REVEALED: WHY NELSON MANDELA NEVER FORGAVE WINNIE

I read this story on Nelson Mandela  and found it interesting enough to reproduce it and post as is. We often forget when we listen to our leaders that they are in fact like you and I. We often place them on pedestals , and create in our minds a life unattached to the throes we ourselves go through.

That is so far from the  truth. Their lives are very much like ours, the difference is they mask their lives in support of ours. It is a high price to pay for leadership and a friendly reminder that leadership is never a rite of passage, rather one is called to lead.

Nelson Mandela in prison for over 25 years endured that physical entrapment allowing him to bravely walk away. He had the strength to endure his physical  imprisonment however in the arena of love, he failed.  It was easy for him to endure man’s heartlessness,  but in the arena of love, nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable than fidelity. That was the game changer. That was the poison.

Read and make your own conclusions.

Kwesi

mandela
DECEMBER 16, 2013
Nelson Mandela was laid to rest on 15th Dec 2013. John Carlin in his new book ” Knowing Mandela,”reveals why he never forgave the former wife who has featured through out the 10 day mourning period and even in the official program.

TWO weeks before Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990 I went to see his wife, Winnie, at her home in Diepkloof Extension, the posh neighbourhood of Soweto where the handful of black people who had contrived to make a little money resided. It was known as Baverly Hills to Soweto’s other presidents.

Winnie’s home, funded by foreign benefactors, was a two-floor, three-bedroom house with a garden and a small swimming pool. The height of extravagance by black standards, it would have more or less met the aspirations of the average white, middle-class South African.

Zindzi, Winnie’s slim and attractive second daughter, was 29 but looked younger in a yellow T-shirt and denim dungarees. It was 9.30 a.m. and she was in the kitchen frying eggs. She invited me in and started chatting as if we were old friends. The truth was that I had not scheduled an interview with Winnie. I had just dropped in to try my luck. But Zindzi saw nothing wrong in me giving it a shot.

Mum, she said, was still upstairs and would probably be a while. As I hovered about waiting (and, as it turned out, waiting, and waiting friends of Zindzi wandered in for coffee and a chat. Completing the South African middle-class picture, a small, wizened maid in blue overalls padded inscrutably around.

mandela2Finally, Winnie made her entrance, Taller than I had expected, very much the grande dame, she displayed neither surprise nor irritation at my presence in her home. When I said I would like to interview her, she responded with a sigh, a knowing smile and a glance at her watch. I said all I would need was half an hour. She thought a moment, shrugged her shoulders and said: “OK. But you will have to give me a little time.” She still had to put the finishing touches to her morning toilette.

The picture presented to me by mother, daughter, friends and cleaning lady was of a domesticity so stable and relaxed that, had I not been better informed, I would never have imagined the depths of trauma that lucked beneath.

Winnie had been continually persecuted by agents of the apartheid state during the 1970s and 1980s; she had borne the anguish of hearing her two small daughters screaming as the police broke into her home and carted her off to jail; she had spent more than a year in solitary confinement. Trusting that her confused and stricken children would be cared for by friends; she had been banished and placed under house arrest far away. But she was back, her circumstances altered dramatically for the better now that Mandela’s release was imminent.

One hour after her first entrance, she majestically reappeared, Cleopatra still needed her morning coffee, and motioned me to wait in her study while she withdrew into the kitchen. I had five minutes to take in the surroundings. On a bookshelf there was a row of framed family portraits, a Christmas card and a birthday card. Only a month had passed since Christmas, but nearly four since Winnie had turned 53. I could not resist taking a closer look.

I opened the Christmas card, which was enormous, and immediately recognised Nelson Mandela’s large, spidery handwriting. “Darling, I love you. Madiba,” It said. Madiba was the tribal name by which he liked to be known to those close to him. On the birthday card he had written the same words.

If I had not known better I might have imagined the cards had been sent by an infatuated teenager. Once we began our interview. Winnie took on just such a role, playing the tremulous bride-to-be, convincing me she was in a state of nervous excitement at the prospect of rekindling her life’s great love.

Close up she had, like her husband, the charisma of the vastly self-confident, and there was a coquettish, eye-fluttering sensuality about her. It was not hard to imagine how the young woman who met Mandela one rainy evening in 1957 had struck him, as he would later confess, like a thunderbolt.

The Mandela the world saw wore a mask that disguised his private feelings, presenting himself as a fearless hero, immune to ordinary human weakness. His effectiveness as a leader hung, he believed, on keeping that public mask from cracking. Winnie offered the greatest test to his resolve. During the following years the mask cracked only twice. She was the cause both times.

The first was in May 1991. She had just been convicted at Johannesburg’s Rand Supreme Court of assault and accessory to kidnapping a 14-year-old black boy called Stomple Moeketsi, whom her driver had subsequently murdered. Winnie had been led to believe, falsely as it turned out, that the boy had been working as a spy for the apartheid state.

thWinnie and Mandela walked together down the steps of the grand court building. Once again the actress, she swaggered to the street, right fist raised in triumph. It was not clear what she could possibly have been celebrating, except perhaps the perplexing straight off to jail and would remain free pending an appeal.

Mandela had a different grasp of the situation. His face was grey, his eyes were downcast.
The second and last time was nearly a year later. The setting was an evening press conference hastily summoned at the drab headquarters of the ANC. He shuffled into the room, sat down at a table and read from a piece of paper, beginning by paying tribute to his wife.

” During the two decades I spent on Robben Island she was an indispensable pillar of support and comfort. My love for her remains undiminished.” There was a general intake of breath. Then he continued: “We have mutually agreed that a separation would be the best for each of us .I part from my wife with no recriminations. I embrace her with all the love and affection I have nursed for her inside and outside prison from the moment I first met her.”

He rose to his feet. “Ladies and gentlemen. I hope you’ll appreciate the pain I have gone through and I now end this interview.” He exited the room, head-bowed, amid total silence.

Mandela’s love for Winnie had been, like many great loves, a kind of madness, all the more so in his case as it was founded more on a fantasy that he had kept alive for 27 years in prison than on the brief time they had actually spent together. The demands of his political life before he was imprisoned were such that they had next to no experience of married life, as Winnie herself would confess to me that morning.

” I have never lived with Mandela”, she said. “I have never known what it was to have a close family where you sat around the table with husband and children. I have no such dear memories. When I gave birth to my children he was never there, even though he was not in jail at the time.”

It seemed that Winnie, who was 22 to his 38 when they met, had cast a spell on him. Or maybe he cast a spell on himself, needing to reconstruct those fleeting memories of her into a fantasy of tranquility where he sought refuge from the loneliness of prison life.

His letters to her from Robben Island revealed romantic, sensual side to his nature that no one but Winnie then knew. He recalled “the electric current” that ” flushed ” through his blood as he looked at her photograph and imagined their caresses.

th copyThe truth was that Winnie had had several lovers during Mandela’s long absence. In the months before his release, she had been having an affair with Dali Mpofu, a lawyer 30 years her junior and a member of her defence team. She carried on with the affair after Mandela left prison. ANC members close to Mandela knew that was going on, as they did about her frequent bouts of drunkenness.

I tried asking them why they did not talk to Mandela about her waywardness, but I was always met by frosty stares. Winnie became a taboo subject within the ANC during the two years after Mandela left prison. Confronting him with the truth was a step too far for the freedom fighters of the ANC.

His impeccably courteous public persona acted as a coat of armour protecting the sorrowing man within. But there came a point when Mandela could deceive himself, or the public, no longer. Details of the affair with Mpofu were made luridly public in a newspaper report two weeks before the separation announcement.

The article was a devastating, irrefutable expose of Winnie’s affair. It was based on a letter she had written to Mpofu that revealed he had recently had a child with a woman whom she referred to as a ” white hag “. Winnie accused Mpofu of ” running around f***** at the slightest emotional excuse .

“Before I am through with you, you are going to learn a bit of honesty and sincerity and know what betrayal of one’s love means to a woman ! Remember always how much you have hurt and humiliated me . I keep telling you the situation is deteriorating at home, you are not bothered because you are satisfying yourself every night with a woman. I won’t be your bloody fool, Dali.”

th-2In private, Mandela had already endured quite enough conjugal torture. I learnt of one especially hurtful episode from a friend of Mandela some years later. Not long after the end of her trial, Winnie was due to fly to America on ANC-related business. She wanted to take Mpofu with her, and Mandela said she should not, Winnie agreed not to, but went with him anyway. Mandela phoned her at her hotel room in New York, and Mpofu answered the phone.

On the face of it, Mandela was a man more sinned against than sinning, but he did not see it that way. It was his belief that the original sin was to have put his political cause before his family.

Despite everything, Mandela believed when he left prison that he would find a way to reconcile political and family life. Some years after his separation from Winnie, I interviewed his close friend Amina Cashalia, who had known him since before he met Winnie.

” His one great wish,” she told me, ” was that he would come out of prison, and have a family life again with his wife and the children. Because he’s a great family man and I think he really wanted that more than anything else and he couldn’t have it.”

His fallout with Winnie only deepened the catastrophe, contaminating his relationships with other family members, among them his daughter Zindzi. She was a far more complicated character than I had imagined when I chatted with her cheerfully in her mother’s kitchen over fried eggs.

th-2 copyAt that very moment, in late January 1990, her current lover, the father of her third child, was in a prison cell. Five days later he hanged himself. Zindzi was very much her mother’s daughter, inheriting her capacity to dissemble as well as her strength of personality. The unhappiness and sheer chaos that she would endure in her own private life, a mirror of her mother’s, found expression in a succession of tense episodes with her father after he was set free.

One of them took place before friends and family on the day of her marriage to the father of her fourth child, six months after her parents’ separation. It was a glittering occasion at Johannesburg ‘ s swankiest hotel, with Zindzi radiant in a magnificent pearl and sequin bridal dress. It seemed to be a joyous celebration; in truth, it provided further evidence of the Mandela family’s dysfunctions.

One of the guests seated near the top table was Helen Suzman, the white liberal politician and good friend of Mandela. She told me that he went through the ceremonial motions with all the propriety one would have expected. He joined in the cutting of the wedding cake and played his part when the time came to give his speech, declaring, “she’s not mine now,” as fathers are supposed to do. He did not, however, mention Winnie in the speech. When he sat down, he looked silent and cheerless.

Maybe he had had time to reflect in the intervening six months on the depth of Winnie ‘ s betrayal. For more details had emerged of her love affairs and of the crimes of the gang of young men ” Winnie ‘ s boys” , as they were known in Soweto , who played the role of both bodyguards and courtly retinue. They had killed at least three young black men, beaten up Winnie’s perceived enemies and raped young girls.

Whether Mandela chose to realise it at the time, he was the reason that Winnie never ended up going to jail. Some years later, the minister of justice and the chief of national intelligence admitted to me that they had conveyed a message to the relevant members of the judiciary to show Winnie leniency.

Mandela’s mental and emotional wellbeing were essential to the success of the negotiations between the government and the ANC; for him to bow out of the process could have had catastrophic consequences for the country as a whole. Jailing Winnie would be too grave a risk.

Bizarrely, one of the guests at Zindzi ‘s wedding, prominently positioned near the top table, was the “white hag” Winnie had derided in her letter to Mpofu, and she was sitting next to a man I know to be another former lover of Winnie’s.

It also would have been difficult for Mandela to miss the menacing glances Winnie cast towards the “hag” although I hope he missed the moment when Winnie brushed past her and hissed at her former lover: “Go on! Take her ! Take her! ”

When the band struck up and the newly married couple got up to dance, Mandela, who had been standing up, turned his back on Winnie and returned stiffly to the top table. Grim-faced for the rest of the night, he treated Winnie as if she did not exist. At one point, Suzman passed him a note. “Smile, Nelson,” it said.

maccabees press shoot

Nelson Mandela

In October 1994, five months after Mandela had become president, I spoke to a friend of his, one of the few people in whom he confided the details of his marital difficulties. The friend leant over to me and said: ” it’s amazing. He has forgiven all his political enemies, but he cannot forgive her.”

During their divorce proceedings a year and a half later, he made his feelings towards Winnie public at the Rand Supreme Court, where he had accompanied and supported Winnie during her trial in 1991.
As his lawyer would tell me later, he was arbitrarily generous about sharing his estate, giving Winnie what was more than fair. But he made his feelings bluntly known in the divorce hearing. Standing a few feet away from her, he addressed the judge, saying: “Can I put it simply, my lord? If the entire universe tried to persuade me to reconcile with the defendant. I would not .I am determined to get rid of this marriage.”

He did not shirk from describing before the court the disappointment and misery of married life after he returned from prison. Winnie, he explained, did not share his bed once in the two years after their reunion.

“I was the loneliest man,” he said.

The Victorian poet Arthur Hugh Clough wrote about the “terrible notions of duty ” that boost the public figure but can stunt the private man. It is impossible to avoid concluding that Mandela was far less at ease in private than in public life. In the harsh world of South African politics he had his bearing; in the family sphere he often seemed baffled and lost.

Happily for his country, one did not drain energy from the other. Thanks to a kind of self-imposed apartheid of the mind, personal anguish and the political drive inhabited separate compartments and ran along parallel lines.

As out of control as she could be in her personal affairs, she possessed a lucid political intelligence and a mature understanding of where her husband’s priorities lay, even if she was deluded in attributing some of his qualities to herself.

” When you lead the kind of life we lead, if you are involved in a revolutionary situation, you cease to think in terms of self,” she said. ”  The question of personal feelings and reactions dues not even arise, because you are in a position where you think solely in terms of the nation, the people who have come first all your life.”

Courtesy: Sunday Times
Extracted from Knowing Mandela by John Carlin
NB: In Mandela’s will, Winnie was left absolutely nothing.

THE 3 DANGEROUS WORDS- I LOVE YOU…..

  

The word “love” has to rank somewhere at the top of the most overworked words currently in use. We throw it around now like confetti at a New Year’s Eve party. Oh, I *love* that dress you’re wearing! Kiss. Kiss. Don’t you just *love* that new hair color? Oh yes! And did you see that new guy who just moved in next door…He’s so dreamy…I’m in *love*. Sigh.
But what do we mean exactly? Like. Idolize. Enjoy. Appreciate. Revere. Have some affection for, am infatuated with, but will definitely not die for. Because just as we do at the end of a New Year’s Eve affair with all the party favors we have no more use for, we forget the word even dripped from our tongues like honey, tossing it aside with scant attention to the fact that the receiver may have taken what was said to mean more than was intended.
Can we resolve, therefore, as we go forward into a new year to be more careful with its use? Words matter. People’s hearts matter. And it’s not okay to tell someone you love them because it is expedient to get what you want. It’s opportunistic and it’s cruel. Indeed, the person to whom you say, “I love you” may be crazy enough to believe you. Just imagine that obscenity. squint emoticon
2015 © Donna Kassin, The Real Proposal magazine. All rights reserved.

(Follow us also on Instagram: @TheRealProposal)

WHY I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY…Paul Brunson

Can you imagine. my good buddy Paul Brunson, leading relationships expert shares his reason why he  hates Valentine’s day. Great read.

I’m about to write the one post you would never expect a professional matchmaker to write. So, first, let me clarify that I am actually a matchmaker. Yes, that’s my “real” job and one that I love.

This time of year is the Super Bowl of my industry – lots of events, lots of media attention, lots of new client requests. You would think I should just shut my mouth and enjoy the ride. However, I can’t…because I hate Valentine’s Day.

Hate Valentine's Day

Yes, that’s how I truly feel and let me give you the 7 reasons why…

1)  You get “penalized’ if you’re not in a relationship

Let’s face it, nothing is worse than being alone on Valentine’s Day. At least, that’s what our society tells us. Several studies suggest that being alone on Valentine’s Day can cause depression in both teenagers and adults.

2)  You get “penalized” if you’re in a relationship

I’ve been married 12 years and I still feel the stress to “make something extravagant happen” on Valentine’s Day. The pressure doesn’t come from my wife, but from everyone else who asks me (and my wife gets similar questions, too), “What big surprise are you planning for your wife this year, Paul?” “How many roses is she getting this year?” “You know girls love diamonds Paul, are you giving her some?” And on and on. The second she or I hint at doing something “low-key” on Valentine’s Day, the eyes start to roll.

3)  People make wild purchases they really can’t afford

Guess when the most profitable time of year for matchmakers and online dating sites is? That’s right, Valentine’s Day. I notice with my matchmaking agency this is the time of year when inquiries for services spike.

I’ve had many clients tell me that it was so important they attempt to find a mate that they have delayed buying a car they needed or they made other significant sacrifices – which indicates that this was not a service they could truly afford. This “holiday” drives a “desperation” on the part of many. And, as a result, price is no longer important (the sad thing is corporations know this, which brings me to my next point).

4)  We all get price-gouged

When would someone in their right mind pay $500 for a couple’s dinner, or $150 for flowers, or $75 for a box of chocolates? NEVER… except on Valentine’s Day. Nearly every business inflates their prices on Valentine’s Day. The crazy thing is, we all know about this artificial inflation and STILL line up to get ripped off.

5)  It prematurely forces people in or out of relationships

The days leading up to Valentine’s Day and the days right after are some of the busiest in the romance “game.” It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that days leading up to (and on) Valentine’s Day, are the most popular for proposals and exclusive dating commitments.

Care to guess what the days following Valentine’s Day are most popular for? That’s right, break-ups. I’m not saying these are couples would not have eventually committed to each other or broken up with each other, anyway. But, the Valentine’s Day season brings about feelings of “do or die,” and ultimatums never help a relationship.

6)  Kids are indoctrinated too young

My 3-year-old is ridiculously excited about Valentine’s Day. Almost too much so. What does he know about it? You give and get gifts. That’s it. I know this is where parents need to step in, but it’s damn hard when the country wraps up the Christmas holidays, and it feels like almost immediately after, every store inundates us with Valentine’s Day promotions. I chalk this up to corporate programming at it’s best (bringing me to my next point).

7)  Inappropriate focus on gifts

Love takes on many forms. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, we actually give and receive love in 5 ways, but if you were dropped on this planet on Valentine’s Day, you would think it’s all about gifts and nothing else. Buy this, buy this, buy this, is the theme EVERYWHERE we go and that messaging impacts us psychologically. So much so, that we’re programmed to believe gifts are the single most important tool to obtain and receive love (and it’s not – quality time is significantly more important).

Let me end by saying despite all this hating on Valentine’s Day I just did, I am, ironically, a romantic. However, the commercialization (of all holidays) just ain’t working. Sure, it generates billions of dollars and I’m sure some economists can trace that back to more jobs, country security, etc., BUT we’re being negatively impacted, as well. In my opinion, the corporate takeover of Valentine’s Day is doing far more harm than good for relationships today and, more importantly, relationships tomorrow.

How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

LOVE IS…..

.A good friend wrote this piece. Thought i would share it with you. Have a loving day family.

Though you are wise, knowing a lot of stuff has not brought you lasting happiness. Though you understand the signs of the times and can predict the future, this has not brought you a great joy.  Though you have overcome serious personal challenges you still feel vulnerable. Though you have given generously to those in need, and even suffered as a result, this has not brought you much fulfillment. It all has a hollow ring. But today you are growing up.

When you were young you depended on the affection of others to experience LOVE.  And when you were with your Lovers it was like looking at each other through a very dark glass. Oh how you both stumbled in the dark, finding only fleeting glimpses of LOVE!  Back then you only saw a piece at a time. And this was fine. Children learn a little at a time. Now you are grown and you can see more clearly.

Today realize that your darkened glass is really a mirror. You and LOVE are face to face! And you are the face of LOVE. LOVE has waited patiently for you and knows you as its SELF. LOVE is gentle, it is an energy as soft as a baby’s touch, yet strong and lasting enough to fuel eternity.  LOVE sees no evil and knows no differences. LOVE wants for nothing. LOVE experiences itself as everything.  It grows everything and rejoices in its creation. LOVE is invincible.  All knowledge is dated and no prediction is ever certain. But know this: LOVE will outlast all knowledge and predictions. LOVE is the only real thing.

Three great principles evolve the cycle of your LIFE. The first is HOPE: your deep desire to experience more. The second is FAITH: your ability to materialize all your desires. The third and the most important is the source of the two. It is LOVE: recognizing within your SELF the source of all LIFE.

1 Corinthians 13

by Olubode Shawn Brown

THE ONLY BAD PUBLICITY IS NO PUBLICITY..RELATIONSHIP IS ON FIRE

Being Jamaican was the thing she was most proud of when it came to facing the microphones. That exotic blend of cultures, colours and ethnic backgrounds, a melting pot that was truly diverse, was now sprinkled with a heavy dose of Rastafari, she said.

Part 2 of this fascinating press opera with Cindy tell all about her love affair with Bob Marley as written by Janet Silvera senior reporter from the Gleaner.

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Cindy Breakspeare said she knew the King of Reggae, the man who would later become the father of her love child, because they would say hello to each other in passing.

“Yes I knew him, but to be a devotee of the music, part of an elite group of spiritual rebels was one thing. But to be intimate, involved personally with this man, be the woman who would stand by his side and reflect all that he was about was entirely something else.”

Breakspeare wasn’t a Rastafarian, didn’t fit the bill, and wasn’t sure she wanted to be one.

“Once again was that word religion, full of rules and regulations -just what I wanted to be free of,” Breakspeare told the gathering who sat transfixed by her revelations at the Undercroft of the University of the West Indies, Mona, last Thursday during the Annual Bob Marley Lecture.

In her mind, it was uptown meets downtown. “How on earth was that going to work,” she questioned.

However, that questioned was answered by the charming Bob Marley, who made her feel special with small gifts like a freshly picked mango and an invitation to walk in the cool night air. This became the norm, she reminisced.

“And I could not deny that we were fiercely attracted to each other. Fascinated and separated simultaneously by our differences, so we began to build a bridge. The same bridge that has brought me here today. Bob was strong, fit and virile. Tough as nails and boyishly charming, all at the same time.”

She describes him as a man’s man who wore denim and khaki, frequently used chew sticks to clean his teeth and smelled of phetamine soap, superconfident and more driven than any human being she had ever met.

INTIMIDATING FELLOW

“He was not only attractive, but intimidating for a young girl like me. I knew instinctively if I were to enter into this relationship with him, it would change the trajectory of my life forever.”

Cindy and Bob would stroll out to the fence at the front of the yard and stand there talking for hours about life, Rasta, consciousness and whether or not one knew what one’s purpose on earth was.

“It was unsettling for sure, the company of this man, who was different from anyone I had been involved with thus far.”

She said he was so serious about his own purpose in life that she didn’t know “how and where [she] could possibly fit in”.

During their tentative dance around each other, Marley went off on tour for 10 to 12 weeks.

Allan ‘Skill’ Cole and the gang continued to visit her from time to time at the nightclub in Northside Plaza where she worked, to check if she was behaving herself and to bring greetings from her suitor.

“Greetings to let me know that he was always thinking of me while away and would return soon – a return filled with expectation and anticipation. Finally, he was back, I knew the day was imminent. I heard the VW bus come through the gate and I just knew he was in it. His footsteps up the stairs to my front door confirmed this not long after. He was back. The waiting was over. There were no more questions which seemed to matter. It was what it was, and it would become what it would become.”

Another piece of the bridge fell into place.

“Naturally, I had continued to pursue my own career goals and that pursuit led me to a job at Spartan Health Club as an instructress in June of 1976. She took to the job like a duck to water. To be totally immersed in physical culture was a wonderful way to spend every day, which fit in perfectly with her now-vegetarian lifestyle, as a result of Marley’s influence.

Her involvement at Spartan and the encouragement of Mickie Haughton-James led her to compete in the Miss Jamaica Body Beautiful. The prize for winning that was to compete in the Miss Universe Bikini in London.

“Again, I won, and I remember being in New York with Bob at the Essex House where he often stayed waiting for the call from Jamaica to say whether or not I had been accepted to compete in the Miss World, also held in London.”

The phone rang and the answer was yes, she had to compete in the ultimate beauty pageant, Miss World 1976 in London.

“The Miss World competition for me was an opportunity more than anything else. With no family backative and no university education, I made a conscious effort to exploit my God-given talent.”

It turned out to be the best job she ever had.

“I told them to work me as hard as possible. I would go anywhere in the world they wanted to have me, and, consequently, had an amazing year getting to know the world as an unofficial ambassador for Jamaica.”

Unparalleled & unforgettable

Being Jamaican was the thing she was most proud of when it came to facing the microphones. That exotic blend of cultures, colours and ethnic backgrounds, a melting pot that was truly diverse, was now sprinkled with a heavy dose of Rastafari, she said.

The night she won stands out in my memory as an overwhelming moment, unparalleled and unforgettable.

“Until this day, watching the videos of it, still fills my eyes with tears and floods my heart with emotion.”

Wherever she went, Jamaica was the subject and, of course, Marley.

“The tabloids went crazy,” she quipped, adding that her chaperone, Nancy Burke, was convinced she would be terminated for the scandalous press her relationship with Marley was receiving.

The age-old adage proved to be true – The only bad publicity is no publicity.

The Jamaican community, including those of the Rastafari faith, she said, supported her wholeheartedly through the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.

A few days after winning, her exploration of London took her down to Porto Bello Road, where in search of a restroom, she made her way into a Jamaican restaurant called Back-a-Yard.

“As I pushed the door dressed in full regalia, having just come from a personal appearance, the two Jamaican women who were tidying the place looked up in total disbelief, elbowing each other. ‘See her yah, see her yah,’ they whispered loud enough for me to hear. Says me now brightly. ‘Wah a gwaan in yah, me ears a ring unno een yah a chat me’. ‘Yes,’ one of them stated unapologetically, we want to know why when you have so much black girls in Jamaica, Bob would a tek up with you?’.”

“Well see it yah now, a say to miself, baptism of fire. I took a deep breath, swallowed my spit and prayed for courage. Within five minutes, I kid you not, every Jamaican in a five-mile radius was in that restaurant to witness the impromptu trial of the newly crowned Miss World.”

ContributedCeeLo Green

MISS WORLD & BOB..A 20th CENTURY ROMEO & JULIET PART 1 by Janet Silvera

MISS WORLD & BOB..A 20th CENTURY ROMEO & JULIET PART 1 by Janet Silvera

Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976 fell in love with Bob Marley and produced a son Damien. Cindy is now speaking about how she met Bob and how it changed her life for years after. Here is part 1 taken from the Jamaica Gleaner reporter Janet Silvera.

Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

In an hour-long lecture organised by the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona, former Miss World, Cindy Breakspeare, tells all.

The Gleaner’s entertainment pages will carry a five-part series to this no-holds-barred presentation unveiled at the 17th Annual Bob Marley lecture.

CINDY & BOB.
Born in Canada in 1954 to a Canadian mother and a white Jamaican father, Cindy Breakspeare moved to Jamaica with her parents in 1959, along with her older brother, Stephen, whom she tagged her constant companion and playmate.

“As children, you often fail to notice that there is trouble in paradise, and when my parents went their separate ways a couple of years later, we were devastated.

Stephen was sent to St Mary’s College, Above Rocks, and I was sent to Immaculate Conception Convent.”

To be sent to a Roman Catholic Convent at the age of seven, she said was a shock to the system.

“The nuns were remote, very strict and certainly provided no substitute for the love one’s own parents offered.”

During her four years there, Cindy said she often felt lost, lonely and abandoned and lived for the holidays when she would be reunited with her brother.

Visits from her parents were infrequent, compared to the other students.

“And my sense of family began to dissipate, replaced by the understanding that friends would have to suffice.”

Last Thursday night, some of those same friends sat in the lecture.

Immaculate, she called the finest girl’s school in Jamaica and said she would eternally be grateful for the foundation she received there. The emphasis, she said, was on religion.

“We were up very early for mass, very early every morning. We prayed before and after every class, every meal, there was rosary in the chapel every afternoon, and mass, rosary and benediction every Sunday.”

Religious activities

All these religious activities did little for Breakspeare. Instead, she grew into a rebellious teenager fascinated with the opposite sex, oblivious with the benefits of education and eager to be out of there and in the world commandeering her own life.

“In and out of trouble, it was actually a relief to both me and the school when I finally graduated.”

After nine years of schooling, she said she left Immaculate with the feeling that religion was rigid, judgemental, divisive and lacking in compassion.

A brief stint at Duff’s Business College proved too much of a struggle between her fingernails and the typewriter keys, so she moved on. With no money for higher education, the best job was the one that looked best.

“One day, while working at Gem Craft, a jewellery store in Tropical Plaza, a couple of English guys came sauntering in. One of them, a well-known deejay based in London by the name of Dave Cash, he took one look at me and, as we say in Jamaica, him skin ketch fire.”

The two started hanging out, along with Breakspeare’s brother and girlfriend, Regina Burke, and ended up at a house in Russell Heights occupied by Danny Simms.

“We partied hearty and were still at it in the wee hours of the morning when there came a knock at the front door. Danny disappeared for a short while and on his return declared, ‘You know who that was? That was Bob Marley. He is gonna be a big star one day’.”

She said they nodded in dutiful agreement and went back to their party.

Not aware of Bob

“I don’t believe any of us at the time were even aware of Bob. And probably didn’t realise that we danced to his music frequently at parties. I first became aware of Bob when Catch A Fire was released in 1973.

Breakspeare began to embrace the different genres of music. In Bob’s music, the message of being your brother’s keeper, drugs are not the way to go, and standing up for the poor and oppressed, crept into her subconscious and the notion that spirituality was so much more rewarding than religion started to take root.

“The years spent in a Roman Catholic institution had not left me with much,” she declared.

Her father had migrated some years back. Her mother, in need of an anchor, had set her two children free from her nest.

“So my brother and I, as close as two peas in a pod, found our way, and through a mutual friend, rented a two-bedroom flat at 56 Hope Road.”

Other tenants on the compound included, Jody-Ann McNeill and Rasta attorney, Dianne Jobson.

The compound buzzed with activity she reminisced.

Breakspeare and her brother, raised in an echelon of society which believed Rastas to be a population of machete-wielding, religious fanatics crazed on ganja consumption to be avoided at all cost, settled right in, completely at home, and free at last of social mores and parents.

“Our friends frequented our place, an eclectic mix of beautiful people, Errol Thompson, Tony Johnson. Nancy and Regina Burke, Patsy Yuen, Ronnie and Suzie Burke.”

They smoked their fair share of ganja and revelled in the understanding that, as young adults, the world was their oyster.

“Somehow, we sensed that we were positioned at the heart of something great, something special. The atmosphere at 56 was always charged with electricity, excitement, rebelliousness of a deliberate nature.”

Bob Marley and the Wailers rehearsed there. It was the time when Bob and the music were about to overtake the world with an irreversible resonance that was being created rehearsed and celebrated right there in the same yard where she lived.

“How could we resist the call? Why would we resist the call? To honour some childhood indoctrination from institutions we had grown to resent? We were wide open, totally receptive to what else was out there in the way of a moral compass.”

The rest of the world was waking up to a message and the power of Bob’s music, she said.

And although Jamaica was running a tad behind, held back by prejudices and fear of the unknown, there was a nucleus of devotees in Kingston.

Rastafari, she said, was the foundation, “and we were like moths to a flame”.

To listen to the music and feel the pulse, the rhythm move your body was one thing, but to really hear the lyrics and absorb the message was to be totally hooked, stated Breakspeare.

Privy to the creative process, witness to the evolution of the 20th century prophet, she said she never understood then how amazing what was unfolding before her very eyes truly was.

“We were there stoned, drunk on the potency of single-mindedness of purpose of one man who now has 44 million Facebook followers, second only posthumously to Michael Jackson. We didn’t know.”

“When Bob first started approaching me on a personal level I was petrified.”

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com