Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Mandela's words have touched those all around the world including here in the Midlands.
"It's a sad day for me, its really hard to imagine that Tata-Madiba is gone," said USC professor Erik Doxtader.
Tata in the Bantu language mean father...and that's just one word to describe the type of person Nelson Mandela was.
"I think we have lost a moral center of gravity with the passing of Nelson Mandela; he taught us how to find the words that build peace."
He was the first black president of South Africa and one the world's most beloved politicians.
Doxtader studies reconciliation and politics while in South Africa.
"I think one of the things that he taught us is that it is possible for any of us to take the lead. To think about that question, what are the struggles that we need to engage in, what is the injustice that we can front and how can we begin to work together to address that injustice."
Doxtader met Mandela years ago at a conference about Civil Society in South Africa. He says there was a group protesting the conference and remembers Mandela sharing words with him about not shutting people out because they have different opinions than you, but to find a way to work together.
"I remember how talked about ways in which those demonstrators needed to be heard, even though it was unthinkable to protest and event that Mandela was speaking at and he said no we need to hear these people we need to listen to them."
He says Mandela was a larger than life figure with a humble heart who wanted to help those in need.
"I think one of his most important lessons for me is that words make a difference, that what we say and how we say it can change the world, he did that and he did it more than once. I think to hear him speak and listen to those words, those are things we can take and those are things we can learn from and those are things we can live with. "