What I Did On My Covid-19 Vacation: Chapter Five

I’ve heard it said that time plays tricks on the mind. I think it more likely that the mind plays tricks with time. In my readings of Nelson’ Mandela’s Long Road to Freedom, I have only reached 1977, a mere 15 years into his 27 years of internment. I have been sequestered in my bunker with a view for a mere six months. And I’m already all over the time map. I’m recalling my first introduction to Nelson Mandela.

It was 1986. I’m working for the Detroit Board of Education helping adult students obtain their GED’s. A great job but it employed me for just nine months out of the year. I needed a summer job. And then the magic happened.  The great singer and educator Kim Weston (see below) walked into my classroom and offered me a summer job. She had created a program called Festival for the Performing Arts, a unique opportunity for Detroit youth to earn money and receive professional training from the masters.

My original job was to provide GED classes for those Festival youth who were not likely to graduate high school. But that position didn’t keep me busy, so I was assigned to the Drama Workshop, for which I had some experience. The program was expected to undertake two major productions per summer. For one of  my summers in tenure the Drama Workshop was asked to put together a drama piece including choreography around Hugh Masekela’s song Bring Him Back Home.

Bring Him Back Home 

Bring Back Nelson Mandela
Bring him Back all to
Soweto.
I wont to see him walking
down the street in South Africa – Tomorrow.

Bring Back Nelson Mandela.
Bring him Back all to
Soweto.
I wont to see him walking down the street
with Winnie Mandela.

google search Bring Back Nelson Mandela to view song performance
also search Soweto Blues for a glimpse of South Africa’s struggles. Especially poignant for it’s depiction of the plight of young people.

About
Kim Weston, actress, singer, educator extraordinaire. It was said of Kim, she could fill a stadium with her glorious voice alone. Ask anybody who ever heard her rendition of Lift Every Voice.

for more poems and stories from the Bard go to garrycox.com