Last night I found myself crying in my car at the traffic lights

Mandela was my hero. For a significant part of my youth I campaigned – in the way teens do – for a cause I believed in.

I became politicised when I was 12. I spent my teens marching for CND, and with the Anti Nazi League. On Saturdays I was usually either on a march or outside the South African embassy. Mandela was my, and our hero. I spent time in wooden-floored halls listening to men with thick accents in balaclavas.

I wore an Artists Against Apartheid patch on the sleeves of my coats and got terrible stick for it at school, though I didn’t help myself by being vocal about my views. I painted AAM panels on leathers and I wrote to Katherine Hamnett when she designed an AAA T-shirt and wore the one she donated when I did sponsored events proudly.

My focus for my white London teens was the Anti-Apartheid Movement, and Mandela a beacon for justice, humanity and tolerance in a Thatcher-riven, suss-driven south London youth with black friends when mixing was pretty unusual.

Last night I found myself listening to a programme on the radio about the Hindu concept of renewal, when it was interrupted with the the long-expected news. And I cried, there at the lights, in my car. Nelson Mandela, humanity personified: thank you.

0 comments on “Last night I found myself crying in my car at the traffic lightsAdd yours →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get notified of new articles

You will be added to my private email list which will never be shared. You can opt out at any time.