In life we often long for opportunities to meet or befriend someone that would leave a lasting impression upon you or others. A person that has an eye for freedom and speaks truth to power. Sure I have read about the lives of Malcolm, Martin and other tremendously consequential freedom fighters. However, I had never met anyone who would later create and foster a movement that would threaten his life. That is until I befriended Arthur Mutambara.
Mutambara taught in the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, he specialized in Controls, more specifically Mechatronics. I believe he also taught Robotics as well. As part of my Mechanical Engineering undergrad curriculum, I had the great fortune to study Vibrations(or Vibes as many of us called it) under Mutambara. Prior to successfully completing that course, I thought P.I.D only pertained to Process ID. Boy, was I wrong :)
He certainly was not the conventional professor, in that he and I traded Tony Touch mixed-taped and talked about HipHop on regular basis. He offered me Tupac and Ras Kass, in turn I offered him KRS and Freddie Foxxx. We made sure that neither one of us fell into the media propagated East Coast vs. West Coast nonsense. At the time, I didn't realize that we were nearly the same age.
Early on I knew that he was an activist. I asked him what he thought about Cecil Rhodes, as Arthur was the only Zimbabwean that I had encountered that was also a Rhodes Scholar. Needless to say I got an earful and well deserved education. Arthur was very interested in the uplifting of the disenfranchised. Once I had learned that he was embroiled in the politics of his homeland, I knew that he would be a change agent. In fact, it was through his involvement that I became more interested in the developments of Zimbabwe. Mutambara has been critical of the African agenda and the leadership therein. He also takes issue with aftermath of post-colonial African development. Clearly he is calling people to task. I applaud his courage. Yes, also acknowledges the damages inflicted upon the motherland by Imperialism..
It was much later that I learned that his life was in danger, but I knew that he would not be bowed and would not retreat. These are the lessons that he instilled in his students. There is going to be a grassroots effort to help support Mutambara and his family during their time of need. Once the details are known, I will share the details here.