Greetings all! In light of the Nelson Mandela’s recent death, and the typical revisionist media surrounding revolutionary leaders upon their demise, I wanted to write an article reminding us of Mandela’s true politics. I noticed that nearly all media personalities and outlets highlight Mandela’s “willingness and ability to overcome bitterness and reconcile with his former oppressors.”
While this is true, the overwhelming focus on this one aspect of his leadership serves to obscure his revolutionary politics of resistance to the former rulers of South Africa and his longstanding relationship with nations/leaders deemed enemies of the state by the American government. International figures (Gaddafi, Arafat, and Fidel Castro among others) that assisted the anti-apartheid struggle, and whom Mandela deemed friends and comrades-at-arms, were bitterly denounced by America . We must look with suspicion upon those who claim to love and support Mandela and refer to him as a global icon, but demonize those Mandela himself respected and formed allegiances with. Additionally, as I noted on Facebook:
There is a need to put the importance of Nelson Mandela and his legacy in perspective. I am personally offended when politicians/leaders claim to support his activities in South Africa, but did/do not support such leaders, organizations and activities in America. Its time to expose the hypocrisy!
I came across an article addressing Mandela’s politics that I hope you’ll all read, because we must not revise and reconfigure a person’s legacy to our own liking, but truly understand a person according to their actual views, values and motivations.
Agyei Tyehimba is a former NYC public schoolteacher, co-founder of KAPPA Middle School 215 in the Bronx, NY, and co-author of the Essence Bestselling book, Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, published in 2007 by Simon & Schuster. Agyei has appeared on C-Span, NY1 News, and most recently on the A&E documentary, “The Mayor of Harlem: Alberto ‘Alpo’ Martinez.” Mr. Tyehimba is a professional consultant and public speaker providing political advice and direction for Black college student organizations, community activist groups, and nonprofit organizations. If you are interested in bringing Agyei to speak to your organization, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.