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From Wikipedia:  Amandla is a Xhosa and Zulu word meaning “power”. The word was a popular rallying cry in the days of resistance against Apartheid, used by the African National Congress and its allies.

In June of 1990, months after his release, Nelson Mandela came to Los Angeles, CA as part of U.S. Freedom Celebration Tour. I was 17 years old, home after one year of college and my parents loaded my brothers and I up and took us to the Coliseum to witness the celebration of the release of this awesome, awesome man.

I don’t remember exactly what he said. I don’t remember who else spoke/sung/performed. But I do remember being overwhelmed with emotion as I stood shoulder to shoulder with tens of thousands of others who’d come to honor Mr. Mandela, his perseverance, his spirit and his ultimate triumph. I remember thinking that I was taking part in a monumental, historical occasion. And I was. Apartheid had long plagued South Africa in ways that were equal to, if not worse than, the way Jim Crow plagued the United States. The spirit and tenacity of Mr. Mandela was palpable and I was in awe.

It was an honor and a privilege to be there that day. It was an honor and privilege to read his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom. If you’ve not read it, may I strongly suggest that you do so? It is an extraordinary tale of the life of an ordinarily, extraordinary man.  It is an honor to have occupied this planet at the same time as he did.

RIP Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Well done Madiba, well done.

(OAN, I still can’t believe he and Mrs. Winnie Mandela divorced! Can you imagine, standing by your man through 38 years of marriage including 27 years of imprisonment and then a few short years after his release y’all are divorced and he’s remarried? Lawdhammercy!)


6 thoughts on “Amandla!

    • Oh, I don’t know whose idea the divorce was. I just think it’s a trip that they both (I guess) remained loyal and true and then a few years later said “eh, never mind.”

  1. i read the book;
    i was in NY at the time and had just given birth to my first child, but we were at the parade in central park in spirit.
    I went to CCNY which was a hub for Black activism; I discovered my blackness here and remember going to many meetings/discussions about apartheid. Unless he is in hell, I believe he is resting in peace.
    I’ve always wanted to read winnie’s book – part of my soul went with him. Now would be a good time for me to revisit.

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