A Note from Africa 450 Years in the Making

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From Kuwait to Kenya, Barack Obama’s win Tuesday ignited global celebrations the likes of which we’ve never seen. And on the African continent, well beyond Obama’s father’s homeland, where crises dwarf what we are dealing with in our Great Recession, the sense of pride is humbling. The following is a note from a friend of a filmmaker friend who is a Zimbabwean living in South Africa. I thought it worth sharing:

Comrades, Friends and Citizens of the World…

Let today, November 5 2008, be a day to remember. A day in which a people was finally allowed to sit at the world table with no shame, no self hate, and no fear. A people whose journey to distant shores begun 450 years ago but only now can that people sit down and say:

YES WE CAN.

Today, a country of many skins united under one banner, the banner that if we work our hardest, do our best to be honest, do our best to build and not destroy, to encourage and engage, nothing can stop us.

YES WE CAN.

Today, is the day I Simbarashe Samuel Mabasha saw what Marcus could not, Steve could not, Martin could not, Malcolm could not, I saw a son of Africa and America rise up to take up the baton of the most difficult race in the world.

YES WE CAN.

Today, Comrades and Friends the peoples of the United States of America made a man’s dream come true, a family’s dream, a country’s dream come true and a people’s dream come true. YES THEY DID.

YES WE CAN.

Yes we can dream, Yes we can hope, Yes we can make some change.

Comrades and friends, I am happy and emotional, this for me is the culmination of many things to get my people, Black people, to a place in which they are just part of the world without any fear and shame.

For many this is not a colour issue and it is not, but spare a thought for the smallest big race in the world. Black people, who for 450 years have not had much go well for them, today in a small way they see the works of many who died on slave ships and in cotton fields, in mines, in world wars, in civil wars, and in the realms of hope. Today, for a small moment we can just be.

President-Elect Obama has a lot on his hands and he may not do all that we want him to do, but for me he has done a lot, he inspired me dream even bigger, to work even harder for those that can’t do it for themselves, to hope even more in our shared humanity. Not much tangible change may come but the change of mindsets may begin now.

I applaud the Americans for resounding defeat of McCain/Palin, I commend McCain for a gracious and humble concession speech, I commend you all for letting your imaginations run wild, for hoping and being scared all in one emotion. For being a part of this wild and wonderful journey forward.

Simbarashe

Now whether the new “leader of the free world” will actually sit down with Mugabe, or live up to the world’s litany of expectations, remains to be seen. But for now hope realized is a remarkable thing to witness.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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