My first conscious awareness of South Africa is the strong thrust of a fist pumped into the air accompanied by a passionate shout of the word AMANDLA! Followed by a sonorously loud and equally passionate response from large and swarming crowds screaming ‘NGAWETHU!’ I did not know what those words meant at the time when I first became conscious of Apartheid in South Africa. However I knew instinctively they were powerful. Now I know that the Zulu/ Xhosa word AMANDLA, translates to ‘Power’ and ‘Ngawethu’ or ‘Awethu’ ‘translates to ‘To Us’ and can be read as Power to the People.
I may not at the time, have known the exact meaning of the words but the images streaming on my black and white tv while coming of age in Dominica resonated deep within. Watching the masses of Black people running together in syncopated rhythm fascinated me. Discovering that they were fighting for their right to exist on their own lands infuriated me. Those images I have no doubt helped to forge a fierce spirit for equality within me.
Today is the day after Madiba –Nelson Mandela– has passed and I reflect. I, like many others am and forever will be fascinated, empowered, inspired and emboldened by his life. It takes courage to walk the road of your convictions and be willing to fight to the death for your cause and your people.
It takes even greater courage to forgive. To be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who persecute you and to choose to forgive. To move a people who were wronged to the core enough, that they listen when you ask them to dream a bigger dream for their nation. To inspire in them the vision of forgiveness and the choice to build their country, instead of the destruction that their justified revenge would yield.
It is the measure in length and breadth of a man who has lived a life in full, that you could walk through the fire as a prisoner then walk with dignity as a king among presidents. Inspiring generations of people from every nation to reach for our highest ideals. It is through the length and breadth of your humility and wisdom that we all see our own potential for goodness, even greatness. You are a powerful example to me of what living fully and completely is.
I am infinitely blessed to have lived in this lifetime and witnessed the example of your life; to have touched the soil you toiled; and to have walked on some of the same pathways you may have walked in Soweto and Pretoria when I visited your beautiful country.
I believe we are more strongly blessed now that you have joined the realms of the ancestors. There you can continue to guide our journeys here on earth. I know that your message, will forever remain a beacon to the world. Thank you Madiba for all that you have blessed us with…thank you for your passion, for your indelible spirit and your smile that literally lit up the world! We are all dancing with you on your journey home…
In tribute to Madiba from a Traveling Black Chick
- AMANDLA NGAWETHU – A Tribute Nelson Mandela (18JUL1918-05DEC2013) (biodunsamueladepetu.wordpress.com)
- ANC statement on the passing of Comrade Nelson Mandela (praag.org)
- Farewell, Madiba (ilg2.org)
- Kumi Naidoo: Hamba Kahle, Nelson Mandela: With Our Deepest Gratitude (huffingtonpost.com)
- Saying Thanks To Madiba – Nelson Mandela Gave Us A Roadmap (badgals-radio.com)