If you have been reading my blog since the beginning you will remember I mentioned someone told me many years ago I had an African Guardian Angel. Don’t believe in guardian angels? Well, I do. Bear with me as I needed to preface this post with that fact. Many injustices took place on the continent of Africa, from north to south, and most recently in the southern region. Between January 1988 and July 2, 1989, the day it closed, a little play hit Broadway named “Sarafina.” The cast of this play consisted of children from a school in the Soweto area of the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. If you recall, this area had been plagued with riots. The producer and others involved in the play thought it would make a bigger impact if they used the original children from this particular school. As I think about it now, that had to involve some kind of exploitation, don’t you think? In any event, I had known of the Apartheid Movement in South Africa, and Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment like most other Americans, from afar. But, let’s just say the recreation of some of these events in the play, drove the point home like driving a spike through my chest.
The more I think of it, that play happened like a precursor to Mr. Mandela’s release from prison, since less than one year later – February 11, 1990, he received that freedom. I can assuredly say, somewhere along the way, many of the participants have to have thought of just that fact. Then, like yesterday, I remember sitting in front of the television with hubby, attentively watching with the Nation as he and his wife took that victory walk from his confines. This, for me, pounded the realization of the need to abolish Apartheid deeper in my heart than ever before. I recall being quite upset that I could not make it to Manhattan in June of that same year, for his once in a lifetime visit. But my best friend, purchased buttons and tee shirts for me, which gave me the impression of involvement.
Pan-Africanism has stretched Mr. Mandela’s purpose north, south, east and west. In this age of social media, I have gathered followers both on twitter and facebook from different areas on the continent of Africa. As a person far north in Kenya is celebrating Madiba’s life and legacy, so is another on the western shore of this same continent in Ghana. Words like Apartheid and Black Solidarity permeated our vocabulary quite some time ago. I am only one in a sea of people, but this has been something I’ve been very passionate about; all coming in to focus after Sarafina. I am pretty convinced all of this is because of that guardian angel. I say that because, it has always been more than an interest with me. Yes, my black heritage plays a huge part, but it goes beyond that – to something I cannot quite put in to words. But, let me explain it this way. If you’re reading this and your heritage is, let’s say Irish, or you’re of Eastern European descent, how does it fill your heart to have assisted brothers and sisters in the Irish Republican Army (IRA), or to have had relatives in the land during the war in Croatia? Hopefully, that will give you some sort of reference enabling you to connect with what I’m saying.
From an American’s point of view, I have always perceived Mr. Mandela as an extension of Martin Luther King, both fighting for the same cause, beginning in the Motherland. Actually, since he came in the world way before Mr. King, I guess it would be more appropriate to appoint him as the forefather, if you will. I can only imagine him as proud as all African-Americans the day a black man followed in his footsteps by taking the oath of Presidency in the United States. I am praying that God brings peace to his family, and just as their nation is not weeping and wailing, but commemorating his life, they have to know as well as I, their Patriarch is also celebrating. Because he is now receiving his final reward. Mr. Mandela not only had Christ in his heart, he had a heart for humanity, which are the two main ingredients in earning that prize. As already said by him in an interview in 1994- “When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” I am certain, as this son made it to the final home the angels cheered too, when Christ greeted him saying, “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord (Matthew 25:21 – King James Version). Yes Madiba, you will not only be missed by your family, but by many.
Image courtesy of 123rf.com
Information courtesy of Wikipedia & Playbill Vault