Ok, I’m a real person again! After 9 days of living out of my backpack and sleeping in a couple different hotels and hostels, I have returned to my home with my shower, beauty products, and clean clothes.
Anywho! Before going to Swaziland my roommate and I stopped in Johannesburg for a day and went to the Apartheid Museum. A must if you are ever in South Africa. It was remarkable, whoever curated this museum deserves a raise and some accolades.
The museum spanned hundreds of years, and was a vivid snapshot of the how apartheid came to be, its implementation, its victims, and the process of reconciliation that emerged in the early 90’s.
Johannesburg was a really interesting city in and of itself. Not the mostly white, European metropolis of Cape Town, Johannesburg was more raw, more black, less polished. I could appreciate it.
The power of Nelson.
I am really into Frantz Fanon. HELLO, he was a master, a philosopher, a man who should be esteemed as highly as Jean Paul Sartre, and those other white dudes we gotta read in college. In his piece “The Fact of Blackness” he speaks about the psychology of oppression.
Fanon speaks in this piece of meeting this white french dude who was a war veteran and had had his leg amputated on a train in 1950’s Paris. The french guys says to him “resign yourself to your color the way I got used to my stump; we’re both victims.” Fanon reflects on the psychoanalytical cure that has been created for many blacks, the cure from our sorrow is to accept the realities of our victimhood as the inferior race. That this is the cure to our conditions of feeling inadequate, accept our skin color as a handicap, something we can’t help. We are victims, and the white mans guilt is all the apology we need to accept our place in society.
Fanon says no, we are not the problem, “they” are. We shall not “as masters…adopt the humility of a cripple.”
I know this sensationalized version of negritude or black consciousness seems far from our realities today, that these sentiments are dated and we may have moved away from slavery or colonialism. But rest assured, there are some self identified cripples walking through our world today that need to reject the cure of acceptance of our inferiority.
We as those annoying ass “black people trying to make a difference”, know another brother or sister who see their color as a handicap, a barrier from progression. What happens to these “cripples”? They become part of the self-fulfilling “ni**as aint sh*t” prophecy that our ancestors/fathers/mothers were taught hundred of years ago (or for some of us younger folks years/months/days ago).
Can we re-educate ourselves? I say that our true cure to feeling inferior is our history. We need another black-consciousness movement to sweep through the cities, the hoods, the projects at the pace of KONY 2012. The rich history of our ancestors reverberates across time and space, let us learn it and relinquish our handicaps to the oppressor and his lasting structures.
FANON 2012 Biko 2012 Du Bois 2012 Mandela 2012 Baldwin 2012 Angelou 2012 Garvey 2012 Sirleaf 2012 Collins 2012 hooks 2012 Nkrumah 2012 Obama 2012
Robben Island is a striking place, surrounded by vivid blue water and clear views of Cape Towns famous mountains. To imagine South Africa’s leaders of the anti-apartheid movement locked away on the barren island surrounded by such natural beauty, left to rot away while life flourished around them, that was so difficult to swallow.
Our tour guide called the island a place of “banishment and dreams.” Where leaders of the African Liberation were dissembled and dehumanized to the point of mental and physical disability.
I had a very out of body experience when standing outside of President Mandela’s cell, that type of moment where you see flashbacks of what I imagined he looked like, what his cell looked like, how he spent his days locked away for being a terrorist. How he still found the strength to wake up every day on that God forsaken island for 18 years. It was a lot for me.
That island really represented the Black struggle. From Cape Town to Lagos, from London to Southeast DC, from Abidjan to Baltimore, the story of black oppression, solidarity, pain, hope, and disillusionment does not change very much. The same tactics of segregation, white superiority, degradation, and censorship have been faithfully applied by racist governments around the world and across many generations.
But what brought me to tears many times during that visit was the power in freedom, that these men, on this island not so long ago, were willing to die for freedom, to be locked away forever for freedom, and not for their own freedom, for humanity’s freedom from the barbaric institutions that cripple inner cities and developing nations all over the world. It was moving to be on the land that cultivated such thinking.
….Ok, ok I’m getting too deep. Let me stop here before this becomes the introduction to my book.