News

Nelson Mandela's Valentine's Day Letter

Nelson Mandela responds to a young person with a letter about love and Valentine's Day.


Valentine's Day or not, Nelson Mandela already resides in the hearts of people worldwide. As if there weren't enough reason to appreciate this wise, selfless man, take a look at a letter he wrote to a young person who asked his advice on love and relationships. Mandela's reply, dated February 13, 1995, was written in the midst of his presidency. He notes that his 'tight programe does not allow' him 'to find time to celebrate Valentine's day either today or in the future,' adding that only 'in the past 5 years' has he begun to receive V-Day cards (scandalous). A careful reading suggests that his politics extends to matters of the heart; while he acknowledges that he's too old to give love advice - wise indeed at any age - he suggests that better living conditions and opportunities will enrich love relationships:

"Many of today’s younger generation are independent and clear thinkers with their own set of values. It would be most presumptuous for a man of 78 to advise them on how to handle relationships. Moreover, this is not a question of advise but of social conditions. Give the younger generation opportunities for education and better their lives, they will glitter with excellence."

Read a scan of the handwritten letter (and spend time trawling the archive) at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory website. See below for the typed transcript.

1.Age and a conservative cultural background do not make it easy for me to discuss in public such intimate feelings or emotions. This is specially the case when the question is asked by one young enough to be a grandchild. It might well be that if one attempted a definition which departs from that which appears in the standard dictionaries, and bearing in mind the main forms of civilisation of the world, there may be as many definitions as there are human beings.

2. Bearing in mind my response to the first question, and all things being equal, I would hope that the average individual experiences one of the highest levels of emotional attachment, satisfaction and happiness when in love

3. My answer to the first question answers this question in the affirmative.

4. It will probably shock many people to discover how colossally ignorant I am about simple things the ordinary person takes for granted. Having been born and grown up in a rural environment with parents who could neither read nor write, one hardly ever heard about Valentine’s Day. Moving to the cities one was gradually drawn into mainstream policies, and there was little room for upgrading oneself with information on such issues. Only during the last five years did I receive valentine cards and gifts; But one must naturally develop enormous respect for those who bring happiness to others anonymously far from the limelight.

5 Unfortunately my tight programme does not allow me to find time to celebrate Valentine’s Day either today or in future.

6 Many of today’s younger generation are independent and clear thinkers with their own set of values. It would be most presumptuous for a man of 78 to advise them on how to handle relationships. Moreover, this is not a question of advise but of social conditions. Give the younger generation opportunities for education and better their lives, they will glitter with excellence.

7 I would think that people who subscribe to the same values, who share a common vision and who accept each other’s integrity have laid a basis for a good relationship. But to this there will be a wide range of notable exceptions.

8 I would repeat everything I have said in response to the previous question.

9 I am not sure if all the South African women subscribe to this idea; and it would be risky for a man who knows little on this subject to hazard some gratuitous advice. Except to say that those who promote Valentine’s Day are in a sense role models. It take unique qualities to do good.

Courtesy of Jojo Abot.

Let Jojo Abot's New Afrofuturistic Video Hypnotize You

The Ghanaian artist releases the new video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," an entirely iPhone-recorded track.

Jojo Abot is rounding out a strong year which has seen her tour South Africa, release the NGIWUNKULUNKULU EP and work with institutions like the New Museum, Red Bull Sound Select and MoMA on her art and performances.

Jojo is now sharing her latest music video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," a song featured on her iPhone-only production project, Diary Of A Traveler.

"Nye Veve Sese is an invitation to let go of the burden of pain and suffering that keeps us from becoming our best and greatest selves," a statement from Jojo's team reads. "Asking the question of why pain is pleasurable to both the one in pain and the source of the pain. Often time the two being one and the same."

Watch her new "meditative piece," which was shot in Bedstuy, Brooklyn, below.

Jojo Abot will be playing her final US show of the year in New York City alongside Oshun on October 26 at Nublu 151. Grab your tickets here.

A Nigerian Label Is Suing Nas For Not Delivering a Good Verse

M.I and Chocolate City filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court claiming Nas didn't deliver the verse they wanted.

Nigerian star M.I and his label home Chocolate City are suing Queenbridge legend Nasir Jones.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in the New York State Supreme Court, Nas and Mass Appeal Records' Ronnie Goodman are accused of ripping off Chocolate City after they'd paid the rapper $50,000 for the verse.

According to the lawsuit, back in 2013, Nas and Goodman agreed to contribute a verse to a track from M.I. The stipulations were that Nas was supposed to mention "M.I, Chocolate City, Nigeria, Queens, New York—NAS's hometown—, Mandela, Trayvon Martin, and the struggles of Africans and African Americans" in his verse.

Nas did, in fact, deliver a verse but it didn't mention any of the subject matter Chocolate City had asked for.

The Nigerian label requested that the Queens rapper to re-record the verse, which now three year later, has never happened despite them delivering the $50,000 payment. Hence, that's why they're now suing him, they mention.

It's not all fighting words, though, as Chocolate City is very complementary to Nas in the lawsuit calling him "a highly respected lyricist in the music industry" and writing that they wanted a verse from him "because of NAS's exceptional talent as a lyric writer."

Unfortunately that talent and lyricism was no where to be found in the verse they got, in the eyes of Chocolate City and M.I.

Revisit M.I's "Chairman" above.

News
Photo courtesy of TEF.

5 Things We Learned From the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum

Over 1,300 African entrepreneurs, business leaders and policymakers attended the 3rd Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos—here are the highlights.

The Nigerian Law School in Lagos, Nigeria, was transformed into a buzzing enclave of substantial conversation, intentional encouragement, and unbeatable energy.

The third Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum was the most inclusive gathering of African experts in business, entrepreneurship and policy, where all 54 African countries were represented with more than 1,300 attendees. These entrepreneurs and thought leaders are innovators across a diverse array of sectors like agriculture, technology, healthcare, fashion and energy/power generation.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.