Fifty years ago on this date, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
“The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
On the day of his assassination, Malcolm X was to deliver a speech about human rights and Revolutionary Pan Africanism and Internationalism. He was maligned by the mainstream for having the courage to call out the deceitful hypocrisy present in America...purporting integration but practising segregation, between blacks and whites. At least in South Africa, he said, they practised what they preached. He pursued the cause of liberating the Black man in American society instead of just 'integrating' the Black man into that society. This is an important distinction. He was also keenly aware of the importance of education and in particular, acknowledging the valuable role women play. During his travels to the middle east, he observed that the countries progressing the most were countries moving towards socialism and with a focus of liberating women. His legacy is that of a man who fought against all forms of oppression and whose values and messages could not be diluted nor bought.
To read more about Malcolm X's thoughts, click here.
Nelson Mandela was a south African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician. Arrested in 1962, he was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the state. He would spend there next twenty seven years behind bars. An international campaign to see him freed was successful when the last head of state F. W. De Klerk released him from Victor Verster prison in 1990. The two men would join forces to see the first multiracial and democratic elections in the country in 1994, resulting in Mandela leading the ANC to victory and his election as the first black South African president. He passed away in December 2013.
"The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national conciousness is a political fact."
The first wave of Western European colonisation of the African continent began in the 15th century. The end result of the 'Scramble for Africa' meant that by 1914, only Ethopia and Liberia remained independent of European rule. Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands had all lay claim to African soils. Many African colonies helped support the allies in WW2. After the war, African nationalism and the desire for self-determination was on the rise. During 1950's and 60's the British Empire's days were numbered and so began the process of decolonisation. Howard Mac Milligan was Britain's Prime Minister when he made a tour of South Africa in 1960. His speech in Cape Town about the future direction of the continent and Great Britain's involvement were welcomed by some and considered duplicitous by others.