Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela: 1918 - 2013

I (Tia) don't remember exactly how old I was. I couldn't have been more than 8 or so. I was spending time with my dad and he was listening to Stevie Wonder's In Square Circle album. The last track on the album is "It's Wrong (Apartheid)" and as I have a penchant to do, I was running around singing the lyrics all wrong.

A part time is wrong (Wrong) 

My dad stopped what he was doing and corrected me on the lyrics. I, of course, then asked, "What's apartheid?" He then proceeded to explain to me exactly what apartheid was. I remember feeling what I would now call grief. My little heart just didn't understand how that much cruelty could exist in the world.

Half a decade later, my father once again sat me down and explained why a man being freed a half a world away was important. Though my father is by no means militant, he knew that the school system would not acknowledge the historic significance of Nelson Mandela being freed from prison. On that day in 1990, my dad drew from lessons he'd previously taught me to show me how the present events would inevitably change the future. He instilled a pride in me on behalf of the hope that Mr. Mandela represented. Nelson Mandela's life impacted a little black girl from Tennessee. That's how far his reach was.

What do you say when a great man is laid to rest? Words will never seem enough. But BGLU knows that Nelson Mandela represents hope and justice. He helped shape the events of human history, not just for South Africans but for all people. His legacy of hope and courage will never be forgotten.

Rest well, sir.

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