Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Musa Okwonga - Mandela Will Never, Ever Be Your Minstrel (excerpt)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a text excerpt of a spoken word composition about Nelson Mandela that was written by Musa Okwonga.

Click for the entire composition along wth a sound file of Okwonga's recitation of that composition.

I read that entire spoken word composition on another website which had posted it along with a hyperlink to Okwonga's website. However, I'm only posting a portion of this powerful, lyrical composition because I want to encourage people to visit Okwonga's website.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, cultural, and aesthetic reasons,

All copyrights remain with their owners.

(Wusa Okwonga; December 6, 2013)

"Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view. Right now, you are anxiously pacing the corridors of your condos and country estates, looking for the right words, the right tributes, the right-wing tributes. You will say that Mandela was not about race. You will say that Mandela was not about politics. You will say that Mandela was about nothing but one love, you will try to reduce him to a lilting reggae tune. “Let’s get together, and feel alright.” Yes, you will do that.

You will make out that apartheid was just some sort of evil mystical space disease that suddenly fell from the heavens and settled on all of us, had us all, black or white, in its thrall, until Mandela appeared from the ether to redeem us. You will try to make Mandela a Magic Negro and you will fail. You will say that Mandela stood above all for forgiveness whilst scuttling swiftly over the details of the perversity that he had the grace to forgive.

You will try to make out that apartheid was some horrid spontaneous historical aberration, and not the logical culmination of centuries of imperial arrogance. Yes, you will try that too. You will imply or audaciously state that its evils ended the day Mandela stepped out of jail. You will fold your hands and say the blacks have no-one to blame now but themselves.

Well, try hard as you like, and you’ll fail. Because Mandela was about politics and he was about race and he was about freedom and he was even about force, and he did what he felt he had to do and given the current economic inequality in South Africa he might even have died thinking he didn’t do nearly enough of it. And perhaps the greatest tragedy of Mandela’s life isn’t that he spent almost thirty years jailed by well-heeled racists who tried to shatter millions of spirits through breaking his soul, but that there weren’t or aren’t nearly enough people like him"...
Click the link given above for for the entire spoken word composition.

Here's a biography that I found for Musa Okwonga from
"Musa Okwonga is a writer, poet, broadcaster, musician and communications adviser. In 2008 his first football book, A Cultured Left Foot, was nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. He is one half of The King's Will, an electronica outfit that blends poetry, music, and animated videos."
In addition to this citation that infers that Musa Okwonga resides in the United Kingdom, I've also seen citations for Musa Okwonga (Uganda). I believe this is the same writer.

Thanks to Musa Okwonga for this spoken word composition.

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