As a kid i was always really drawn to Mandela because he was a complex and real person who fought for justice with an unadulterated commitment. I remember learning about the ANC and being so captivated by their methods against brutality to overcome the racism endemic in South Africa that that’s where i think my desire for justice stemmed from. These movements, like the ANC, brought us to where we are today, historically. They were the ones with courage to point the finger at institutions, at capitalists and imperialists alike, demonstrating that we, as a people, demand for a better future.
Mandela was on the US terrorist list until 1994, the year he became President of South Africa. I find this tragically beautiful because it reminds of me of the very ethos of “one man’s terrorist is another’s man’s freedom fighter.” We live in a world where we think we know things, where we’re okay with the norms of society and we vilify those who want justice, the Chelsea Mannings, the Julian Assanges and the Nelson Mandelas, but they are the ones who are fighting for the world we want to live, the world which is fair and just, for all, not just those with power and money. They are the ones with courage.
I think the best way to remember Mandela’s brilliant and crucial message is to fight, to challenge, and to never stop wanting, and demanding, for a better world.
I want to keep crying and mourn for our father, Mandela. But his life was too much of a triumph not to celebrate even in death.
"He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages" - Obama