Honors Mandela's support of the arts


With the passing of Nelson Mandela, it is my hope that the world will look at this people-touching life that changed the face of South Africa. Yes, he spent 27 years in prison for opposing his government; he was impassioned for his concept of equality and representation. This great son of Africa opposed apartheid, the systematic power of the rich, white and powerful over the vast majority.

Does that situation sound familiar? Like George Washington, Mandela yielded his leadership of the country to guarantee transition to a government for all citizens, to model not power, but actual governance. His loving generosity and forgiveness healed, rather than tore apart.

Mandela felt that music, dancing and art made him at peace with the world. He understood that the arts enlighten, stimulate and enfranchise people. In the United States most schools have dismissed the arts from essential curriculum. This morning's Bellingham Herald reported that the Bureau of Economic Analysis, part of the Commerce Department, has quantified that art impacts 3.2 percent of our GDP and that the value of arts and culture on society is not just financial, but contributes to ideas, creativity and innovation.

Nelson Mandela left an instructional legacy.

Donna Starr


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