My mentor and friend, Dr. Alton B. Pollard, III, Dean at Howard Divinity School Washington, D.C. reflecting on the transition of Nelson Mandela. . .
In Memoriam of Nelson Mandela
Alton B. Pollard, III
Today is a time of profound reflection. We remember. We sorrow. We rejoice. We give thanks. On December 5, 2013, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela slipped this mortal frame to join the ancestors and ascend to the ages.
The anti-apartheid years were a gale force time for many people of African descent the world over. Through wearied years, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, the destructive design of hatred met its match in the indefatigable will of the people to love. It meets its match still.
In the presence of evil – the will to quarantine people based on their religion, gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, income, age, ability, and more – the struggle to love continues, daunted yet undeterred.
Through horrific enslavement, colonialism, neocolonialism, the new Jim Crow and caste systems of every kind, we have determined that gross inhumanity will not have the last word.
There is no progress without struggle and our magnificent human struggle is to find our way home to one another in a world beset with derision, division and devastating defeat.
Nelson Mandela taught many of us for the first time and reminded more of us still what we already knew, that the world belongs to us all, that the universe is the exclusive prerogative of no single nation, corporation, worldview or group.
Belief in the possibility of change and renewal is one of the great legacies the religions of the world have bequeathed us. In the words of our now ancestral statesman, “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
On this day, may we embody the very change in the world we so longingly ache to see. Our beloved Madiba has passed on. His spirit of ubuntu lives on: I am because we are. Love always finds a way.
Amandla Awethu! Power, it is ours!