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A pair of South African men will discuss growing up in apartheid South Africa during "Cultural Connections: Life Lessons From Africa" from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, in the North Cafeteria of Webb University Center.

The second annual East Coast College Choir Festival will be Saturday, Feb. 26, in the North Cafeteria of Webb Center. The event, an evening of gospel music, praise, dance and step teams from nationally-renowned colleges and universities, is sponsored by the Ebony Impact Gospel Choir.

The South African duo, Abner Mariri and Craig Wilkinson, will share their experiences and insights on the transformation taking place in their country. Both were affected by apartheid (the Afrikaans word for "apartness"), the policy that governed relations between South Africa's white minority and nonwhite majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against nonwhites.

Because of their diverse backgrounds, both men realized the policy was inhumane and suffered for their involvement in anti-apartheid groups.

Mariri, who is black, is a Zulu and was born and raised in South Africa. He came to the United States in 1983 and received a degree in science and economics from the University of Southern California-Los Angeles.

He worked in America for seven years doing training and acting (he portrayed an African exchange student on "A Different World"). He returned to South Africa through his participation in the Free South Africa and African youth movements.

Wilkinson, who is white, is a native of South Africa who left at age 9 to live with his family in New Zealand. After living there for three years and in Botswana, he returned to South Africa where he became an accountant. He eventually became a human resources director for a large communications firm in South Africa, but he left this position to join Mariri in telling stories of their homeland.

The Sunday event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 683-4406.

This article was posted on: February 24, 2000

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