Eddie Daniels to speak at Luther College Sept. 26

Eddie Daniels, author and former South African anti-apartheid activist, will speak at Luther College at 12:15 and 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Room 206 of Valders Hall of Science.The lecture is open to the public with no charge for admission and is sponsored by Luther's Africana studies department.

Daniels, born in South Africa under the harsh rule of apartheid, spent 15 years of his life in jail for joining a nonracial, anti-government organization. He was charged with sabotage and imprisoned on Robben Island.

In prison, Daniels befriended Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Conference, who praised Daniels for his "loyalty and courage, his sense of humor and justice, as well as total commitment to the struggle of the prisoners for the eradication of injustice and for the betterment of their conditions."

While imprisoned, Mandela encouraged him to learn Afrikaans. "It was Mandela who motivated me to study," Daniels said, "in order to know the language of the oppressors."

After his release from prison, Daniels became a member of the African National Congress, a South African political party dedicated to the elimination of apartheid. He continues to work for equality amongst South Africans.

Daniels has published a book, "There & Back: Robben Island 1964-1979" which details his experiences as an activist and his years spent in prison.

Daniels, who spends much of his time visiting schools and passing along his story to students, encourages students to stay in school, emphasizing the importance of education.

He is currently on a national speaking tour in the United States.

Eddie Daniels (right) with close friend Nelson Mandela (left)