Amandla: The Video
I’ve found this article on the web at http://reebee.net/2009/action/amandla-the-video/
by Reebee on April 14th, 2009
Thirty years ago this July 21, there was an historic concert in Harvard Stadium called “Amandla: Festival of Unity,” its name taken from the Zulu word for “the power that gives freedom.” This seven-hour, sun-drenched celebration of cultural power featured Bob Marley and the Wailers, Patti Labelle, Eddie Palmieri, Olatunji, Jabula, and special guest Dick Gregory. Amandla was no ordinary festival.
With South Africa still under apartheid, Nelson Mandela languishing in prison on Robben Island, and black revolutionary organizations engaged in armed struggle against white minority rule throughout the region, Amandla dared to be “a benefit concert for relief and humanitarian aid” for the liberation organizations of the frontline states, all of whom sent their official UN delegations to the event. It would not be stretching the point to say that Amandla was a magical blend of music and politics that made an indelible mark that lives on in the hearts and minds of the thousands of people who were in attendance. Everyone who came was totally in synch with the spirit of the day; from artists and audience members to the barefoot doctors and people’s security who had been specially trained for six months to insure an uplifting and empowering event with a clear message of unity and social justice both in southern Africa and at home in Boston. For his part, brother Bob Marley delivered one of the most inspired and inspiring performances of his career. Soon, it may be possible to relive this memorable performance on the video player of your choice.
I am fortunate to have been a member of the Amandla Production Group. At the last minute, we made a decision to videotape the show. The result was an incredible three-camera shoot that captured all the power and intensity of Bob Marley’s music and message. For the past 30 years we have been negotiating the sale of that videotape with the Marley family. I am pleased to announce that on January 2 of this year, we concluded the sale. It remains for the Marley folks to edit the footage into a video that does justice to the music and politics of Amandla and Bob Marley’s central role in it. And it remains for us to identify the worthy causes and progressive organizations that should be the recipients of this new source of good fortune.
This summer–probably some time in July–we plan to stage a thirtieth anniversary tribute of some kind in remembrance of Amandla and what it meant to everyone involved. More news about the film and the funding should be available by then. I also plan to add a series of Amandla pages to this website over the next little while. Meanwhile feel free to offer your ideas, questions, and comments about Amandla, and any memories you would like to share.
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