December 08, 2013

Remembering Mandela

Coming of age as I did in the 1980s, Nelson Mandela loomed large and it was with a profound sadness that I learned of his death.  He was a revolutionary fighting against both the unjust racial system of apartheid as well as larger political and economic structures that enabled (and continue to enable) the some to exploit the many.

With his death, the world has lessened; but the dream and the work for justice remains, both in South Africa and the world.

I take comfort in this visualization of the globalness of his legacy, presently partially and imperfectly, in the animation below. Individuals from around the world sending a message containing his name, the merest flash in time-space, that when combined with others sparks, can set the world aglow.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika….

Tweets from December 5th and 6th 2013 containing "Mandela" 

-------- technical notes -----
- This animation represents 190,000 geocoded tweets mentioning 'mandela' sent from 14:00 December 5th to 16:00 on December 6th. Geocoded tweets are only a fraction of all tweets and so the actually number of tweets sent is likely up to 100 times more.
- The use of Twitter varies across countries and low levels of use means that some countries with large populations do no stand out in this map (e.g., China and India). This is most likely an artifact of differences in technology use as well as non-Roman alphabets rather than an indicator of interest.