We pay tribute to the Queen of Rock n Roll Tina Turner a music legend who inspired generations of aspiring musicians, especially black musicians and convey heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and fans around the globe.
It is a measure of her greatness that she reportedly later regretted performing in Apartheid South Africa despite the fact that the United Nations General Assembly had initiated a cultural boycott and sanctions against Apartheid South Africa in 1968. This occurred barely 6 years after the arrest of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela in 1962 and other leaders of the liberation struggle.
In a June 1982 article Apartheid Rock-Rolling Stone by Christopher Connelly he states that: “in the late seventies, to combat their growing political isolation, South African authorities began actively encouraging all artists, black as well as white, to play there. A list of the more than fifty entertainers who have ignored the boycott is short on rock & roll behemoths and surprisingly long on black acts: Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Tina Turner and the O’Jays, among others.”
Tina Turner and other American artists especially black artists participation were undoubtedly emboldened by the support of the US administration for the Apartheid Regime in South Africa much the same as it is supporting Apartheid Israel today. It is unfortunate that celebrity list included the likes of Percy Sledge (1970), Brook Benton (1971 & 1982), Jimmy Smith (1978 & 1982) and Isaac Hayes (1978).
Our own music legend Hugh Masekela described it as a “great public-relations victory for the regime’s campaign to confuse the world and prove what great things they are doing for us.”
In saluting Tina Turner we call on musicians of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past supporting Apartheid. We call on them not to turn a blind eye to racism and racial repression in the USA and wherever it occurs in the world.
We call on all performing artists to heed the calls of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine and a host of leaders who have condemned Apartheid Israel for its crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and a genocide spanning more than seven decades. It is inconceivable that someone of Tina Turner’s stature could have supported Apartheid South Africa but a credit to her greatness to have acknowledged and regretted her actions. She was a Turner after all! Our deepest condolences.
May her soul rest in peace!
*Image credit: Philip Spittle
Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council and grandson of famed South African President Nelson Mandela. Member of Parliament (MP) South Africa National Assembly. All articles by Nkosi Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela