"It always seems impossible until it’s done."
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba (July 18, 1918 - December 5, 2013)
When I heard President Mandela died (and yes, I use the proper protocol and still address him by his former title in South Africa), my heart sank. I knew about his struggles to bring equality to a land where the majority was oppressed by a minority population who did everything in their power to keep the people down. They couldn’t even vote in their own election.
Here’s a man who fought for what was right, imprisoned for his beliefs, and waited patiently. Apartheid isn’t all that hard to imagine for Americans who lived in the days of Jim Crow where Blacks were treated like third-class citizens in their own country, beat down, killed, and imprisoned for no reason other than the fact that they were Black. They were forced to pay taxes to vote and pass literacy tests before they could. While most of that had been eliminated legally by the end of the 1960s, it was the law of the land in South Africa up until the early 1990s. After Mandela was freed, apartheid was abolished, and Blacks could openly live as equals in their homeland and do everything
Including vote for the very first time, and in 1994, Mandela became President of South Africa serving five years in that role before becoming a global activist for equality, racial harmony, HIV/AIDS awareness, and world peace.
I don’t think I’ve ever shared the origin of my common screen name, Nemalki here aside from the fact that he’s one of my major characters in my main superhero universe. The name is a breakdown of three influential figures in history I grew up studying:
El-Hajj MALik El-Shabazz (MALcolm X)
Dr. Martin Luther KIng, Jr.
President Mandela taught me to have patience and hold on to your hopes and dreams even when you’re in your darkest moments. Brother Malcolm taught me to be rebellious against the status quo but learn to grow up and learn from your past mistakes. Dr. King taught me to be optimistic and remain strong in spite of those that try to tear you apart.
They’re just three folks who inspired me to become the man I am today, but they helped give me a name online, and for that, I’m grateful.
My heart is heavy, but I do know President Mandela is at peace now.
Rest well Madiba, and thank you.