South Africa

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The Good Wife Works – Pecking orders appear to be a universal human condition

An unidentified young Black male resident of Frogtown told photographer Wing Young Huie, “It’s not just Black people. I know some Asians, and they got the mentality to kill somebody. It’s like everybody got their own little ‘hood.”

Studying history or even modern world news portrays this ‘hood, my ‘hood, your ‘hood as the propensity of the universal man. Witness this: John Steinbeck wrote, “When [he] thought of Chinese beauty the iron predatory faces of the Manchus came to his mind, arrogant and unyielding faces of a people who had authority by unquestioned inheritance.”

Witness this: Writer Edward Hoagland knew New Yorkers who spoke of Palestinians as if they were not quite human, as are the Roma (gypsy.) “All men and all races are the children of God…one cannot exterminate Gypsies or Jews because one considered them of an inferior race.” (Source: Bob Shacochis.)

Witness this: A Cuban father’s daughter says his only jokes about Puerto Ricans were racist. A Lakota warns that, “Ojibway dreaded Anisinabe who drove the Sioux out.” (Source: Jim Harrison.)

Or an Istrian who said, “I dream about that day when nobody will hate me because of the food I prefer, my memory, or the language I speak.” (Source: Slavenka Drakulic.)

We are all the same? Continue Reading →

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Gary Cunningham gives back, as his uncle Moe taught him

The ‘one story’ of European colonialism informs his work
By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer

 

Minneapolis-native Gary Cunningham’s career has been long and varied, and his résumé reads like a “Who’s Who” of local government agencies and organizations. He has been involved with, at various times:

• NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in North Minneapolis, where he was CEO and director of primary care;

• Hennepin County as director of planning and development;

• Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, as associate collegiate program leader and research fellow;

• Minneapolis Public Schools as executive director of human resource services/acting operations administrator;

• Scott County as administrator and chief executive officer; and

• The African American Men Project as its director. Before all of that, Cunningham was raised by his uncle Moe, a community activist who Cunningham credits with giving him the guidance that blossomed into a career of service. “There was an expectation that you would use

your skills, talents and abilities to give back and contribute to the well-being of the community, particularly African Americans and other people of color,” Cunningham explained about his uncle. After graduating from Minneapolis’ Central High School, Cunningham became involved with the Community Gardens in South Minneapolis and then went on to run the Grand-Central Co-Op, a grocery store across the street from his old high school. Continue Reading →

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Looking at 2013, through real eyes

We wish to convey to all of our readers and the staff at the Spokesman Recorder all the best for a bright future. Our last column of 2013 ended with “We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who proved a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites.”

In this first column of 2014, we celebrate another Black man, Barack Obama, who has moved beyond proving that a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites; he proves that a Black man can be president of the most powerful country in history. Although some say President Barack Obama is a lame duck president, a failure with no legacy, we disagree. “Lame duck” is shorthand by ivory tower public policy academics who don’t get out from behind their lecterns but still think they should be in charge. For example, President Obama has succeeded with health care where all, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, failed (Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter each wrote in their last books that Ted, for his own purposes killed health care under both Nixon and Carter). Continue Reading →

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The long walk to freedom ends

By Farai Diza

The AfricaPaper

Contributing Writer

 

QUNU, SOUTH AFRICA — Former South African president Nelson Mandela was finally laid to rest in his rural home of Qunu on Sunday at a high-profile funeral that attracted dignitaries from all corners of the globe who included his Royal Highness Prince Charles, Jesse Jackson, Hollywood celebrity Idriss Elba, Business magnate Richard Branson, Malawian president Joyce Banda, and famed U.S. talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey. Four thousand local and international journalists were accredited to cover the class-one funeral that is the highest honor in South Africa, and it was broadcast in over 100 countries. Mandela passed away a week ago at his Houghton home in Johannesburg after a long fight with a recurring lung infection, and his funeral was unarguably the biggest state funeral in world history. Mandela’s influence in Africa goes far beyond the borders of South Africa, and he is regarded across the continent as the father of democracy. Mandela stopped racism, apartheid and other controversies between the Whites and Blacks. Continue Reading →

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Nelson Mandela was both Malcolm and Martin

Nelson Mandela, the icon who led the emancipation of South Africa from White minority rule and became South Africa’s first Black president, was both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. He was an emblem of dignity and abstention. Imagine being jailed for 27 years, being humiliated and treated like dirt, and having your friends murdered systematically. Yet his incredible sense of purpose and strength is a lesson for a lifetime. I remember years ago meeting a man in flight who is not Black and has since become a friend. He was born in South Africa, finished school, and voted for Mandela for president. Continue Reading →

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The life and legacy of Nelson Mandela

By Issa A. Mansaray 

Contributing Writer

 

Nelson Mandela, 95, first Black president of South Africa who fought for the freedom of his people and against apartheid, died at about 8:50 pm local time on Thursday. Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, current president of South Africa, said, “Our nation has lost its greatest son.”

Mr. Zuma announced in a televised message late Thursday, “Our people have lost a father.” Dressed in black, Zuma added that Mandela’s death is the country’s moment of “deepest sorrow” and that the Mandela family has “sacrificed much and endured so much that our people could be free.”

Mandela has been in and out of the Mediclinic Hospital in Pretoria on more than six separate occasions this year undergoing treatment for lung infection. “His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to,” said U.S. President Barack Obama in an official statement on Thursday evening, adding that the late Mandela was “influential, courageous and profoundly good.”

 

The noble family

Born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, a village close to the banks of the Mbashe River in the Transkei region, Mandela is the most famous South African in the world. His father, Gadla Henry Mphanyiswa Mandela, was a tall, imposing man who settled village quarrels. “I define myself through my father,” Mandela once said. Continue Reading →

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An interview with jazz veteran Billy Cobham

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to www.whosampled.com, Billy Cobham’s music has been sampled over 40 times, including two signature songs “Red Baron” (sampled eight times) and “Heather” (sampled 15 times) first released during the 1970s. A founding member of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971, Cobham co-founded his own fusion group in 1969, and then was invited to play on four cuts on Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. At age 69, he’s still as strong as ever: Cobham’s current Spectrum 40 tour swings through Minneapolis on October 1 for a one-night stop at the downtown Dakota Jazz Club. “It will be a real pleasure to perform there,” he said during a recent phone interview with the MSR.

On his website, www.billycobham.com, it says that the Panama native, who grew up in New York, got his “first paying gig” when he was only eight years old, then later joined a local drum and bugle corps and attended New York’s famed High School of Music and Art — where he studied music theory and drum technique. “I started on the road in [19]63,” recalls Cobham, who later played in the U.S. Army Band as a percussionist during his three years of military service in the mid-1960s. Continue Reading →

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Abuse of women an endless source of column material

When I took this column on, its then-editor made a point to say in a staff meeting, “Don’t repeat yourself.” Dancing on the proverbial dime, I promptly responded, “There won’t be any danger of that.”

Not that I’d done a world of research on domestic abuse or rape: Just having the ability to discern my elbow from a hot rock and at least a modicum of common sense, I could hazard an intuitive leap of faith, so to speak, in man’s inhumanity to woman. As long as the sun came up in the morning and the moon rose at night, men and boys were going to objectify and brutalize women and girls. Sure enough, years later, there’s no shortage of ways to address this disastrous, chronically ongoing dilemma. For instance, only last month, MSR ran the HIH installment, “Men’s hatred of women’s power continues to surface in rape violence” commenting on and decrying that, in India, a victim of gang-rape languished two weeks in hospital beds before dying from the attack. The crime was committed in December. Continue Reading →

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