I wonder if Sixto Rodriguez will be given the opportunity to sing a tribute at Nelson Mandela's state funeral? Would be perfect and appropriate, no?
I wonder how long until the American conservative propaganda machine tries to rewrite history so that Reagan and Mandela were allies? In reality, Reagan supported Apartheid South Africa and opposed the movement toward divestment and the efforts by black South Africans to bring down that evil regime. Republicans are feckless in their lies. They have tried to claim Brother Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Why not go for Mandela too?
I am not a fan of hagiographies. Such as that may be, when a world leader of great importance passes way he or she ought to be allowed that moment.
I understand the importance of Nelson Mandela to global and American racial politics, anti-colonialism, and people's movements. However, I have no particular emotional attachment to Nelson Mandela.
I was thinking about my (non) reaction to Mandela's death during the obligatory public memorializing which occurred yesterday upon the announcement of his passing, and the tears and upsetness shown by some in the commentariat class on TV and elsewhere.
I am solidly a part of what is known as the "hip hop generation".
Like those men who were too young for World War 2 and then too old for Korea, I missed the anti-Apartheid movement because of my generational moment. I remember all of the discussions about Apartheid, watching Mandela being mentioned on The Cosby Show, reading about how students a few years older then me were involved in the American divestment movement, and listening to song lyrics that referenced South Africa's wickedness.
But, I was not politically active. My political consciousness had not yet developed enough to make the connection between the evil of Apartheid and why I should really care enough to spend the personal energy to get involved when their were girls to chase, video games to play, and rumored and unheard of hip hop mixed tapes featuring legendary MC's who were like legendary titans to track down at the corner store and during trips to New York.
In truth, I cried, real sincere tears, when the news broke that early afternoon that the Notorious B.I.G. had been shot and killed. I do not have any tears for Mandela. I doubt that a man of his modesty and dignity cares about how the public chooses to grieve and memorialize him. Funerals are more for the living than they are the dead.
Teach me something if you would.
For those of you who are deeply attached to Mandela, and perhaps who participated in the anti-Apartheid college protests and divestment movement in the United States and elsewhere, how are you feeling in this moment? Is the upsetness about the loss of Mandela or is it more a mourning of a political innocence and youth now in the more distant past because of age?