Saturday, December 7, 2013

Nelson Mandela – An Anecdote

After his release from prison in 1990, the late Nelson Mandela embarked on an international tour as he sought to end apartheid in South Africa.

One of his many stops was Detroit, where he spoke to 49,000 people at a sold-out Tiger Stadium rally.

At the time I still lived in Detroit, but I wasn't there that night. Mandela told the crowd that the music of Motown (he called it "Motortown") helped sustain him and others during their time as political prisoners on Robben Island and elsewhere.

And then he quoted these lyrics: "Brother brother brother, there's far too many of you dying."

A legendary figure, a legendary Motown song. The crowd, said a friend who was there, went bananas. It was like a religious experience.

Video of the event still exists. The C-span site where I found it won't let me embed it here, but follow this link if you'd like to check it out. I don't know whether the quote from Marvin Gaye is on it, but it might be; there's about 45 minutes worth of stuff.

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