Oddly enough I don’t usually remember this day-the day that my father died-21 years ago. It usually passes like any other day. I think of him on October 16 because it was his birthday as well as, my sister’s birthday and my parent’s anniversary. That made it quite the day in our household so much it seemed like it should be designated an official holiday. Then there are holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when I get nostalgic and sentimental about the times passed and my emotions creep up when I least expect. Having children has made it easier to focus on the new much more than the old, but there is always something missing and when I get overwhelmed or frustrated by the broken family that I have been left with, it saddens me in a way that others don’t always see or recognize; those moments of melancholy that bring me to a spot, crying all by myself; where yearning is all that’s left.
Yet, my friend, a fellow blogger: Afzal Moola-Mandela Day has made me aware that this is Mandela Day and now it is a day to remember because it is the day Nelson Mandela was born in 1918, the same day my father departed in 1996. Now I have discovered a reason this is a day to recognize & commemorate, not for death but for the birth and life of a strong, resilient, courageous humanitarian who was brought into this world almost 100 years ago and will never be forgotten. His life endures for a nation and a world just as my father’s does for me. Both heroes were impactful to me in their own ways because of their actions, words, and strength; men of courage and perseverance.
When I was in college and took my first Global Politics course, which persuaded me to declare this field of study as my major, it was the stories of South Africa, their struggles with Apartheid, and Nelson Mandela’s steadfastness, courage, and tenacity that astonished me. My professor pointed out that it was the unique, non-violent boycott that successfully ended Apartheid and he showed us videos of how this resistance played out. It was a movement I am sure I heard about as a young child but never really paid close attention to. During this class it occurred to me what I wanted to do in life….”Help People!” This was merely the beginning of my learning and understanding of the world around me and how colonialism, suppression, and exploitation had created the unrest, violence, and disadvantages in society. I even decided that with all the unrest and political upheaval that still exists in Africa, it was a destination I hoped to visit one day because I knew there was a people, culture and beauty that would touch me deeply if I ever got the chance. Living modestly and having children has not allowed me to accomplish this dream; yet.
So on this day I remember two men; not for their deaths, but for their lives. Two men who endured their own personal struggles, abuses, and conflicts but endured and held strong to their convictions. One is honored for bringing me into this world and showing me a love and compassion that he did not experience as a child in the same way he was able to express for his own wife and children. The other a man who changed the course of the world; especially his nation.
An Ode to REAWAKENING
Rise up, stand firm, and be an example for the next generation! The time has come,
AGAIN, for change and we must be mightier than ever, the powerful have found new
avenues for fostering inequality, less obvious & more dangerous, it is critical to
pay attention, choose your NEEDS carefully and thoughtfully…what you say, the
actions you exhibit, & every dollar you spend can make a difference! The time is
NOW to unify & stand together as one-DON’T LET THE POWER HUNGRY CHOOSE
OUR PATH ANYMORE-DON’T LET THEM TURN US AGAINST OUR FELLOW
NEIGHBORS/BROTHERS/SISTERS/COMRADES…..we CAN be color blind, we don’t need
to separate ourselves based on insignificant hues! Join together as a human FAMILY
because we have different stories, but not different components. Create bonds NOT
barriers, create peace NOT war, create understanding NOT hatred. The fate, health,
and posterity of the world, OUR WORLD, depends upon it!
Happy Nelson Mandela Day!
Peace, love, and understanding for ALL,
P.S. The poem is in green to represent the color of my father’s eyes.