The series of pics that follow are of a house on Vilakazi St. in Soweto, one of—the now late—Nelson Mandela’s old residences. I visited the site one recent winter and it was an overwhelming and haunting experience. The walls are still wounded with gun shots and black smoke is pasted onto the naked brick walls, all this narrating tales of teargas, fears, shrills, torment, of horrid violence—of South Africa’s darkest period. It was also an experience of great pride for me to walk on the same ground as the great Madiba once did. I will forever know and appreciate that my small footsteps made a presence where his giant ones paved before.
You are not the same person walking out as when you first stepped inside a house, a memorial that so fully symbolises heroism, revolutionism, and exemplary leadership. Your every day thereafter will consist of you trying in your own small way to give expanse and form to little square boxes . To interrogate, to provoke, to incite change, and to serve.
Ah, what is a tribute without a quotable?
Here’s to a shared love of reading: “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” (Nelson Mandela 1918–2013)
Again, and with much gratitude, go gentle, Madiba.
(Above image by popular South African cartoonist, Zapiro)