Friday, June 28, 2013

"His Body Abused, But His Mind is Still Free"*

Hearing the news about Nelson Mandela's declining health this week (in case you hadn't heard, he is in critical condition and his family is preparing for the worst), just makes me think about how far South Africa has come since I first heard about Mr. Mandela and the struggles against apartheid in South Africa when I saw the tv movie Mandela on HBO. And shortly after that I saw Cry Freedom, about activist Steve Biko.

Although we read both Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country and Nadine Gormier's July's People in school, for me, the awareness of South African apartheid best came through music (much like most of the issues I became most interested in while I was in high school), and I read a lot of news about apartheid in Rolling Stone magazine (which I devotedly inhaled every other week). The big protest song was "Sun City", and there was also "Biko" by Peter Gabriel, and Paul Simon's Graceland album featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, but honestly, I think that The Special AKA really summed up the situation the best.

Thank you, Mr. Mandela, for your bravery and perseverance. You are an inspiration.

*lyric by The Special AKA/The Specials


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