“Amandla, awethu!” (A variation of Power to the People) is a South African phrase that was used as a term of empowerment, a call for a revolution, an attempt to restore the people’s belief in themselves, in their struggle and in the fight. It literally means “The power is ours”. These are two words that gave birth to black resilience in South Africa.
It’s still widely used today at political rallies and protests. Some may argue that it’s used in vain and I agree to a certain extent. Power to the people is a collection of spirits. The spirits of the people who sacrificed their lives and in doing so, investing their “power” to the hope, the possibility and the faith that the youth that inherits this “power” (because it can never be destroyed, only inherited from one generation to another, the law of black revolutions), would harness it to continue the journey they paved in the struggle for liberation. It is our duty to make sure that power is harnessed and used appropriately.
There’s still so much to do with it. We’ve been taught the concept of freedom and democracy but have only experienced the surface of it.
“Instead of building factories, they’re building malls” – Vusi Thembekwayo
Sure we have a higher number of black middle class compared to the past but white South Africans, in their minority, continue to command social, economic, political and geographic power domestically and from foreign western countries. Listen, there’s no better time to harness that inherited power (the spirits of black revolutionaries) than now. If we continue to conform to what is laid out by a system that was created for the empowerment of white people exclusively, we’ll remain protesting for university funding every year, we’ll remain unemployed township academics, we’ll remain confined to a plan that was shoved down our throats by people who’ve never wanted us to eat.
So “Amandla, Awethu!” is a powerful prayer today and will be until all power belongs to the people. In a real democracy, the concept of equity is given life.