RIP Nelson Mandela

We’ve lost an icon today. Along with other major civil rights figures like Martin Luther King & Malcolm X, no one can deny the influence that Nelson Mandela had on the movement around the world for social justice.

While the accomplishments and contributions of MLK and Malcolm X are undeniable, I only knew about them from reading books, hearing the stories my family told and watching archival footage of civil rights marches. Mandela was another story. What made “Madiba” different from the others is that unlike the others, Mandela was one of the only activists whom I was alive to witness in action.

I came of age during the height of the struggle to end apartheid. I watched the news of anti-apartheid protests in South Africa, that sometimes turned violent & deadly. The grass roots struggles in black communities in the US to pressure the US to denounce apartheid. Remember the boycotts here in the US against corporations that did business with the apartheid gov’t in South Africa. When Mandela was released from prison after spending 27 years in captivity, his first visit to the US after leaving prison, the ticker tape parade for him in NYC, the concert in his honor at Yankee Stadium.

Then there was him being elected president of South Africa after the fall of apartheid. Amazed at the news footage of the long lines of South Africans who waited in line for days just to vote for their first black president. Can you imagine a man, a black man especially, going from being an inmate in prison to the presidency happening in the US?

I could go on forever, but I’ll end with one of my many favorite quotes from him.

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely daydreaming, but vision with action can change the world.”

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Spinster
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 00:15:29

    Reblogged this on Spinster's Compass and commented:
    Nelson Mandela passed away on Thursday 12.05.2013. He leaves behind a large family and a long-lasting legacy. Please check out this blog post, which is a good summary of his impact on people worldwide. Rest in peace, Madiba.


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