Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Congolese 20: innocent men arrested in South Africa because the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo hates his brother click here
Freedom Riders at African American Museum of Philadelphia click here.
SABC let us travel with Madiba on his last journey. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p1215

From the minute the news broke of the death of Nelson Mandela on the evening of Dec 5 in Pretoria, to his final burial on Dec 15 in Qunu, South African Broadcasting Company has been there.

I watched the interviews while mourners were staying up all night in the rain in the Johannesburg football stadium, watched the service, listened to the speakers, felt the huge surge of hope from South Africans that every problem was fixable. That the problems of economic disparity, corruption and police brutality will be solved.

I visited the Auckland Park studios of the SABC in May 2013. I was taken there by Trevor Mulaudzi, and was interviewed on radio about the reason for my visit: the detaining in Pretoria of 20 Congolese (1 is also American) after scamming and kidnapping by undercover South African police.

I have been struck by the differences between these men, charged with being freedom fighters trying to violently overthrow the government of Congo. Unlike Nelson Mandela, who was driven to prison declaring his intent to continue working towards a violent overthrow of government, these men have not been trying to overthrow anything. All they wanted was to continue working hard, to continue being part of South Africa, educating their children and going to church. Their single crime was being Congolese, and one of them being the brother of the president of Congo, who wants him killed. Let my people go click here

Nelson Mandela Remembered

Above, Melvin Foote, president of CFA (Constituency for Africa). Below, Stanley L Straughter, Honorary Consul for Guinea, former president of CFA and chairman of Philadelphia Mayor's Commission for African Affairs, 2005 to 2013. They both fought against apartheid and supported Nelson Mandela every way they could, and today work towards economic empowerment in sons and daughters of Afrca.
Picture at top of page, and below, Harlem AME memorial Dec 8, 2013. I am standing next to Sandra Zanele Zikalala, the contact for New York City South African gatherings, Imbizo. The ladies of the African press were all there: Princess Tosin Mustapha (Afroheritage), Lisa Vives (Global International Network) and Arao Ameny (Association of African Journalists). Lisa hosted a celebration of the 93d birthday of Nelson Mandela in 2011.
On Dec 18, 2013, Lisa Vives convened a round table in her 5th Avenue office, to discuss the life of Nelson Mandela and the reporting of Danny Schecter. We watched a clip from a movie Danny made after Nelson Mandela visited New York City in 1990.

President Mandela had shortly been released from his 27 years in prison, and was 4 years away from being elected president. He traveled with his wife Winnie. I loved the part in the movie where Betty Shabbaz introduced Winne Mandela, and told her "I am Betty Shabbaz". No reaction. And then, "I am the widow of Malcolm X". Winnie Mandela immediately embraced her. And again.

When good people are spurred to action and organize against human rights abuses in ways that are understood by their countrymen, their actions resound in Africa. And in their families. What I am learning is how many worked together to end apartheid in South Africa. Like Danny Schecter with his camera and his pen, reporting back. And Les Paine. God bless them all.
Madiba: wise leader, mythical hero. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p1209

Madiba was born in the same years as my parents. My parents were both medical graduates working in London hospitals; yet they could not keep disease at bay and perished at 68 and 79.

Contrasting the lives of privilege they had with Madiba.

He was a freedom fighter, a terrorist, who publicly stated during his trial that he believed that violence was need to overthrow apartheid. After that, South African author Alan Patten spoke in court on Madiba's behalf.  During sentencing the judge said the punishment for his crime was execution, but he decided on lifelong imprisonment.

After release at 71, after 27 years of hard labor, Madiba at the age of 75, long past retirement age, fulfilled his promise of wise leadership as the first elected Black president of South Africa.

We knew in the 1990s that Madiba was a mythical hero. Both flawed and perfect like Odysseus. Like Odysseus, he saw his goal clearly and did whatever he could to get there. What he really did spectacularly was not do anything wrong. He did not get lost, no matter where he was or what he faced.

I was choking back tears in the memorial service in Harlem Sunday Dec 8. His release from prison in 1990 was truly a march to the promised land for so many South Africans. And all around the world, we walked with him, and we are walking with him now.

Statement from the Pennsylvania Black Caucus

Harrisburg, Dec. 6Following the death of anti-apartheid icon and former South African President Nelson Mandela, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and its membership expressed their condolences and personal sentiments concerning Mandela and his overall impact upon the global community.

A voice for countless minorities across the globe, Mandela spent 27 years in prison for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid government which accorded the white minority of South Africa total control of the government.

“World pressure forced his release in 1990,” Brown said. “Once freed, Mandela reassumed his role as a powerful voice and the face for social equality in South Africa. His courage and leadership in the face of adversity are the qualities that I most admired in him.

“As a result of the power and influence amassed by Mandela, he was able to achieve the extraordinary feat of winning the first truly open election in South Africa, and tirelessly spent his presidency reconciling the racial disparities in his country. He truly has left the world, and especially his home of South Africa, in a better place.”

 "The world has lost a champion for justice and social equality, a man who wholeheartedly believed that 'social equality is the only basis of human happiness,'" said state Sen. Shirley Kitchen, D-Phila. “While we mourn for the loss of his physical self, Nelson Mandela's work and impact – on a global level – has immortalized him. May he not only be fondly remembered for his courage, tenacity and spirit of kindness and love for all, but for his overall doctrine on humanity. May what he lived and fought for be embodied in us all."

 Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Phila., recalled meeting Mandela years ago: “I will forever remember Nelson Mandela with two words: fearlessness and forgiveness. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives honored him earlier this year for his lifelong dedication to building a more equitable and united world with House Resolution 373, and I was blessed to have met him briefly more than 20 years ago when he came to Philadelphia to receive the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, fittingly, at Independence Hall. Some leaders boycotted the ceremony. I did not. If Nelson Mandela could find the strength to forgive those who jailed him for nearly a third of his life, then I could, too. It is difficult for me to convey the grace, the inner strength and dignity that Mandela exuded during our brief encounter. I remain in awe of the man and his message. May he rest in peace, but his inspiration forever burn brightly.”

 “While this is certainly a sad time for many throughout the global community, this also serves as an optimum opportunity for us to highlight and reemphasize the importance of Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary story,” said state Rep. Cherelle Parker, D-Phila. “Sadly, believe it or not, there are many people within our society who do not possess a firm grasp of Nelson Mandela’s many and invaluable contributions to our world, and that the impact deriving from those efforts had and has no boundaries. As such, I have no doubt that his legacy will remain an enduring one.”

State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila., remembered Mandela’s courage. "Nelson Mandela was not only a powerful leader for the people of South Africa, but an example to all humanity throughout the world. He was, and will continue to be, the epitome of selflessness, sacrifice and courage, not only as a political prisoner amid some of the worst oppression in our modern time, but also as a leader who understood the need to heal the wounds of all citizens he was elected to represent. He transformed the world as a powerful force for peace and democracy, and all of humankind is forever changed."

State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., vividly recalls the movement itself. “I worked with the late state Rep. David P. Richardson Jr. and others to raise money for the anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa. We supported Mandela and the movement 100 percent! Here was a man who fearlessly stood up for his people even when it meant imprisonment. Mandela withstood inhuman treatment for over 25 years and still came out victorious! His contributions to the world must never be forgotten and his name must be raised as a beacon of light for all who seek freedom and justice.”

“Nelson Mandela was a seminal figure in world history,” said state Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila. “Perhaps his most remarkable achievement was his ability to transform South African society, which was totally divided along lines of race, and create a new multi-racial society full participation and opportunity for all racial groups.

 “When I visited South Africa in 2005, I was struck by how well integrated cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town, cities from which Black Africans have been excluded, had become in a very short period of time.”