Friday, December 6, 2013

An Incomplete Thought on Mr. Nelson Mandela

Words sort of fail me sometimes.  I am at a loss how to process the passing of Mr. Nelson Mandela of South Africa.  I understand that he was 95 and so it was expected at some point but I am still in a state of confusion over how to proceed with this post.

Nelson Mandela was a leader of the African National Congress and fought to end apartheid in South Africa (something that was actually modeled on the Indian Act/reserve system of Canada, but I digress), spending 27 years in prison and becoming the first Black president of South Africa.  He fought oppression, for human rights and to be dignified.  He was, and is, a person that managed to inspire hope in a heck of a lot of people.

I am disappointed in some of the stuff I have read online about his "terrorist activity," including claims I have been unable to find any corroborating statements or evidence to support.  I don't know what to make of this type of stuff anymore.  I saw similar stuff after Elijah Harper passed away and any number of people who stand up to oppression and I find myself always just feeling disappointed with humanity in general.  Fortunately it has been in the minority but it is still there.  I have often wondered how Mr. Mandela endured what he has endured and what kind of fortitude was required to move both himself and his nation into a revolution that would bring down the old regime and rebuild it as something better than apartheid.

"I have no epiphany, no singular destiny, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand unremembered moments, produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people."

As the ongoing struggle here in Canada, on the land and in our education system, can attest, the work that Mr. Mandela did is far from over.  Oppressed people the world over have looked to him for inspiration, looked to his compassion and his honesty in the post-apartheid years as a means to remember and hold on to our own humanity.  He sought justice.
Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela.  Have a safe journey.  You will be missed.