SOUTHAMPTON - Long Islanders are among the countless many all over the world reflecting on the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela.

Andrea Levin, of Cutchogue, grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and lived through the sad reality of apartheid. Levin, who once briefly met Mandela, calls his rise from prisoner to president remarkable. Even more remarkable, she says, is the way he governed without malice.

“He showed us that after 27 years of incarceration, forgiveness was actual freedom,” she says. “That it's better to live with an open heart than a closed mind.”

Lucius Ware, president of the NAACP’s eastern Long Island branch, says Mandela taught the whole world a lesson. Ware lists Mandela right up there with other giants of the 20th century.

“This is a person who is going to go down in history perhaps held in greater prominence than Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.,” says Ware.

For interview with Andrea Levin on Nelson Mandela, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.