A friend asked me over the week-end where my car is. I almost cried. I had been thinking about Black-Panther (my car) in the last few weeks because I miss her. I even got to thinking that maybe I lost her because my mother changed her name to Faith. We were talking about her – when she asked who is Black-Panther, when I told her she decided t re-name her Faith – because Black Panther had been faithful. Sometimes I think my mother through the christian lens equates black with evil or the Devil.
But Faith has always been Black-Panther to me, from the moment I laid eyes on her.
We went through a lot together, Black Panther and I, we both loved music, she was my home when I didn’t have a place to lay my head, we were always together, there were times that we were separated and re-united again, thanks to friends, but this year, I knew that unless a miracle would happen I would have to let her go. She was my cushion through some of the bumpiest rides of my life, always there in the middle of the night, during day, always there waiting for me to come.
Our last trip together to the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, we both survived yet again a near death or serious injury experience together. It was dusk and we’d just left Grahamstown in June. The biggest Bull I had ever seen appear as if out of no where, I was on the front left passenger side and the bull was on my side too. There was a split second moment where the bull and I looked each other in the eye and I thought it had beautiful eyes, as I raised my hands to my face waiting for it to land on top of me. That was it. I really don’t know what happened. But all I know is I opened my eyes, and I was surprised – no incredulous that I was still in the car, and it was still standing, and I looked back and the Bull had already crossed the road, languidly, elegantly. Luckily I was not on my own so I could not have dreamt that one up. The driver was shaking with disbelief, we stopped for a moment, and she broke down and cried in tears, I was too happy to be alive and well the Black Panther, the Bull the driver and I survived. Black Panther had lost an ear (the left side mirror), My mirror, as if to say don’t look back.
On the day I had to let her go, I thank her for having been my friend for the past 6 years. I could not afford to keep her, even though I wanted to with all my heart. I could do nothing about the situation, I couldn’t save her. I had to have faith – that I we would both be ok. The only person that made me feel better that day, was peace – my brother.
I don’t think I ever mourned her loss, never allowed myself to because I have to keep moving, survive, live, stay alive in every possible way.
So I feel nostalgic a little bit today. For Black Panther and the Black Power movement after which I named my car. And Perhaps you will understand my grief better by watching THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE documentary directed by Swedish film maker Göran Hugo Olsson.. The docu-film has been on circuit for the past few weeks and will be screened for the last time on Thursday the 29th of November. A very special day for me. My play Lindiwe Premiers. I don’t know if it is ironic or not and I’ve decided not to over-think anything.
It it a collection of never seen before interviews with some of the prominent leaders of the Black Power movement in the United States of America, though it has at its core a universal message everyone to stand up for their rights.
So Please go and see the BLACK POWER MIXTAPE, if you haven’t already seen it already the Bioscope in Downtown Johannesburg. My good friend and scribe, Katarina Hedren writes elegantly about it on her blog InthewordsofKatarina.
I guess it would take a lot of faith and something close to a miracle for Black-Panther and I to be re-united again. And then again, black panther is a state of mind.
THE BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967 – 1975
LAST SCREENING 29TH NOV.
The Black Power Mixtape examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in the black community and Diaspora from 1967 to 1975. The film combines music, startling 16mm footage (lying undiscovered in the cellar of Swedish Television for 30 years), and contemporary audio interviews from leading African-American artists, activists, musicians and scholars.
Writen and Directed by: Göran Hugo Olsson Music by Ahmir Questlove Thompson & Om’Mas Keith. Including appearances by: Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Emile de Antonio, Angela Davis Including commentary voice by: Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Harry Belafonte, Kathleen Cleaver, Angela Davis, Robin Kelley, Abiodun Oyewole, Sonia Sanchez, Bobby Seale, Questlove.