Nelson Mandela’s Daughter & Cesar Chavez’s Grandson in Naperville

Nelson Mandela’s Daughter & Cesar Chavez’s Grandson

Two special guests connected to major figures in history came to Naperville, thanks to India Development Service.

Doctor Makaziwe Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s daughter, and Anthony Chavez, Cesar Chavez’s grandson, stopped by Metea Valley High School for a special event celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday.

Celebrating Gandhi

IPS helped put on two plays – one focused on a conversation between Gandhi and Winston Churchill, while the other was about Gandhi’s wife – Kasturba.

“We all know Mahatma Gandhi as father of the nation, but not many know Kasturba and what her life was like when she was serving as mother of the nation,” said director Alka Sharma. “She was a housewife, she had four kids – all boys. She had to go through a lot.”

Kasturba Gandhi and Helen Chavez

Though from a different era, it was an experience similar to that of Helen Chavez, wife to Cesar.

She also faced challenges because of her husband’s ambitions.

“In many ways, my grandmother was the first person who needed to be convinced to organize farm workers,” said Anthony. “If she didn’t allow her husband to quit his first stable job with healthcare and benefits and the paid vacations, there might not have ever been a farm worker’s movement as we know it.”

Panel Discussion

After audience members enjoyed the performances, they were treated to a panel discussion with Mandela and Chavez.

Chavez talked about what his grandfather was like, as a fun-loving and easy-going person.

That wasn’t always the case for Makaziwe and her father. She talked about how they didn’t always see eye to eye due to their stubborn nature.

She hopes today’s society can realize that they too can be leaders in their own way.

“For instance for my father, I count him as a human being with feet of clay. And if I can count him as a human being with feet of clay, it means a lot of us can emulate him,” said Makaziwe. “But if you put these leaders on a pedestal, most people don’t think they can reach there. And I think we all have a Gandhi, we have a Mandela, we have a Martin Luther King in us.”

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.

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