FINALLY, our long overdue review of the Nelson Mandela speech we decided to do upon the news of his death is here. We could blame it on the devastation of the tragedy when news surfaced of his passing, but truth is life happened as it always does and more time had elapsed than originally intended. However, we’re back with more books and awesome reviews. Join in our journey. 😉
Ms. Malcolm Hughes: There is that moment. The one you knew was coming, but the weight when you receive the news does nothing to appease the pain. For me it was the passing of Madiba, Nelson Mandela. Though he had been sick, and I had recently engaged in conversation with a friend discussing the impact his death would have on South Africa, the news still hit me like a tidal wave. As the days and weeks progressed it felt wrong not to do some sort of tribute, so “I Am Prepared to Die” became our next Fun(4)DaMental read.
Mandela’s speech was one full of the fervor, passion and charisma he used to captivate and invigorate the full of South Africa. One thing that was admirable about Mandela’s speech is the way he used the platform as an opportunity to stand against wrongdoings happening in his beloved country. Though he was there to defend himself, which he did respectively, he was very honest and straightforward about what he and his organizations were and were not involved in. His charge was going against the pro-apartheid government, but as with the civil rights movement in America, and throughout the world, the imprisoned are later found to be on the right side of justice and the previous laws found unjust.
One of my favorite lines throughout the speech was his reference to being classified as a communist. In his defense he states “the Government has always sought to libel, to label all its opponents as communists.” This is prolific because though South Africa is so many miles away it relates to much of what has happened throughout the world and the condemnation that associates the term “communist.” As he eloquently explains, he was not a communist, but he was a man who believed in equality and was willing to go to whatever strains appeared necessary to attain it.
Means of how to bring about change are various and seldom agreed upon. Some argue for nonviolence while others protest that hates begets hate and violence is the only resolution to bring about rapid change. As for Mandela his stance developed and changed as he himself matured. However, his conviction was simple “theoretical differences, amongst those fighting against oppression, is a luxury which cannot be afforded…I must leave myself free to borrow the best from West and from the East” His affirmation for equal treatment was what remained solid, so strong were his convictions that until the very end he was willing to lay down his life.
Our complaint is not that we are poor by comparison with people in other countries, but that we are poor by comparison with white people in our own country, and that we are prevented by legislation from altering this imbalance. The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of white supremacy. White supremacy implies black inferiority.
Pass laws, which to the Africans are among the most hated bits of legislation in South Africa, render any African liable to police surveillance at any time. I doubt whether there is a since African male in South African who has not at some stage had a brush with the police over his pass.
Even worse than this is the fact that pass laws keep husband and wife apart and lead to the breakdown of family life.
Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disables will be permanent.
During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all person will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realized. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
In order to truly honor the memory of Nelson Mandela (Madiba) and what he stood for, may we ALL believe in, and act on, bettering the lives of others so passionately. Many of the issues he fought against are still prevalent today. A legend has been laid to rest, but the work and good fight has not.
Tyrah: On December 5, 2013 Nelson Mandela died. Shortly after that my colleague and close friend Porscheoy Brice and I had a meeting of the minds. It dawned on us that with the death of the visionary, Nelson Mandela, it seems only fitting, that the Fundamental corner of F.Y.B?C. would honor one of the most prolific people of our time with one of his most memorial speeches from his time, Mandela’s Rivonia speech aptly named “I am prepared to die.”
His death brought an international wave of mourning that seemed to engulf all of cyberspace. However, if there is one thing I have learned, and that Madiba has taught us, is that it is not the man who should be sanctified but rather it is the idea that should be admired. Madiba embodied poise, humbleness and patience beyond measure but still even more powerful are the ideas and virtues that he stood for. He was neither unique nor alone in his beliefs. We shall find solace in the ideas that he stood for, in the beliefs that not only he held true but also millions and million of people around the world hold dear to their hearts—Freedom.
It is within this speech that Mandela outlined what he would not stand for thus concretely expressing what he would only accept. He stood for a racially accepting South Africa. A South Africa that was no longer a white country but will also not be a Black Country a South Africa that is everyone’s country, where there existed no domination over a racial minority or otherwise. These ideas and thoughts are immortal. These thoughts do not die nor cease to ever be.
Mandela has begin the journey. He has shown us what it takes and what might need to be sacrificed. Let him not have lived in vain. Let not these ideas be buried with his body and cease to be after we have mourned. Remember the man but more importantly remember everything that made him be.
“a set of beliefs and values, prejudices and biases tied to particular symbols and particular labels. while they may link us with some, they can separate us from many more. and so completely do we learn to identify with these symbols and labels…some of us will die for them”~The Lottery of Birth (2013)
As we remember…let us not forget…
As always, Love and Hug More!
Ms. Malcolm Hughes is the editor-in-chief of For Your Black? Conscious. She is a Chicago, IL native–from the city, not the suburbs–strategizing in Washington, D.C. She loves pizza and challenges you to find her a better pie than she gets back home. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter @fybconscious.
Ty Hodge is a trill. Ass. Individual. looking to make their mark on the world; whatever that might look like. As it stands it looks like: mid career change to Wall Street, drinking fine red wines, and periodically writing. Ty wants to make money or die tryin’ all in the name of giving back to the community.