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Howard University > News Room
Howard Hosts “A Mandela Day” Symposium
Hugh Masekela, Larry Willis To Headline Free Jazz Concert


WASHINGTON D.C. (February 6, 2014) – Howard University presents “ A Mandela Day” Symposium on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Browsing Room of Founders Library, 500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC. The event marks the day that Nelson Mandela was released from prison on Robben Island in 1990.

The symposium is a continuation of a year-long campus-wide celebration of the legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s anti-apartheid champion and first black president who died in December. The symposium will culminate with a highly anticipated jazz concert featuring trumpeter Hugh Masekela and pianist Larry Willis at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium at 7 p.m. Additional artists include the Howard University Jazztet with Fred Irby, vocalist Akua Allrich and Afro Blue. Both the concert and the symposium are free and open to the public.

To register for the symposium, visit here. The event is sponsored by the Howard University Republic of South Africa Project (HURSAP), Howard University Division of Fine Arts and the Moorland Spingarn Research Center.

Last month, a campus-wide celebration began with a memorial tribute to Mandela. Click hereto view images of the event and the silent candlelight walk.

Also, the U.S. premiere of the internationally acclaimed multimedia exhibition: Nelson Mandela: Character, Comrade, Leader, Prisoner, Negotiator, Statesman is housed at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) until April 27. Learn more about the exhibit here.

Schedule (details are subject to change):

"A Mandela Day"
Early Registration
Location: Founders Library, Browsing Room
500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059

Opening and Welcome
Location: Founders Library, Browsing Room
500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059

Panel 1: Mandela - The Prisoner: Music of the Struggle
10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Founders Library, Browsing Room
500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059


  • Dr. Johann Buis, Associate Professor of Musicology, Wheaton College, Illinois
  • Dr. Clarence Lusane,  Associate Professor, American University
  • Hugh Masekela,  Musician and Political Activist

Moderator: Dr. Sais Kamalidiin, Professor and Chair, Department of Music, Howard University

Lecture: Civil Rights in America
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Blackburn Center Ballroom

Lecture by former Congressman Ronald Dellums, visiting fellow at the Ronald Walters Center

Sponsored by Ronald W. Walters Leadership & Public Policy Center, Howard University.

Panel 2: Mandela – The Statesman: Developing a New Nation
2:00 p.m. –  3:30 p.m.
Location: Founders Library, Browsing Room
500 Howard Place, NW, Washington, DC 20059

African National Congress (ANC) Delegate Cheryl Carolus counted the Groote Schuur meeting as a watershed moment in the narrative of Mandela as a statesman: “[This meeting was] the first time we were sitting down with the apartheid regime. It felt surreal. Madiba was completely central - tough as nails and charming as a prince. He led us through a minefield." Panelists will discuss their perspectives on Mandela’s development as the head of a new democratic state.


  • Sello Hatang, CEO, Nelson Mandela Foundation
  • Keorapetse Kgositsile, Poet Laureate of South Africa, Political Activist, and Special Advisor to the South African Ministry of Arts and Culture
  • James Early, Director of Cultural Studies and Communication at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • Sonja Woods, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, Howard University

Moderator: Dr. Greg Carr, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Africana Studies

Concert: Musical Tribute to Mandela – Featuring Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis
7 p.m.
Location: Cramton Auditorium
2455 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Free and open to the public

A free jazz concert featuring trumpeter Hugh Masekela, pianist Larry Willis, the Howard University Jazztet with Fred Irby, vocalist Akua Allrich, and Afro Blue.

Description: During a 1999 concert held in his honor, Nelson Mandela joined recording artist Johnny Clegg on stage and declared:  "It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world and at peace with myself."  Let us do likewise – make peace with the world by dancing to the music in our special tribute to Madiba.

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