Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nelson Mandela Laid To Rest In Dignified Funeral

Nelson Mandela's funeral in South Africa
A solemn and dignified military funeral was held yesterday for world hero and former South African President Nelson Mandela. The funeral had a South African Air Force fly over and 21 gun salute. The funeral was attended by many global dignitaries, who had come to pay their last respects to an extraordinary man.

The Jamaica Observer Newspaper writes, "Jamaica was the first country in the western hemisphere and second in the world to India which officially banned trade and travel with the fascist apartheid Government which practised a brutal form of racism in South Africa."

Military fly over in tribute to Mandela at his funeral

Mandela has always been an inspiration to Jamaicans. He symbolizes freedom, equality, courage and hope. In him Jamaicans see a brave conqueror who fought the oppressor and won. Three years before he became the first black President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela and his then wife Winnie Mandela, were formally invited to Jamaica by the late, great Jamaican Prime Minister, Michael Manley. The Mandelas graciously accepted and visited Jamaica in July 1991.

My aunt, Professor Lorna Goodison, an award winning writer, who is one of the most famous poets in the world, was chosen to write a poem for the Mandelas, which she read to them at an official ceremony. She titled it "Bedspread" in tribute of the Mandelas love during the time of his unjust incarceration (see poem below).

Former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, former South African President Nelson Mandela and then wife Winnie Mandela in 1991

Growing up in America, I have witnessed how Mandela has been a strong and positive force as well, spoken about with admiration and love by many. He is a man that took a stand and paid a dear price for it in his nation, but in the end, justice prevailed and he was vindicated. People should always stand up for what they believe, because right is right and wrong is wrong. Rest in peace Mr. Mandela.

"Bedspread" by Lorna Goodison

Sometimes in the still
unchanging afternoons
when the memories crowded
hot and hopeless against
her brow
she would seek its cool colors
and signal him to lie down
in his cell.
It is three in the afternoon Nelson
let us rest here together
upon this bank draped in freedom
It was woven by women with slender
capable hands
accustomed to binding wounds,
hands that closed the eyes of
dead children,
that fought for the right to
speak in their own tongues
in their own land
in their own schools.
They wove the bedspread
and knotted notes of hope
in each strand
and selvaged the edges with
ancient blessings
older than any white man's coming.
So in the afternoons lying on this
bright bank of blessing
Nelson my husband I meet you in dreams
my beloved much of the world too is
asleep blind to the tyranny and evil
devouring our people.
But, Mandela, you are rock on this sand
harder than any metal
mined in the bowels of this land
you are purer than any
gold tempered by fire
shall we lie here wrapped
in the colors of our free Azania?
They arrested the bedspread.
They and their friends are working
to arrest the dreams in our heads
and the women, accustomed to closing
the eyes of the dead
are weaving cloths still brighter
to drape us in glory in a Free Azania.