Entertainers, culture specialist look back at Nelson Mandela
Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
In light of the death of Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world's most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century after serving 27 years behind bars due to his blatant opposition to white minority rule in South Africa, several members of the local music industry have shared their thoughts on the man many regard as the father of South Africa.
According to iconic record producer, King Jammys, Nelson Mandela was honourable in every sense of the word.
The producer, responsible for some of reggae's greatest hit instrumentals, says he respects the fact that Mandela did not use negative tactics to get back at people who imprisoned him.
"Nelson Mandela means a whole lot to me based on his teachings. He went through a lot of struggles and he still managed to make himself into an iconic and positive figure. The persons who sent him to prison, he didn't go against them in a negative way because he was an honourable man. I rate him as the number-one figure," King Jammys said.
Platinum-selling artiste, Chakka Demus, told The Sunday Gleaner Nelson Mandela is the "greatest hero of all time".
According to the artiste, who has so far sold over a million copies of his '90s hit record Murder She Wrote alongside Pliers, Jamaican politicians should take a page from Nelson Mandela's book.
"He really loved people, and our politicians need to follow his footsteps. That man was a very strong human being and he fought right through his struggles and never bowed. Even when they offered him freedom in exchange for him to stop defending his people, he rejected the freedom and a nuff people nah duh dat.
"Ask one of these politicians if they would spend 27 years in jail for the people," the artiste said.
Chakka Demus also disclosed that during his tour of South Africa, he was told various tales by the citizens about Nelson Mandela, many of which were so touching that the storytellers often broke down in tears.
Lecturer in political philosophy and culture at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr Clinton Hutton, also shared his thoughts on Mr Mandela.
Hutton, who says he was a part of the anti-apartheid movement in Jamaica during his formative years, regards Nelson Mandela as a seminal figure who shaped his political identity and his view on human rights and justice.
"His death was expected because of his age, but his legacy will never be diminished, and even in death, his work will continue to shape humanity. He not only advocated for the freedom of black people, but also whites. Because for black people to be free, white people had to be free at first from white supremacy; as they enslaved us, they enslaved themselves. Mandela's vision was not just to free blacks from oppression, but also to free whites. That was the beauty of Mandela's journey, it was against both black and white supremacy," Hutton told The Sunday Gleaner.
Nelson Mandela is survived by Machel, his daughter Makaziwe by his first marriage, and daughters Zindzi and Zenani by his second.
Nelson Mandela was also an amateur heavyweight boxer in his formative years.