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PUBLISHED: 04:52 GMT, 5 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:45 GMT, 5 April 2013
Police were called to keep the crowds at bay after Beyonce and Jay-Z were mobbed in Havana, Cuba.
The celebrity couple were celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary in the island capital when they were surrounded by dozens of well-wishers.
The law enforcement officers arrived at the renowned restaurant La Guarida on Wednesday night.
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Power couple: Beyonce and Jay-Z stepped out in Havana, Cuba, on Thursday as they dined out for lunch to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary
Backup: Police were called to keep the crowds at bay after Beyonce and Jay-Z were mobbed on the streets of Havana
Mobbed: La Guarida restaurant provided this handout photo of Beyonce’s visit that quickly became mobbed
All eyes: Jay-Z appeared to stare protectively of his wife who carefully stepped behind him in heels as they walked into the flash of waiting cameras
Beaming beauty: Beyonce otherwise beamed and smiled for the cameras and her fans while described by a waitress to have not been wearing a drop of makeup
The famous couple’s bodyguards’ presence outside set the gritty, bustling neighbourhood of Centre Havana abuzz, and a crowd gathered downstairs shouting Beyonce’s name until she went to a balcony and waved.
Waitress Silvia Fernandez said Beyonce toured the eatery and looked at photos of past celebrity clients including Jack Nicholson, Jodie Foster, Danny Glover, Will Smith and James Belushi.
‘She was beautiful, without a drop of makeup, very natural,’ Fernandez said. ‘What happened with the people was incredible.’
Causing a stir: Jay-Z puffed away on a Cuban cigar as they toured the area flanked by a bodyguard
Fan frenzy: Crowds assembled outside the Saratoga hotel in a bid to catch a glimpse of the singer in Old Havana
Police arrived and made sure she was able to exit without incident.
The 31-year-old singer cut a striking image, with her hair styled into cornrows.
She was wearing a patterned yellow ensemble which showed off her legs while rapper Jay-Z, 43, looked like the quintessential tourist in shorts, a blue T-shirt and hat.
You’re my idol: The songstress met with schoolchildren and posed for a photograph with them
Famous visitor: Beyonce took time out to chat to the local children
La Guarida staffers showed The Associated Press pictures of the two dining on typical Cuban creole favourites – fish, chicken, black beans and rice – accompanied by their mothers.
The privately run restaurant is famous as the filming location for the hit movie Strawberry and Chocolate, and is a mainstay on Havana’s tourist circuit.
The couple – who married Paris on April 4, 2008 – toured colonial Old Havana wearing dark glasses and were surrounded by bodyguards and excited fans.
Taking a breather: Beyonce and Jay-Z took stopped for lunch at a restaurant which boasted a rooftop terrace with a sweeping view of the harbour
Still going strong: It is five years to the day since they R&B star wed in Paris, France
Beyonce posed for pictures with local schoolchildren while Jay-Z puffed on a Cuban cigar, and then they popped into another restaurant that boasts a rooftop terrace with a sweeping view of the harbour.
Beyonce and Jay-Z declined to speak to reporters, and it was not clear why they travelled to Cuba. State-run website CubaSi called it a tourist trip.
Just gotta light it! Bey took control of the camera as Jay-Z enjoyed his cigar as they walked the streets
Fanfare: A street performer looks on as the famous couple walk on by on their tour
Washington’s 51-year embargo makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to visit Cuba for mere tourism, although tens of thousands of Americans travel there each year on academic, religious, journalistic or cultural exchange visas.
The Obama administration eased many of the restrictions in 2011, but tourists still need a special visa or to be part of an organized tour.
In the past, artists who were challenged by the government have said they visited for cultural purposes.
Goods spirits: The power couple looked to be having a great time in the Cuban capital
FROM Global African Presence on Facebook
AN 18th CENTURY EUROPEAN PAINTING OF AN ETHIOPIAN KING WELCOMING ENVOYS FROM PERSIA.
Tirhas Gebru; Ethiopia never been Colonized, you know why ? Because Ethiopians sacrificed for their freedom with their lives. Their history and victory is written with their blood and nobody can deny that except Ethiopian enemies !
Like · ￼3 · 6 hours ago
Lonnie F. Coaxum
Dr. Rashidi can you provide us a pic of the Sphinx with it noise on
Like · 5 hours ago
Global African Presence
There is no such picture Lonnie.
Like · ￼1 · 5 hours ago
Abdulkarim Atiki;- Ethiopia fought Facist Italians twice
The first invasion, Ethiopians defeated Facist Italians by destroying their entire army. There where Italian soldiers who surrendered in thousands but the Emperor at the time “The great Emperor Menelik” pardon them and those who like to return to their country, went back and some choose to live in Ethiopia. The Emperor also declared no one to touch them or treat them like outsider. The people accept the order and Most of them get married with Ethiopian woman and have family and lived peacefully like everybody. Their ancestors still live in Ethiopia. You can take a visit and see it for yourself.
• The second occupation was five years but in those five years the people fought the enemy day and night. The people never surrendered to the enemy. It is known as “the resistance movement of 1936-1941.”
Finally the people kick out the Italian Invaders completely from the land in 1941. This means Facist Italian Colonizers defeated for the second time. The leader of Ethiopia at the time was “Emperor Haile Selassie”. Peace restored once again in the nation, but with a high prize and sacrifice !
Like · ￼3 · 5 hours ago
I love this history class !
Like · ￼1 · 5 hours ago
I never knew about my people in school. What a shame!
Like · ￼2 · 4 hours ago
Mildew Bossalini…: like Libya, Syria, Iraq…the same tactics have been used for years…1935 the emperor of Ethiopia was terrorised…ancient manuscripts were burnt to destroy evidence…war and hate among ourselves..happening today in the entire world then they rewrite the history the rest…
Like · ￼4 · 4 hours ago
Because of white power’
Like · ￼1 · 4 hours ago
whites do not have POWER they have DEATH
Like · ￼3 · 3 hours ago
Anthony Devon Gayle
Welcoming the ENEMIES.
Like · ￼1 · 3 hours ago
Primate Babatunde Ayodele
NIGERIAN TRIBUNE – Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele is the founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos. Renowned as a seer, he tells KEHINDE OYETIMI, in this interview, some of the occurrences Nigerians should expect in 2014 and in the nearest future.MANY people only know you as a prophet but few know your background. Can you tell us about this?
I am from a Christian family where I was taught about God and how to fear God. From there I grew up in such a way that when you go to church, you follow the doctrines as directed.
When did you start developing the gift of prophecy?
I never intended to be a prophet. I just attended church and prayed while growing up. I was around 17 years old when I fell into a trance for 21 days. It actually happened like this. I was washing my mother’s clothes and the next day was to be my birthday. I was thinking that I had not really fasted. My father would always say that I should fast. But I didn’t like it. So that day, when it was 12 noon, I told myself that I should go and eat but before I knew what was happening, I fell in a trance. That was all. It was after that that I decided what church to attend. I joined the Christ Apostolic Church. When I got there, the woman in charge gave me the responsibility of leading prayer sessions.
After a while, I went to Aviation School in Zaria where I joined the Celestial Church of Christ. After that, I joined the Scripture Union. After which I joined a gospel church. It was after that that I joined the Cherubim and Seraphim church. Every church that I attended gave me one responsibility or the other to handle.
After the 21 days of being in a trance, what happened?
All I said were written and they all came to pass. So, many things happened.
Do you think that it would be great for you to pass this gift to one of your children?
Yes. Why shouldn’t I? It is good to serve God and it is good to be in God’s vineyard. It is honourable.
Since you started dishing out prophetic utterances, have you ever fallen out with people in authority?
I have been close to so many people both within the country and outside. I have friends. I have been very useful to those in authority. I would not like to mention anybody’s name. My prophecies have always been coming to pass through the grace of the Almighty God.
Nigeria is very religious with so many churches and mosques. Yet the level of corruption in all facets of the country is high. What is your take on that?
I am aware of all these. It has been God who has been taking care of the country. If it were not God, Nigeria would have collapsed. There is no church where offerings are not collected. How do you expect the pastor to differentiate between the offering of a criminal and that of a just man? It is only God who has been helping us out of our different problems. No pastor or church can lay claim to being exclusively useful to the peace of the nation.
In January every year, prophets come out with different but largely negative prophecies…
I will not take that. There is nothing negative about the warning of God. The problem is usually the way that we take these prophecies. We are far away from the truth. It is the manner in which these prophecies are portrayed by the press. It is also the way that people react to these prophecies. In the Bible, at the commencement of each year, Kings and leaders would seek the mind of God through prophets in the land. Many people do not understand what prophecies entail. Before the general recession took place, God had repeatedly told me that we should pray against global recession. But did anybody take to it? No.
God sends us prophecies with the intent to prepare us for it. It is when we don’t adhere that the negative aspect then happens. We take many things for granted in this country. We are too critical. We don’t fear God. Every country has its own prophets.
What do we expect this year and the nearest future?
If APC is not careful, it will lose Oyo State in 2015. APC will lose to Accord Party if only Ladoja does not contest. Please, kindly understand what I have just said. If APC is not careful, it will lose in 2015. That is a warning. When people get into government, they forget God so easily. It will be an election between Accord Party and the APC. It is left for the two of them to take caution.
I told Jonathan in 2011 and 2012 that governors would gang up against him but he didn’t listen. God knows about the crisis in PDP.
The present governor of Osun State will have issues ahead re-election this year that the opposition can lean upon to fight against him. There will be rigging in the Osun election. No other party will come up. It will be between PDP and APC. PDP wants to take over at all costs. This is a warning.
After the victory of either of the parties, expect litigation. There will be crisis before and after the election in Osun State. A lot of politicians will be threatened. Religion will take a significant place in Osun election. It will be a test of what is to be expected in the general election between APC and PDP in 2015. APC must be careful so as not to lose any state in 2015.
In Ekiti State, if PDP fields a wrong candidate, it will make the APC to retain the seat very easily. But if it gets the right candidate, it will be a battle. Opeyemi Bamidele can’t be governor in Ekiti. It is a battle between APC and PDP. Labour Party can’t take Ekiti.
This year, Jonathan will cajole Nigerians and some other politicians. Some people will want to defect to APC. APC will goof. It will not make the presidency despite all the shakeups that will come up. Jonathan will beg Obasanjo. There will be moves by PDP to reconcile. There will be negotiations on the office of the Vice-President, Chief of Staff, SGF, and in the process some people will ask Jonathan to step down. Jonathan will then begin to struggle for a second term. Some of the governors who left PDP will return in the nearest future. Jonathan will be the last president that PDP will produce. It will not be easy for the PDP. Tukur will be relieved of his position.
Northern leaders will not support Jonathan in 2015. Tambuwal should not contest for the presidency. He will not win. He will be under pressure to leave PDP. If he leaves the PDP, he will have a lot of issues. He will face a lot of crises. He must be careful. Despite all its present problems, PDP will face a lot of challenges this year. PDP will win the presidency but they may lose some states. Jonathan should consult God for a second term. If Jonathan eventually becomes Nigeria’s president for a second time, he should watch his health. His second term will not be as peaceful as he expects. We should pray for the First Lady.
I see chaos and political revolution. The national confab is going nowhere. They want to use the confab for political purposes. I see a confab where we will be talking about disintegration. It may take 30 or 50 years but Nigeria cannot stay together for another 100 years.
If Buhari is not given APC presidential ticket, he will neither be here nor there. He may threaten to pull out of the APC. Buhari is expecting that ticket. Jonathan is the cause of all these problems because he did not listen to warnings.
There will be clamour for a Christian governor. If Lagos does not produce a Christian governorship candidate, APC will lose Lagos. I see an unknown man ruling Lagos in 2015. If APC wants to retain Lagos in 2015, it must produce a Christian as a candidate. The person might have been in government. I do not see Ikuforiji, Ashafa winning that seat. The direction is from Ikorodu area.
Nigeria’s economy will not be fantastic in 2014. The price of food items will go up. Some markets will be shut down in the Eastern part of the country and in the Southern part. Prices of garri, palm oil and flour will go up. Price of vegetable will go up. Jonathan’s presidential economic team will fail him. Some ministers will be eased out while new ones will come in.
Aviation and the oil and gas ministries will be probed by the House of Representatives. There will be more threats to remove them. Nothing serious will come out of SEC. The DG of SEC will face a probe panel. The House of Reps will probe the Finance Minister this year. Their jobs will be under threat this year.
There will be troubles. The excess crude oil account will cause problems. I see that Nigeria will borrow money.
I don’t know when this will come up but Aba will be the China of Nigeria where Nigeria will produce vehicles, motorcycles and tricycles. Exotic guns will be made in Nigeria. I am not saying it will happen in 2014 but it is part of the things that we should be expecting in the nearest future.
It will be a pleasure if we can manage these crises and then I see a greater Nigeria.
Northern governors will break because of Jonathan’s second term ambition. Part of the Northern elders will not support Jonathan’s second term. There will be many controversies.
Bayelsa State governor must be watchful because he will have some challenges. There will be an issue against him. There will be youth unrest in Bayelsa.
Delta, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Cross River states and others
Let’s pray that we won’t experience ethnic crisis in Delta State. We should also pray against communal crisis in Cross Rivers State. In Akwa Ibom, there will be crisis on whom to take over from Governor Godswill Akpabio. If Akpabio picks an unpopular candidate, there will be a lot of problems for PDP. Lagos will have more water reforms. I foresee cholera and measles outbreak in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Kwara, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa and Yobe states. There will be some irregularities and misconduct at the Lagos State Inland Revenue which will later be exposed. Lagos State should not stop the use of tricycle as I forsee that there will an attempt at that. This will work against the state government. Let’s pray against flood in some Northern parts in the year 2014. Some of the outgoing governors may have crisis. Like the Cross Rivers State governor must be watchful. The forthcoming election in Rivers State will be very volatile. Kenny Martins should pray for his health. Oyo state will attempt to create more local governments. Ogun State will attempt something similar.
Sharing formula and crisis in PDP
There will be changes in the sharing formula in 2014. Jonathan will find every means to bring back some PDP members.
Ekiti governorship election
Ayo Fayose may be used in Ekiti PDP as governorship candidate.
There will be crisis in Lebanon. I see crisis in Rwanda too. There will be bloodbath in Pakistan. I forsee trouble in South África, Angola.
Presidential candidate in APC
APC will fail to pick Buhari. There will be attempts at mediation between Jonathan and Amaechi. Amaechi will not take it easy at all. It will be difficult for the PDP to bring up somebody else. APC will want to field a PDP member as their presidential candidate. Tambuwal may likely be APC’s presidential candidate. If he is picked, Tambuwal will give Jonathan a serious fight. But at the end, Jonathan will find his way.
Let’s pray not to lose any Nollywood star. I see the passing away of a Nollywood star in Yoruba and English. ANTP will have crisis.
Anenih should pray for his health.
Boko Haram crisis
The government will try to expose those behind Boko Haram but with fear. Government will try to dialogue with Boko Haram which will score Jonathan’s government zero.
Attempt on Jonathan’s life
There will be an attempt on Jonathan’s life. He must be conscious of what he takes. His health needs prayers.
PHCN, government agencies and others
I see changes in FERMA. NIMASA will face challenges this year. NDLEA will evolve new ways of fighting drug pushers. I see a new authority at the CBN. There will be changes in the Nigerian currency. The office of the Accountant General will be queried. Iyaloja General must be very careful as she will face some challenges after taking unpopular steps. She must not include politics into market administration. There will be electricity instability till 2016. The EFCC will run after some governors and speakers of Houses of Assemblies. This will cause the commission some problems. There will be an attempt to hold population census in 2015 or 2016. There will be changes at the NFF. Let’s pray that they will not lose anybody.
God is asking the whole nation to fast from February 1 to February 7, 2014, in order to prevent complications and troubles.
National Assembly members
Let the Senators and House of Representatives members pray against death because not all of them will finish their term before the end of 2014. There will be changes in the House of Reps.
Attack on Abuja
Let’s be careful so that there won’t be attacks in Abuja. Let’s pray that we don’t see any inferno in any police or army barracks. Let’s pray against train accident in Nigeria.
Britain and US
Let’s pray that Britain will not lose a prominent person. I see misunderstanding in the British parliament. The American upper chamber will have challenges in terms of economy.
Division among South West traditioanl rulers
There will be division among monarchs in the South West because of Jonathan’s second term.
Igbo will not produce a president for Nigeria in the next 15 years.
In the nearest future, not now, Nigeria may likely produce nuclear weapons.
PDP, INEC and Amaechi
PDP NEC will have so many issues to settle. The NEC might break up as a result of trying to resolve these issues. Amaechi’s candidate in 2015 will not be supported. There will be changes and amendment of the constitution. The government will arrest those who would want to bring in contaminated fish. The deputy Senate President should be careful so that he won’t be a victim of political robbery. . INEC will face some challenges in the forthcoming election, while Jega will be called to order. There will be changes in INEC.
Some people will attempt to sponsor tenure elongation without the support of many members of the House of Representatives.
OBJ and APC
Obasanjo will not defect to APC.
Short URL: http://www.osundefender.org/?p=143238
FROM THE NIGERIAN TRIBUNE NEWSPAPER
Yoruba cultural nationalism
Written by Diran Apata Sunday, 22 December 2013
A few days ago, in a leisurely discussion involving many Yoruba men, women and children, I mentioned the movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism of about one-hundred years ago. Most of my hearers had no idea what I was talking about. That is what always happens whenever I happen to mention this movement. It is painful that our people, especially our youths, know nothing about it – painful because the story of the Yoruba Cultural Nationalist Movement, spanning the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th,is one of the most glorious stories in the modern history of the Yoruba Nation. It is a story that we should all know inside and out – a story that our children should be told over and over at home and at school.
The following is the background to it. From about 1885, various European countries came scrambling for territorial empires all over Africa. Peoples after peoples of Africa fell to the European forces. The British, the French, the Germans, the Portuguese, the Belgians, the Dutch, all carved out empires for themselves. Most of Yorubaland became British possession (later to be included in Nigeria), and the rest became French and German possessions (later to be included in what are now Benin and Togo Republics).
But the conquest of Africa was not only military and territorial; it was also massively psychological. Usually, small European armies were taking over African territories, because they were armed with better weapons, or because the African nations were not fully aware about what was happening to them, and because they did not unite to defend their homelands. Naturally, the European colonialists became enormously arrogant. Everywhere, they proclaimed the doctrine that Africans were culturally and intellectually inferior to Europeans, that Africans were incapable of developing any civilisation, and that it was the duty of Europeans to bring civilisation to Africans.
These attitudes gradually infected all aspects of European relationships with Africans all over tropical Africa. The growing disrespect of Africans even spread into the Christian missions. In the mission churches and schools, it was now being said that, to become a Christian, or to be regarded as educated or civilised, one must give up one’s native culture. One must give up such things as one’s indigenous name, clothing, manners, and language, and take on European ones. Even the Yoruba clergy working in the missions began to experience serious disrespect and discrimination from the mission bodies that they served.
For a start, some Yoruba Christian converts in Lagos did respond by trying to become “black Europeans”. They hoped that doing so would earn them acceptance into the “civilised” British community in Lagos. Many of these changed their names to European names. Some others adopted European dress items such as the stove-pipe hat, the feathered bonnet, high-heeled shoes, and gloves, etc. Some young persons who went to study in Britain returned home in only two or three years and claimed that they could no longer understand or speak the Yoruba language.
However, a powerful Yoruba reaction to all these rapidly brewed, and it soon became a great movement – the movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism. As it grew, most of those who had adopted aspects of European culture gave them up and returned to their Yoruba culture. There had been newspapers in Lagos for decades, and these newspapers joined excitedly in the movement. “We are Africans first (or we are Yoruba first) before we are Christians” became popular among Christians in Lagos.
This movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism produced very many effects. In popular culture and fashions, Yoruba Cultural Nationalism promoted a great pride in Yoruba clothes and dresses. The Yoruba way of dressing became very popular indeed. It became more attractive as new styles and modifications were added.
Yoruba men and women serving in the Lagos colonial service responded in their own way. Many of them resigned their jobs and started private businesses, schools and churches of their own.
In the Christian missions, the Yoruba clergy responded by introducing Yoruba culture into church services and church life. For instance, they introduced Yoruba music and songs, which the missions had earlier regarded as pagan. Some of the Yoruba clergy even went further than that. They withdrew from the service of the European mission organizations and started an African Church Movement. This created separate African churches in the various denominations – African Anglican churches, African Methodist churches, and African Baptist churches. The African churches brought Yoruba culture into the Christian church in a big way. They also wrote Yoruba hymns and published hymn books. But another movement soon started which went even further than the African Church Movement to integrate Yoruba culture into Christianity. This was the Aladura Movement. The Aladura Movement developed into a number of main branches – the Christ Apostolic Church, the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, and the Celestial Church of Christ.
Yoruba Cultural Nationalism also promoted a lot of interest in the study of Yoruba culture and history. Many books were written in these years on both subjects. And many literate Yoruba people wrote the traditional stories of their towns – some in English, and many in the Yoruba language. Lessons in Yoruba history and culture were introduced into schools, including the mission schools.
Yoruba Cultural Nationalism created a powerful Yoruba national consciousness. It unified the modern Yoruba elite for service to their nation. That unity was to express itself in many productive ways later – in the various Development Associations of the 1920s and 1930s, in the highly influential Egbe Omo Oduduwa from 1945, and in the first-rate government of the Western Region in the 1950s. It also charted great modern ambitions for the Yoruba nation – ambitions to acquire education, and to achieve modern economic progress, prosperity and power in the world. In these many ways, the movement of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism laid some of the foundations for Yoruba achievements and progress in the modern world.
All in all, Yoruba people did not merely challenge European cultural arrogance; they suppressed it quite successfully in their own country. Nowhere else in Black Africa, among no other Black African nation, did the Europeans experience another powerful cultural challenge like this.
A British colonial official who served for years in Nigeria in the 1950s testified to the later-day effects of Yoruba Cultural Nationalism. He wrote in his memoir that, in his experience, the Yoruba were one African people who never treated the British, or any other Europeans, as superiors or “as gods”. He wrote that the Yoruba are a people with “personal dignity and political finesse”. “In my experience” he added, “the Yoruba regarded themselves as superior to the British – – -. The Yoruba were often highly intelligent and they taunted the British with sending inferior people to Nigeria.” He also added that many other Nigerian peoples could usually not look the white man in the eyes, but that even the lowliest Yoruba servant tended to carry himself with confidence and pride.
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Published in Diran Apata’s Sunday message
FROM the nation newspaper-Nigeria
Crocodile tears on the grave of Mandela
Posted by: Jide Osuntokun
The death of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013) has attracted a lot of emotions, comments and tributes from many current leaders and past leaders of several countries in the world. Some of these comments are genuine, others are insincere and amounts to crocodile tears. About 100 global political players, both current and those who have held positions of power in the world, including President Barrack Obama, current American President and three former Presidents- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W Bush, and the heir apparent to the British throne Prince Charles as well as our own President Goodluck Jonathan and David Cameron, John Major and Gordon Brown, current and former British Prime Ministers respectively attended the official funeral ceremony held at a big stadium in Soweto South Africa. This must have been a security nightmare for the South African authorities. Mandela who initially embraced the non-violent philosophy of Mochandas Ghandhi-Ji later abandoned non-violence and was largely responsible for forming the Umkhonto we Sizwe (the Spear of the Nation), which was the armed youthful wing of the African National Congress (ANC). The young revolutionaries in South Africa by the 1960s were already getting impatient with the conservative and non-violent approach to African liberation espoused by the ANC. Members of the Pan African Congress (PAC) were already critical of the non-violent campaign of the ANC. We can therefore say Nelson Mandela reluctantly took to armed struggle because as he argued nobody can kill a wild beast with bare hands.
In the history of the liberation of South Africa some attention should be paid to the PAC and Azanian People’s Congress’ roles as alternative platforms for the liberation of South Africa. A comparable situation is what happened in the US where the existence of militant youthful groups such as Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) led by Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown, as well as the Black Panther Movement of Huey Newton and Eldrige Cleaver, and the Black Muslims particularly the faction led by one of its charismatic leaders, Malcom X with their cry burn baby burn made Martin Luther King nonviolent campaign largely acceptable to the white folks. Even though the situation was not exactly the same, white folks saw Mandela as somebody they could ultimately do business with.
This does not diminish the achievements of Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela but it is important to put the two global icons within their historical context. The two share many things in common especially their ability to forgive their oppressors. Martin Luther King’s tolerance is firmly rooted in Christian religion while Mandela’s ability to forgive is rooted in political reality. He wanted to build a non-racial majoritarian democracy in South Africa and he came to the conclusion that the only way to do this was by forgiving his racist oppressors who had built in South Africa a first world infrastructure and economy albeit on the backs of the blacks. If he had adopted the Mugabe approach of land expropriation, he would have destroyed his much loved country of South Africa for which he paid huge price of 27 years imprisonment. Since 1994 when he became president and now after having been succeeded by Thabo Mbeki and the current President Jacob Zuma, the vast majority of black South Africans have remained largely poor. Of course centuries of Black marginalization cannot be removed within a few years but young black South Africans are not prepared to wait indefinitely for the fruit of majority rule. This is the challenge facing South Africa today. And some of the militant youths have been known to issue militant statements about the conniving and apologetic leadership of the ANC who are only ready to tinker with the white economic structure of South Africa without radically changing it. This is why incredibly as it may sound, Robert Mugabe is perhaps the most popular political figure in Southern Africa today. This also accounts for the tumultuous ovation he attracted when he entered the stadium during the funeral mass for Mandela.
I had the opportunity to meet Mandela in May 1990, when he came to Nigeria, and the University of Lagos conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate degree after leaving prison and before becoming president of South Africa. Professor Nurudeen Alao who was Vice Chancellor asked me and Dr. Tunji Dare to prepare a citation for the great man. We independently wrote this and after comparing notes, Dare said my citation captured totally the essence of the man, and he subsequently published his own draft, I believe in The Guardian. I remember that one of the things the great man asked us was that he wanted to learn how Nigeria has been able to create a forum like the House of Chiefs in the old regions for traditional leaders to participate in governance so that he could do the same in South Africa. I do not know what became of his interest in this regard.
After Mandela’s death, I have been thoroughly amused by the comments of our leaders. Some of these leaders have hailed him as a great man, a great African icon and a great world leader that is worthy of emulation. Yet some of these so-called African leaders held power for years without leaving any remarkable or worthwhile imprint on the society. It is surprising that those who overstayed their welcome in office are now acclaiming Mandela as their friend and as someone from whom they learnt something. One only hopes that our current leaders and those after them will learn from this great man’s example, that it is not the amount of money that one has that matters, but that it is the enduring and unforgettable legacies that one leaves behind that really matter.
The former American President George W Bush also went to South Africa to pay his last tribute to Mandela; I believe his sincerity. But we should not forget that his Vice President Dick Cheney regarded Mandela as a terrorist. And according to General Colin Powel, a former American Secretary of State and his successor Condoleezza Rice both of whom are blacks claimed that they were hugely embarrassed to find Mandela’s name on America’s terrorist list. It is surprising that the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping were conspicuously absent in South Africa to pay their last respects to Mandela; they will not be missed of course. And the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found a lame reason about security and the cost of the trip not to go to South Africa. Of course, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was there because Mandela was a supporter of the Palestinian cause and liberation. Let it be remembered that Israel and the United States under President Ronald Reagan assisted South Africa to acquire nuclear weapons in the late 1970s.
President Jonathan in some kind of homily during a funeral service for Mandela said that Nigeria is not likely to have a man of Mandela’s stature. I disagree and I say General Yakubu Gowon remains the greatest Head of State of Nigeria with high moral stature on a comparable level with Mandela. Gowon’s case is that of a prophet that is with no honour in his own country. Here was a man who governed this country for nine years and ended up not having a single house or billions of naira, and oil blocs in his name but was responsible for most of the enduring physical infrastructure in the country. Here is a war leader who fought a civil war and ended it without show trials and executions of those on the other side of the conflict. Gowon represents our own Abraham Lincoln and Nelson Mandela rolled into one. Since leaving office, he went back to the university and earned himself a doctorate degree in Political Science and has never soiled his hands with filthy lucre. He has used his moral currency and goodwill to attract funds for good cause such as guinea-worm eradication and has spent along with others, years in praying for the peace of Nigeria. When he was in power, Gowon was a pan-Africanist and extended the reach of Nigeria’s foreign policy to the black Diaspora in the Caribbean. History will be fair to Gowon, he may not have had the press and publicity and international acclaim that Mandela has but Gowon among our leaders certainly made a difference. And he deserves to be celebrated now and in the future.