On 19 October 1991, Malaika Lesego Samora Mahlatsi was born at the Meadowlands community clinic, one year and eight months after Mandela’s release from prison. The Nationalist Party was still in power, but everyone knew that its grip on political power would draw to an inevitable end sooner rather than later. Memoirs of a born free is a journey back through the life of Malaika Wa Azania as she recounts the experience of growing up through the end of apartheid and South Africa’s transition into a democratic nation. She was not born during the times of constitutionalised apartheid but is still a product of an epoch of systematic individualised apartheid. Her story is not a reflection of freedom; it is an epitome of the ongoing struggle for liberation and emancipation from mental slavery. The struggle of the generations before that of the born frees was a struggle for political freedom and democracy and was the foundation for revolution and reform but not the ultimate goal. Malaika contests the notion of the born-free generation when it is a generation that was born in the midst of a struggle for economic freedom and the quest for the realisation of the objectives of the African Renaissance. Now 22 years into a democratic dispensation, Malaika describes her life as having been a struggle to understand the “rainbow nation” and to salvage from it something that renders her free. She did not find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that she was told about as a child. She has, however, through the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, found reason to believe in the capacity of the people to escape the nervous conditions that define Black life. She continues to serve the African Youth Coalition with dedication as believes today, without a shadow of doubt, that another Africa is possible. Democracy is impossible without political freedom, but political freedom is not the ultimate objective of the revolutionary struggle. The ultimate objective is economic freedom; the liberation of the masses of our people from the clutches of economic bondage. But our people remain in chains, so what about this generation which has the mission of freeing them from those chains is “free”? What about us is reflective of a “born-free generation”, when our generation is born during a time of the struggle for economic freedom and the quest for the realisation of the objectives of the African Renaissance agenda? – Malaika Wa Azania.
Memoirs of a Born Free: Reflections on the Rainbow Nation
Memoirs of a born free is a journey back through the life of Malaika Wa Azania as she recounts the experience of growing up through the end of apartheid and South Africa’s transition into a democratic nation. She was not born during the times of constitutionalised apartheid but is still a product of systematic individualised apartheid.