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Rhythm-A-Day Blog for February 11, 2020: Nelson Mandela Released from Prison

Posted by Wolf Murphy on

Nelson Mandela
Released from Prison after 27 Years

Nelson Mandela was the leader of the movement to end South African apartheid. Apartheid, in South Africa, was a policy and system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. On February 11, 1990, he was released from prison after 27 years. Here is a brief timeline of his life:

1918: Mandela was born to the Thembu royal family of the Xhosa people in Mvezo, British South Africa.

1944: Mandela, then a lawyer, joins the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest black political organization in South Africa

1952: he becomes deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to white supremacy and racial segregation bythe white minority government.

1961: Arrested for treason, acquitted.

1962: Arrested again on charges of illegally leaving the country. Sentenced to five years at Robben Island Prison.

1964: Charged with sabotage; convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

He spent 18 years at the brutal Robben Island Prison confined to a small cell without bed or plumbing and was forced to do hard labor in a quarry, permitted one letter every six months, and a 30-minute visit—once a year. 

Mandela's determination was not broken and he was seen as the symbolic leader of the anti-apartheid movement. He promoted civil disobedience at the prison and forced the South African officials to significantly improve conditions.

1982: Moved to a different place under house arrest.

1989: F. W. de Klerk became South African president and, fearing a racial civil war,  lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions and ordered the release of Nelson Mandela, who negotiated the end of apartheid with the minority government.

1990: Mandela released from prison.

Here is a link to the AP footage of his release; he was greeted as a hero by throngs of jubilant South Africans:

1993: Mandela and de Klerk jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1994: South Africa had its first free elections, and Mandela was elected president.

1999: Mandela retired from politics.

He remained an ardent global advocate for peace and social justice until his death in December 2013.

Nelson Mandela in 2008. (Wikimedia Commons)

He is a hero to all who value civil rights and the will to resist social injustice. He is honored for attempting nonviolent means before accepting the necessity of violence to defend his black countrymen.

Umxhentso is a traditional dance of the Xhosa people. It is performed primarily by Amagqirha, the traditional Sangoma, or healers. This ceremonial dance is a source of cultural pride to the Xhosas. It is usually accompanied by a drum beat and/or slow vocal music with clapping to give the dancers a rhythm to follow. It is played on large bass drums by only 1 or 2 drummers. As we often see with similar drums there are 2 different sticks used on the 2 heads to achieve distinct sounds. 

The patterns that follow may be played in sequence or in any combination; Patterns 2 and 3 may be considered variations to accompany energetic changes in the dance moves.

Today's Video Lesson

Here is a link to a video of the drumming and dancing!


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