was amazing to learn how someone who was subject to so much torment in his life was able to forgive.”

Mandela spent 27 years in prison after resisting apartheid - a form of racial segregation that was imposed by the white minority rule in South Africa. He became the country’s first black prime minister when he was elected in 1994.