Nelson Mandela was a statesman, a humanitarian…a larger than life figure and freedom fighter whose spirit for justice refused to be contained to a South African jail cell for more than 20 years. One South African woman who says HER LIFE and her native country will forever be changed FOR THE BETTER because of one man’s courage. Theresa Biggs recalls her feeling about Nelson Mandela. She says “he’s an inspiration, he fought for freedom for reconciliation, for peace and just about his struggles and the long walk to freedom.” That’s what South African native Theresa Biggs has thought of Nelson Mandela all her life. She’s too young to know the pain and atrocities of segregation and apartheid. But Mandela did. He spent most of his life fiercely fighting it… and was unjustly jailed because of it. And ultimately helped to abolish it. And now Biggs can study in America and anywhere around the globe because of Mandela. “its a great loss for our nation because he has been truly an inspiration not just to our nation but to every other nation across the world and its just a great loss,” says Biggs. Originally from Cape Town, Biggs relocated to Fort Kent to study at UMFK in 2009 and stayed in the county. She’s gone back to South Africa several times and acknowledges she is a product of a modern POST-apartheid South Africa. Biggs never met Mandela in life. But she says HIS LIFE has directly helped better hers. His passing she fears could have effects in taking the country several steps backwards. A huge leap from how far Mandela, the country’s first Black President has brought it. But she says its in the hands and responsibility now of present day leaders. “Rulers right now can actually learn from him and continue his legacy but its gonna be big shoes to fill and I don’t think any of them can do it they couldn’t…so I don’t know what its gonna be like,” says Biggs. In life, Mandela made history time and time again. He survived prison, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 and rose to become a global leader effecting positive change among other world nations. It’s a world Mandela might not have imagined for himself through a prison cell as inmate No. 46664. At the time, all he wanted was his own freedom and equality for his fellow South Africans. But his life and his legacy has touched generations. “I don’t think that anyone could ever replace him for what he’s done not just for our country but the rest of the world…”says Biggs. South African leaders say this coming Sunday will be a national day of prayer and reflection. Next week will be a slew of celebrations commemorating Mandela’s life throughout South Africa leading up to the official State funeral and burial at Qunu, Eastern Cape Province, on Sunday Dec. 15th.