The Indigenous Nelson Mandela

ImageI just came across this fine post (on Racism Review), a month of so belatedly, about how Nelson Mandela’s indigenous culture is whitewashed in Western media. Here’s a quote:

Madiba’s indigenous identity and ideas have, as is always the case, been whitewashed to invisibility. His constant references to the beauty, importance and identity marker of the land in his famous speeches and quotes are not viewed as the universal perspective of indigenous peoples everywhere. They are seen as inspiring quotes of a singular nature from a unique iconic figure. Chief Seattle and many other indigenous leaders have talked of the land and the people in this way for centuries.

The other week while gathered in Dallas to work on the new Roots of Justice Intersectional Analysis training, the ROJ trainers took an evening to watch Mandela, a film about his activism. I’ll have to watch it again with an eye to how it brings out or ignores his indigenous roots.

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