The prompt for this week’s Five Minute Friday is Reflect. I am not officially linking up but will share my five minutes here and if I get consistent then I will start linking up. Click here to learn more and to see what the official participants have chosen to share.
I choose to reflect this week on the passing of Nelson Mandela. His death has struck a chord for many around the world. In a day and age where we have skewed definition of the word, Nelson Mandela was a true hero. I grew up a child of the 80’s and 90’s and Nelson Mandela’s name was well known by every African-American child in my community. We knew about the injustices of Apartheid and of this courageous man’s journey to end this horrific practice. In the US, at the time, we were not that far removed from a time when our own nation suffered form the same injustice, here named the Jim Crow laws of the South. Our hearts ached for our brothers and sisters a half a world away who still suffered, who still lived under the reign of this evil. We all knew about Nelson Mandela’s fight for a new South Africa. We celebrated when he was finally freed in 1990 after 27 years in prison; we rejoiced when he was elected the first black President of South Africa in 1994; and this week we wept when we learned of his passing. He was more than a national figure, for many he felt like a friend even though we had never met him. He put into words things we did not have the language to name. He helped us see ourselves differently though we did not walk the same streets that he did, still he breathed hope and courage and life into the hearts of many young black boys and girls. Nelson Mandela left an indelible mark on many lives, mine included. I never had the privilege of meeting him or hearing him speak in person but he left a mark on me nonetheless. And I know I am not the only one. Tonight we mourn the loss of this great man who had the courage to stand up against the wrongs he saw in his world and dare to demand change. May we all embrace that same level of courage.
There have been countless tweets, FB posts and blogs written about Nelson Mandela’s passing. I want to share a few of them with you here. Two are from white women who grew up in Mandela’s South Africa. Their words are moving and beautiful and demonstrate that his impact crossed racial lines. One is from a gay man who found acceptance in the words of a man he met for such a few seconds one day. The final one is from two prominent thought leaders in the African-American community. These few snippets demonstrate the vastness of the legacy that Nelson Mandela leaves behind.
“I can be because Mandela has been” My friend Idelette wrote this post back in June but it is worth reposting and reading today http://shelovesmagazine.com/2013/mandela-why-i-have-hope-for-our-long-walk/
“As a Black gay man who had recently come out, I viewed Mandela as the personal hero” Keith Boykin http://www.bet.com/news/global/2013/12/06/commentary-remembering-my-father-and-nelson-mandela.html
A conversation between Tavis Smiley & Dr. Cornel West on the legacy of Nelson Mandela https://soundcloud.com/smileyandwestshow/remembering-nelson-mandela
Finally, if you want to see a comprehensive look at the life and times of Nelson Mandela check out this infographic
What impact did Nelson Mandela leave on your life? I would love to hear in the comments below.