The first time I heard the song, I was immediately fascinated with it’s unfamiliar language and unobtrusive rhythm, seemingly simple yet deeply profound. I had no certain ideas of its meaning but I knew it meant, something. So strong was my proclivity that I enthusiastically sang it’s vigorous, dynamic chorus with trance-like devotion, matter and reality obligingly faded into nothingness to grant my turbulent consciousness the required isolation for unconscious reflection.
It was true, the music sang true,
“Asimbonanga, (we have not seen him),
Asimbonang’ uMandela thina , (we have not seen Mandela)
A seagull wings across the sea,
Broken silence is what I dream,
Who has the words to close the distance,
Between you and me…?” (Johnny Clegg- Asimbonaga)
I suppose the song was composed during the bitter years of apartheid, when racial segregation and oppression ravaged the native South African people. Apartheid is gone, no doubt traces remain but it’s nothing compared to what it once was. Mandela was freed 22 years ago , democracy established in 1994, and it shouldn’t take too long before the generations following chuck that nasty bit of history to the dark abyss of antique events.
I do not seek Mandela, he fought valiantly but his time is over and his greatest contribution to humanity is almost certainly, behind him.
I search for words, letters so thoroughly laced with insightful wisdom as to penetrate the barriers between Nigerian’s tribes and religions. The reasons why it’s infinitely more convenient to fantasize about blissful disintegration whenever we collectively face the slightest problems. Oh well, that’s a topic for another day.
As always, I hope for the best.