Today the Long Walk to Freedom is not about Buju Banton. 25 years since the end of apartheid.

Before Buju Banton, Nelson Mandela had the real Long Walk to Freedom
Before Buju Banton, Nelson Mandela had the real Long Walk to Freedom

On April 27, 1994; apartheid in South Africa came to an end. For the people who were born in the 90s or after, The Long Walk to Freedom is a Buju Banton Reggae Music tour to them. To those who were around in 1990, the Long Walk to Freedom is about liberation and redemption for one of the greatest men to walk this earth, Nelson Mandela.

The Long Walk to Freedom is the autobiography written by Nelson Mandela that chronicles his life, the struggle he fought for the liberation of black people, his 27 years in a South African prison and him ultimately becoming the president of South Africa.

Was it right for Buju Banton and his handlers to name their tour after the Nelson Mandela’s moniker? It is difficult to say especially considering how different their situations are. One is a man who sacrificed his own life in the fight for the betterment of his people, Black people and as a result ended up serving more than a quarter century in prison. The other is a man who either for his own selfish desire or as some believed got tricked by the system, succumbed to his weakness and ended up spending almost a decade in prison. Although both men served time in prison, how they got there and what got them there could not me more different.

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That’s why Buju Banton owes it to Nelson Mandela to make sure this Long Walk to freedom tour is not just about music and entertainment. If that is all it turns out to be then Buju would have done Mandela a tremendous disservice for naming the tour Long Walk to Freedom.

Buju Banton will continue the tour tonight in Barbados. One can only hope that he will take the opportunity on this 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s presidency to remind Black people of the importance of the phrase; “Long Walk to Freedom”.

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Maybe history can be made in Barbados tonight, when a son of Jamaican soil can rally Black people worldwide to truly start a walk to freedom, not a long walk but a short one. Long is a sign of evolution and evolving is too slow. Black people need a revolution and they need it now.

Can Buju Banton be the new millennium version of Dutty Boukman and be that spark?

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