Editorial: Madiba — “We Are Powerful Beyond Measure”

Editorial, Feature

Matthew Willman 008

The nature of this post is far more personal than any other we’ve published. It is in light of 2013 coming to an end and there will be a few more like it coming as the magazine wraps up and reflects on its first year of existence. WDYFILWHH is about hip hop and its culture. So this includes issues and news exterior to the industry and the artists, rappers, emcees, DJs, producers and other figures in it. I just want to add a HUGE thank you to everyone who has shown support, and shown love so far, it has been an amazing year for us and we look forward to the next year to come. This post raises a fist for Nelson Mandela. Salute.  

Thirteen, in the past hasn’t been a very good number for me. My partner died on the 13th, so did my grandfather. For me, 2013 was more about laying down foundations as opposed to achieving highlights; I knew I needed to work my way out of a very deep low in order to strive toward a more permanent high.  As December rolls so fluidly toward 2014, I am still paving down bricks for this blog and learning to be happier and more comfortable within myself.

Now, as I write this, my Facebook feed snow balls with Nelson Mandela tributes. Yesterday, Thursday December 5th 2013, in the evening, he passed away. He was 95 years old. And as my friends list cottons on to the fact we just lost one of the world’s best people ever, some say it is sad. But I don’t think so. After 27 years in prison and then becoming the first black president of one of the world’s most racist countries; after abolishing apartheid and allowing blacks and coloureds to vote for the first time in their history, I feel like this man’s life should be celebrated. The way the Mexicans do. Because what he did for South Africa, his generation and every colored and black person’s children can’t be measured. And he did it by sacrificing his own personal life. He lost his first love and wife — the mother of his children — the woman who was there with him as he struggled through persecution and 27 years in jail — and then a presidency, Winnie, because his mission for everyone came first.

My son is half South African-coloured. And I feel like, had Mandela not sacrificed his own ‘normal’ ‘nuclear’ family life so that eventually blacks and coloureds would know freedom as the whites had, my mother in-law may not have even come to New Zealand. You weren’t really allowed to travel without being drilled by the authorities she remembers, it would have just been too hard. ‘I remember when you couldn’t talk to a white person, and if you kissed a white person back then, well you went to jail’.

My favorite quote ever is by Mandela, and it’s been on my Facebook ‘About’ section for years. Not just today. It is this one:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within is. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Lately, the things that have happened to me, or given to me, have cause me to reflect on the universe and how one’s journey and experiences just happen to occur. Of course we forge our own way in this world, and we do it by controlling our behaviours and decisions. But lately, there has been ideas of faith and pre-written notions that have occurred to me, because the more I follow the above quote and have faith in the message in it, the more I believe in myself — the more I have got what I want.

The lesson to embrace fear and the feeling of success is certainly one I have housed since last week. Not just today. Getting what you want is scary. Especially  when you have been told (and are still told) for so long you wont and can’t have what you want….

I don’t know anything really, but Mandela passing away today, after a life so courageously lived, to me, is a sign/omen/message — whatever you want to call it, that one has to keep fighting for what they feel is right, what they want to achieve, for what they feel is good. For who we think we are.

Because Mandela did, he rests in power and respect now, but he sacrificed to have it. He sacrificed family and a normal life, and if all we have to sacrifice, subsequently, is failing a few times, losing face and feeling like a dick for a bit, then so be it I say. He deified logic and doubt to win. Now he’ll sit on a throne in people’s hearts  forever, but we have to remember that he had absolutely nothing to start with. If ever I got to meet him, I would have asked how he felt when he heard people complain that things are not fair.

And with all due respect, I want to say —  as a non-South African, I feel connections to this man. And that, to me, suggests the power of someone who really knew how to live life, because he really knew what love is.

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