AMANDLA! Mourning the Death, Celebrating the LIFE, of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
FAREWELL, NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA
This weekend, through the intermittent rain that keeps getting in my eyes, I nevertheless can still see Nelson Mandela waving to us — a crowd of tens of thousands of people along 125th Street in Harlem in 1991. He wasn’t yet president of South Africa, waving from far above our heads as his motorized procession drifted along, and he must’ve been treading among clouds, then, because he seemed taller than the highest mountain peak that day — when he visited Harlem after being freed from prison in South Africa. Waving to us — the disenfranchised and oppressed, packed butt to butt in a neighborhood that now is being taken over by the gentrifiers, the yuppified, buppified, complicitous displacers — Mandela was the picture of grace and nobility while my mind spun back to a dramatization of the atrocity of apartheid: Sarafina.
However, no words I express here come close to those in political commentator and university professor Melissa Harris-Perry‘s open letter to the Nobel Peace Prize winning freedom warrior, President Mandela. Below, I have provided a link to Harris-Perry’s letter. If the link does not work, please don’t waste time cursing me. Just copy it and paste it to your browser. And don’t forget to check out her show on MSNBC, “Melissa Harris-Perry.”
Perhaps I will catch a glimpse of your wings between dispersing clouds. If I do, I will press my palms up toward the heavens. For now, rest in peace, Madiba. Down here on Earth, a luta continua!