You South African beauty

Nelson MandelaWho could resist that winning smile? Well… 28+ years in prison proves there’s no accounting for taste.

What a beautiful man.

He may have been a bit of a rubbish MK leader of the armed struggle, but Rolihlahla the troublemaker went on to be the world’s most effective ambassador for peace and reconciliation in prison and afterwards. (Though here’s a less rosy view of Mandela’s legacy.) He changed tack on HIV/Aids too. If only more of us were able accept enlightenment.

I was fascinated with South Africa when I was young – one of the causes. So in 1984, when “Mary Manning of Kilmainham, a 21-year-old cashier” (as the song goes) and IDATU member was suspended for refusing to sell South African (apartheid) produce in Dunnes Stores on Henry Street in Dublin, Irish Anti Apartheid Movement members like myself got up to mischief at other Dunnes branches in support.

The strike never really grabbed the popular imagination in Ireland, but it also led to a law change on the import of apartheid produce to the country, and the strikers eventually had a street named after them in post-apartheid Johannesburg. Back then the strike made me proud to be Irish. (Here’s the song – I can’t find the Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger version.)

Nelson Mandela mural, Falls Road, Belfast 1988

Nelson Mandela mural, Falls Road, Belfast 1988

Nelson Mandela has long been (appropriated as) an icon in some parts of Belfast. However, to be fair to the appropriators, the same man seemed pleased and sympathetic.

I guess it was at least partly because of Madiba that I travelled to work and wander in South Africa. Lots of good times.

Among the highlights – taking a street paper seller to Cape Point (he was the only black visitor), operating an informal taxi service for the day round Khayelitsha, organising an Alternative G8 Summit in a high school in Umlazi, finding hospitality (and the oddest aircraft) in Amazizi and Heidelberg, standing at the top of Tugela Falls (2nd highest drop after Angel Falls), in the cell and up the watch tower on Robben Island, the District Six Museum in Cape Town (definite contender for best museum ever) and the solemn majesty of the Drakensberg.

Two lots of musicians I did some work with spring to mind – DJ Moklash in hiding from anti-immigrant killer mobs (he’s actually South African but grew up in Zimbabwe) and the Green Berets – singers with polio. (Too tired to find a video of those guys right now.)

So – South Africa – beautiful people, beautiful voices, beautiful country – you should go there for yourself. A beautiful South African died this week. I remember buying the single of this beautiful song for him.

This is a post on beauty for the Loose Bloggers Consortium – find the rest of them by clicking on their names – Ramana, Delirious, gaelikaa, MaxiPadmumShackman and The Old Fossil -for the moment.

Final word from The Onion – headline: Nelson Mandela becomes first politician to be missed.



Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium, life, Music

19 responses to “You South African beauty

  1. 29

    A sad day, yes but yet how appropriate that, when the time comes for a great man to take the next step to his eternal reward he is permitted to go and not detained with all the medical technology available as has happened to some. May he rest in peace. I hope that it is not too presumptuous to say that it has been a privilege to coincide with him and observe, very much at second hand, his march to freedom and peace-making.
    An interesting post with all the ‘frontline’ personal details. I enjoyed the songs and what about that great moustache that the trumpeter had.
    Do you remember, he referred to the singing group as ‘the Spicer Girls’.
    Re ‘The less rosy side’ link, I hope that that was at least a little unkind.

  2. Nelson Mandela, a hero to the world, R.I.P.
    blessings ~ maxi

  3. Yes, Madiba had quite a smile. I remember when I was 21, there was a big hit song out ’21 years in captivity, are you so blind that you cannot see’ It was about Nelson Mandela.

  4. A beautiful soul. It was like losing a member of our family.

  5. Very fitting tribute. We lost a great man. But I think I read that he was 95….that’s pretty old! 🙂

    • blackwatertown

      Happily the good don’t always die young. He did one part of his duty by simply living so long – oveseeing various peaceful changes of government.

  6. Two things strike me about his death – all the people who are genuinely moved and tearful that he is gone, and all the people who loathed him a few years back but are now heaping their hypocritical eulogies on him.

    • blackwatertown

      And then – as one tweeter wrote: Let’s all score points off each other. It’s what he would have wanted.
      Being charitable about the hypocrites – maybe they’ve found enlightenment.

  7. South Africa is very much on my bucket list. You are the last on the list of illustrious people who have recommended that I visit it and I am sure that there will be others. And Nelson Mandela is indeed a most beautiful human being. Rare to come across one with such great attributes.

    Another beautiful country that you must visit and get to know some of its indigenous music groups is my glorious land. Try. My beautiful sister and I will help you to make it a memorable one.

    • blackwatertown

      You’re right. I need to get my act together and check out your neighbourhood. I have to reacquaint myself with Ireland first, and then…

  8. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall see the Kingdom of God…” RIP Nelson Mandela. The world has lost a truly great man of Peace.

  9. When the Ethiopians of South Africa heard of the A. M. E. Church, St. Peter’s Church, in Pretoria, South Africa, of which Rev. Joseph M. Kanyane was pastor, sent Rev. J. M. Duane, in 1896, to the A. M. E. General Conference at Wilmington, N. C., praying recognition and membership. He was received by Bishop H. M. Turner and Missionary Secretary H. B. Parks and Rev. Joseph S. Flipper, at Atlanta, Ga., July 12, 1896, into the A. M. E. connection in due form. Then Bishop Turner went to South Africa and organized the Cape Colony South African Annual Conference in 1896 with 7175 members. Now they have churches, conferences, schools, pupils and resident bishop. Hence it is seen that African Methodism, since its birth, has spread with efficiency and acceptance from east, west, north and south.

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