Friday, February 12, 2010
Yesterday marked twenty years since Madiba was freed from Victor Verster prison in Paarl, South Africa on February 11, 1990.
When I visited South Africa in the spring of 2004, a friend took me to the prison gate at Victor Verster so I could take a photograph. I never did take any photographs that day in Paarl.
While in Cape Town, all of the Afrikaaners kept asking me if I'd been to Robben Island so that I could see, what has become a tourist site, his former prison cell. I never did take the ferry boat to Robben Island while I was in Cape Town.
Much money has changed hands since Mandela left prison behind. I'm sure many tourists paid for the opportunity to photograph the great man's prison cell. I did not pay for such an opportunity.
I did, however, pay a small price for a ticket to see the great man at the Los Angeles, Coliseum where a benefit concert was held in his honor following his release. The Mandela "victory tour" through America was well-attended by those of us who vehemently opposed the racist policies of apartheid South Africa. Over 70,000 people attended that Friday night event on June 29, 1990.
I do not remember his speech that night nor the musical artists who performed in his honor. I can only remember one highlight from that evening.
What I clearly remember is my 2-year-old son raising his fists while he excitedly chanted "amandla".
I just found an interesting site devoted to some of Mandela's speeches. Click here to check it out!