Peter Tosh and Nelson Mandela Fighting from Opposite Corners
The Prize: Equal Rights
Peter Tosh and Nelson Mandela are two men who dedicated their lives to fight for equal rights. They are united by common goals but walked on different paths in their struggles against the oppressors. The major commonality, which made both men brilliant leaders and revolutionary thinkers, was their passion. The passion they had for their beliefs and turning their visions into reality.
Tosh and Mandela’s divergent approaches started during their youth and followed both individuals through a lifetime struggle. Peter Tosh was born on October 9, 1944 in Westmoreland, Jamaica. Born with the name Winston Huburt McIntosh, curtsey of his absent churchgoing preacher father James McIntosh and mothered by Alvera Coke, Tosh found himself alone in the world. Peter faced the hardships of Jamaican country life including lack of supervision and a poor economic standing. Immediately challenged as a child, he was watched by his aunt but claimed that he raised himself. Peter always took responsibility for his actions and never relied on others for help. Self-reliance was the strongest characteristic trait gained during this period. The separation from his parents deeply rooted his need for finding peace in this world. "I was born raised in righteousness, not to say that my parents was righteous, because they did not know righteousness. They were being led away to a shitstem, or being deceived by deceivers, you see, because they wanted to know what was righteousness" (Holmes and Steffens, Reasoning with Tosh). Tosh negatively associated his parents with all that is bad in society and that which one must never become. He chose at a young age to live his life with loftier aspirations. This "righteousness" ties hand in hand with his Rastafarian beliefs. Tosh clearly states, "I was born Rastafarian. You cannot turn Rasta man, you have to be born a Rasta" (Walker, Tough Tosh). His childhood experiences turned him into a tough man ready to conquer the Babylon.
Nelson Mandela had a very different childhood than Peter Tosh. Born in a small village called Umtata in Transkei, South Africa on July 18, 1918; Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was destined to fight for his people. His father was the chief of their tribe, meaning that young Nelson had the role of taking over the position when his father passed away.
Mandela grew up in a loving home with his parents and close ties to his many relatives.
Supporting people who cared for his well being constantly surrounded him. The small African village consisted of small huts with dirt floors and their diet was mostly corn that they grew in the fields. They had no luxuries, no true ownership and made next to no money. Young Nelson grew up wearing only a blanket until age seven when an opportunity arose, to be the first in his family to attend school. Mandela recalls, "On the first day of school, my teacher, Miss Mdingane, gave each of us an...