People remembering Nelson Mandela at Piedmont Park monument - CBS46 News

People remembering Nelson Mandela at Piedmont Park monument

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Throughout the day, people stopped by the Nelson Mandela monument in Piedmont Park to celebrate the life of the former president of South Africa and human rights leader.

Mona and Hemant Patel told CBS Atlanta News that they were born in South Africa and were living there during apartheid.

The Indian couple said they were treated as blacks based on the color of their skin and felt the oppression of that time first hand.

"Like Rosa Parks, we were not able to ride on the bus with white people. We were mistreated," said Mona Patel. "The first time I ever was voted in my life was for Nelson Mandela. He was a great man."

The couple currently live in metro Atlanta. It's where they cast their vote for the first black South African president.

"I went to the polling location in Downtown Atlanta," said Hemant Patel. "It was the proudest day in my life. Mandela has done so much for South Africa and the world. I'm a U.S. citizen now but I love him and what he stood for."

CBS Atlanta News also talked to Nadine Wright, a white South African woman who was a child there during apartheid.

"I knew about it [apartheid]. I went to a school that refused to follow the laws of segregation. My friends [of color] got to tell me what their experiences were like at home. I kind of compared that with my experience and it was different," said Wright. "I work as a social worker today because of Mandela and what he did for others."

The Free Nelson Mandela monument is located inside Piedmont Park near the Charles Allen Dr. NE.

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