Friday, December 6, 2013

NEW YORK DIARY | Remembering Nelson Mandela for Arise America TV

NEW YORK |  Tonight I was a guest on Arise America's TV prime-time news program. I spoke about Nelson Mandela's impact on my life, on American youth and on South Africa's arts community. It was a live show!

Arise News was founded by Nigerian publisher Nduka Obaigbena. He dreamed of a global news channel connecting all the colors and shades of news around the globe. With a team of world-class journalists, behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera, Arise News covers the compelling issues of our time in a way no one else can.

I was honored to be asked to speak my mind in Nduka Obaigbena's enterprising news network. It was a rainy Friday night, almost 24 hours after I reported about Mandela's death in The and posted my story six minutes after his death was confirmed by South African President Jacob Zuma.

I recalled my student days when I drove five hours to Oakland Coliseum to see in person Nelson Mandela who had just been released from prison where he spent 27 years. We paid $5 for the ticket. My fellow students joined 75,000 of our closest friends in the Bay Area to see Mandela on what was his last stop in an eight-city tour. It was a glorious sun-drenched day. He did not speak very long, but he spoke directly to us, telling us that we students and the laborers and longshoremen in the Bay Area were in the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement here in the U.S. by agitating for the U.S., especially American universities, to divest their South African investments, which at the time totaled $12 billion. 

As I said on TV on Arise America, his speech at that Oakland Coliseum confirmed that we were fighting the good fight and connected our student agitation to this larger, greater and global fight against apartheid. 

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