So many images and voices coming out of Ferguson have made my breath literally catch. Perhaps none more than this one, however:
Ferguson riot squad got laser sights aimed at protesters. pic.twitter.com/pPgLDKyFAy— E The Preacher (@Ay_E_IOU) August 14, 2014
To me, this says it all about what it is like to be a black person in America.
Last night was a watershed moment in this country. And it has all been documented for the world to see.
I've posted this video several times over the last year and have thought of it constantly over the last 24 hours. It is from the film "Stander" and depicts the start of the Soweto Uprising that took place during the worst days of Apartheid. Optically, the similarities to what happened in Ferguson last night are startling.
The dance the protestors are doing is called the Toyi Toyi. White police and army forces reported being "terrified" of it. Funny thing is, the dance never killed anyone.
Use during ApartheidAmandla, Ferguson. Forward together, not one step back.
Toyi-toyi was often very successful in intimidating the South African troops. The toyi-toyi was also used with chants such as the African National Congress's "Amandla" ("power") and "Awethu" ("ours") or the Pan African Congress's "One Settler, One Bullet".
After the 1976 Soweto massacre, the movement became more militant in the struggle for liberation. The toyi-toyi, a military march dance and song style became commonplace in massive street demonstrations. As one activist puts it, "The toyi-toyi was our weapon. We did not have the technology of warfare, the tear gas and tanks, but we had this weapon."