Burning Spear News
Long Live Mafundi Lake! "Mafundi Lake Day" raises up martyred African political prisoner
Chairman Omali Yeshitela stands with Mafundi Lake's family. © The Burning Spear
On March 1, 2021, The African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) Southern Region hosted Mafundi Lake Free All Political Prisoners Day in honor of the late Mafundi Lake. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mafundi Lake Day was held as an online event.
Mafundi Lake was one of Africa’s greatest sons. He was a political prisoner who never wavered in his love and fight for African liberation. Mafundi Lake became a martyr on January 21, 2018 after being held for weeks without his medication.
Mafundi was born in 1940 and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1950s during the height of the civil rights movement and the emergence of the Black Power Revolution. Mafundi was framed and convicted of a $34 robbery as a teenager. Kidnapped by the sheriff Bull Connor’s deputies, he was sentenced to 14 years of slave labor in the prison camps throughout the state.
It was while in prison that Mafundi truly became the incredible revolutionary organizer that he was. He built the Inmates for Action (IFA) and was punished for that with 12 years in isolation.
Mafundi Lake exemplified George Jackson’s quote: “They will never count me among the broken men.” Upon his release, Mafundi began organizing prison support organizations from the outside.
In 1979, he became the first chair of the African National Prison Organization (ANPO), built by the APSP. In 1983, he was framed again and imprisoned, but he maintained his revolutionary fire until the day he died.
Declaration of Mafundi Lake Day
On February 24, 2019, the APSP Southern Region, during an African Marty’s Day event, declared Mafundi’s birthday, March 1, to be the official Mafundi Lake Day. We must take power into our own hands, and part of that is defining for ourselves who our heroes are and what they mean to us.
We must declare our holidays in the interest of the liberation and of the African Working working class. The APSP Southern Region will have an event every year to uphold and continue the work of Mafundi Lake on this day.
At the African Martyr’s Day event in 2019 at Zenzele Consignment Shop in Huntsville, AL, Mafundi’s wife, Carolyn Weyni Njeri Lake, two of his children, Maia and Assata Lake, and long time friend, comrade and family member Makeda Dabney participated in the event. The family received was presented with an award for his life long work toward African liberation.
Continuing to raise up Mafundi Lake
March 1, 2021 was a great Mafundi Lake Day. People participated from all over the country and watched from all over the world. Speakers, including family, friends and comrades, and Chairman Omali Yeshitela, spoke of how courageous Mafundi was and how he set the example for what a revolutionary was supposed to do. He never wavered.
During the Mafundi Lake Day we watched 11 minutes of his powerful testimony in 1982 at the APSP’s First World Tribunal on Reparations for Black People in Brooklyn, N.Y. We also viewed a powerful interview with Mafundi in prison conducted and summed up by Comrade Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun of the Free Alabama Movement.
APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People’s Socialist Party gave a powerful account of Mafundi’s life. Carolyn Weyni Njeri Lake, Mafundi’s wife, sang a beautiful rendition of the song “Strange Fruit,” and Elikya Ngoma performed a self-produced and original song called “Fight Song.”
About 100 people attended this event. We heard from Mafundi’s eldest daughter Vanessa Anderson as well as friends and comrades: Napoleon Lewis, Freddy Fani Jones, Sandra Chiomah Weems, Dr. Horace Huntley, Onaje Muid and more.
We call on all interested to join the Mafundi Lake Day Committee to build Mafundi Lake Free All Political Prisoners Day on March 1, 2022. The Mafundi Lake Day 2022 will be an in-person event in Birmingham, AL if the pandemic allows.
We will make this a One Africa! One Nation! Event and to carry out the work of Mafundi Lake. We will not only uphold our comrade and African Martyr Mafundi Lake, but we will live like him.
Long Live Mafundi Lake!
Live Like Mafundi Lake!
If you are interested in joining the Committee to build the Mafundi Lake Event in Birmingham, Alabama 2022 Contact us at [email protected] or contact us at 256-294-1(PPL)775.