Love and Liberation; Who can Tell the Power of Love
Over the weekend, I decided to study how various African countries earned their independence and the key figures who played a big role in the liberation struggle. I got a peek into Mwalimu Nyerere and Tanzania’s early years, Kwame Nkrumah and Ghana’s, Samora Machel and Mozambique’s, Dr. Sam Nujoma and Namibia’s and Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s Journey to independence.
By extension, I looked at Jerry Rawlings and Winnie Mandela. Let me make it clear that this was not my first time reading about these countries’ independence struggles, nay, I have read about some of them before only this time I was keen to look at the personality of the people who led the struggle.
I was trying to see if there was something common that was the driving force of their struggles. I came to a single conclusion that for a majority of them, it was the love of their people and the desire for liberation from suppressive colonial governments.
I used the term ‘some’ because a keener look at part of them including some I read before, their desire was much of becoming neocolonialists over their people and becoming more animal than others as George Orwell put it in his book Animal Farm than liberation for the masses.
Swerving the trajectory of this writing, I discovered that love played a big role in a country called South Africa. The love I speak of in the preceding sentence could better be termed, Eros. The power that brings two people together, and for South Africa, it was for family first and liberation second. The Mandela’s.
For over a decade now, although I write very little on love matters, I have asked myself one poignant question. What is this thing called love that brings people together in a marriage or relationship? I have never found an answer. Surprisingly enough, almost half a dozen or more, of my friends have tied the knot in the recent past and some are in the pipeline courtesy of love.
The more I ask myself what that love that draws them together is, forgiving the mere answer that it is love, the more I get lost in this parabolic conquest I immerse myself into. The story of the heart and love and the brains and the pump and the hormones et cetera will be for another day though.
I should say, nevertheless, that I realized even the master polygamist of all times, sir Solomon the great in the bible, with all those concubines and wives totaling about a thousand never came to the understanding of what love is. In the end, he termed it vanity. That vanity makes me stop on these tracks that veered me off script.
Several historians believe that Winnie Mandela was the pillar that anchored Nelson in the apartheid struggle. In her autobiography, Winnie Mandela a life, Winnie remarks that her quest for anti-apartheid boiled inside of her even before she met Nelson.
By the time the two met, it became a perfect match predestined to become a force. The spirit of perseverance, consistency, and strength in Winnie was critical in the push for the release of Mandela. From within the confines of Robben Island, the prison walls hailed the unsurmountable spirit of optimism for a free South Africa in Mandela.
Outside the prison walls ruled the spirit of a woman in love fighting for her husband and family. The love that pushed Winnie to be prisoned and harassed from time to time albeit to quench her thirst for a free liberated South Africa and a free husband for her children.
Such is the power of love. Love is powerful. Where this love often feels true lies a magnitude of the force that can make people sound and sane. When that exits, people become retrogressive and unreal. The case in time is that of Joseph Stalin or even Iddi Amin Dada.
When Stalin’s wife killed herself after discovering that her husband played a perfect coin game of the two faces, Stalin felt betrayed and decided to eliminate her wife’s family. He was a wonderful dad to his children and his wife before her death because he loved them with all the ‘devil’ he was. When the love was betrayed, he became twice as bad.
I don’t know what it is with love, some call it chemistry that brings two souls together, but when harnessed well, love becomes the catalyst of social, political, and economic change. Kwame Nkrumah had to get a wife from Egypt and at one point Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta was married to a white woman.
It was that love or the mere near-spark of it that became the genesis of overcoming the racial barrier that existed in times past. And today, that love is becoming the liberation from humanity’s folly of ethnicity, racial discrimination, tribalism, and all manner of inequities and inequalities.
Sometimes the love doesn’t stand the test of time for us to purely understand it as in the case of Mandela being freed and divorcing Winnie two years later. The tinge that drove the desire faded into oblivion and birthed a miss to enjoy the fruits of souls intertwined in a soulmate union of hoped-for happiness.
In the words of Mozambique’s founding President Samora Machel, it is A Luta Continua. It seems love is yet to liberate us all. Yet the process goes on. But by what power it does that and what it is, it is for us to continue decoding. Maybe in the age of AI and cyber-physical human interface, we will be lucky to understand what it is.
For now, keep on loving.