I had the opportunity to produce and star in the first independent film in South Africa after Nelson Mandela was released from being imprisoned on Robben Island. The movie was called, “Inside.” During that stay, my good fortune was to be alone with him for approximately fifteen minutes.
I said to him: “The entire world was holding its breath to see what mood you’d be in when you came out of prison after twenty-seven years, and you came out with a smile. How did you manage to do that?”
His answer: “It is a much bigger picture.”
By that statement he helped me to understand the “bigger picture” was not to focus on petty revenge provoked by his own suffering. Instead, the necessary path forward was for him to promote a grand vision of forgiveness and reconciliation required by his beloved country to heal.
I took his words to heart and his message dramatically changed my life.
I founded the Eracism Foundation to address the bigger picture by establishing Shamba Centers. “Shamba” is the Swahili word for “farm.” These centers, located throughout the United States, will be offering instruction in cultural diversity, historical enrichment and anti-violence initiatives for young adults, teens and pre-teens. The specialized curriculum will help them to understand and eliminate racism by creating a living environment where racism and injustice has difficulty existing. They will learn to appreciate sensitivities to one another’s cultures, recognizing that differences are not reasons for conflict but for togetherness.
Primitive societies in Africa existed and survived when everyone did something to contribute to the whole. They took care of one another. That rich history will inform the Shamba Center curriculum. ”The Eracism Foundation wants every person of every ethnicity to be exposed to this powerful, holistic wisdom, and to use it peacefully in support of humanity everywhere in the world.
“The salvation of humankind started with the life-affirming ancient culture and traditions of Africa. That rich history will inform the Shamba Center curriculum.”
The Eracism Foundation wants every person of African descent—as well as other ethnicities—to be exposed to this powerful, holistic wisdom and to use it peacefully in support of humanity everywhere in the world.
“The soup of mankind does not taste half as good without the inclusion of all of its people.”
So I have dedicated the last quadrant of my life to this work and to spreading the message of the bigger picture to others—especially the young—which is why I founded the Eracism Foundation. This foundation is focused on creating a society where racism cannot exist.
“The answer to racism is eracism.”
Louis Gossett, Jr.