My mother grew up with brutality of the Vietnam war airing each evening on the nightly news. In my generation, the nightly news broadcast brutality and atrocities from Reagan’s Central America, the Pinochet regime in Chile, and, of course Apartheid-era South Africa. I recall watching thousands upon thousands of Black South Africans linked arm and arm, dancing and chanting in protest in the barren townships, then running and trying to disperse as police fired live rounds indiscriminately into the crowds. I watched footage of police brutally beating Black South Africans, dragging them into trucks and hauling them off for “interrogations.” This was a regime supported by the U.S. and by transnational capital and its interests for years. South African activists asked for international support and the righteous around the globe responded to put pressure on the terrible Apartheid government to free Mandela and, ultimately, to end Apartheid.
Nelson Mandela’s liberation and the downfall of Apartheid were some of the most incredible events I have witnessed in my life. The world has lost an incredible leader and advocate for social justice for all people. We need more people to rise up and stand up for what is right. There could be no greater legacy that we could live in his honor.
Rest in power, Mr. Mandela.