Nelson Mandela's grandson visits Chicago students

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Following in the footsteps of his iconic grandfather, Ndaba Mandela shared his legacy with high school students in Chicago Wednesday. (WLS)

Following in the footsteps of his iconic grandfather, Ndaba Mandela shared his legacy with high school students in Chicago Wednesday.

Students at Crystal Lake Central High School waited patiently for a selfie with Ndaba, who traveled thousands of miles from his home base in Johannesburg, South Africa, to bridge the generation gap between his grandfather and the youth of today.

"I don't want kids to forget Nelson Mandela and his legacy," he said.

The 33-year-old spent a lot of time with his grandfather once Nelson Mandela was released from prison for fighting against apartheid in South Africa. Ndaba shared his grandfather's story as a way to encourage the students to fight for what they believe in, a message Bazif Bala took to heart.

"Just how he said, 'Yes, I'm from South Africa but everything I'm saying to you today can be applied to what you do here at Crystal Lake Central,'" Bala said.

Ndaba said his grandfather would be proud that his message resonates with young people in 2017.

"I've heard a lot of the kids here talking about wanting to be activists. They ask, 'Where do I start?'" he said.

Ndaba was invited to speak by district superintendent. Dr. Johnnie Thomas, who said students are encouraged to think globally.

"Part of our mission statement is, 'nurture a desire to contribute to the world,' and this aligns with that. This is what we're trying to do. We're trying to create future leaders for tomorrow," Thomas said.

Following Wednesday's events, Ndaba will have speaking engagements in Charlotte, N.C., and at the University of Florida where he will continue to spread his grandfather's message that one person can make a big difference in his or her community.

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