Nelson Mandela's impact on the Two Virginias - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Nelson Mandela's impact on the Two Virginias

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ALDERSON, W. Va (WVVA)-- WVVA spoke with Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, Executive Director of the Anir Foundation in Alderson.

She, along with her daughter, often take groups from high schools, colleges, and other organizations to South Africa.

They do volunteer work like Habitat for Humanity builds, but also get to experience the history of the area while they're there.

She says the lessons Mandela leaves behind have affected her friends in the country greatly, and inspired her to continue trying to make the world a better place.

"I think the strongest message I've learned from him is forgiveness," she said, "and that anger is such a waste of time."

But she's also keeping lessons from him, and from what her father Harry Belafonte taught her about Mandela, close to her heart.

"[Mandela shows us] the ability to cooperate. To move forward. And there was no one less selfish than Nelson Mandela," said Adrienne. "He made a difference to his people and therefore made a difference in a lot of people's lives."

Biesemeyer will soon be on her way to South Africa for Nelson Mandela's funeral. She leaves Monday for the trip, and the funeral will be next weekend.

She says for all her friends in South Africa, the loss of Mandela is bittersweet--- they know he died peacefully, but they also feel a great sense of loss, and an empty void left by his passing.
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