Skins

We Lost a Friend

He was “the man”. The one that stood straight, looking at adversity in the eye until the last breathe

Words and Images by Icarus Blake
Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

I’ve been to South Africa once, long after apartheid was gone. I was constantly warned to be careful walking around, to avoid the “bad” parts of town. And, of course, that is exactly where I hung around. I never felt like I was in any kind of danger. People were curious and welcoming, but they were also very poor and still very isolated. Apparently the disparity between rich and poor is greater now than it was under apartheid. Numbers are numbers, but the struggle is still palpable. The majority of the country has still no access to the basic services provided by a true democracy. Good education is still for the elite, access to good health care is a dream for the few.

I asked about Mandela, candidly, in dingy bars and public parks. People never answered immediately; there was always a thoughtful pause. But the eventual answer was always overwhelmingly positive. Mandela was their friend. They spoke of him as if he was part of their families. The good uncle that would come to visit at the weekend, always bearing gifts for the kids. The wise grandfather who would always have the right answer.

The big South African dream of freedom and equality was still in the making, but no one I spoke to felt Mandela was to blame for the failure. He was beyond judgment. He was “the man”. The one that stood straight, looking at adversity in the eye until the last breathe. In a twisted way, I envy South Africans. They have had one of the last true heroes of our times as a leader. They’ve learnt that true pride comes with a high cost, but that, regardless, it’s always worth fighting for.

No public figure has taught me this in my lifetime. I look back at the leaders and politicians that had influence in my country… and it is a very sad story. I only received lessons in greed, corruption, weakness and self-interest. Big words never backed up by the truth. South Africa is, to me, a blessed country. One that will eventually defeat all odds, because they had Nelson Mandela, and we didn’t.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

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Icarus Blake & Max Power: Editors in Chief
Lora Wiley: Managing Editor
Teo J. Babini: Senior Editor
Greta Pininfarina: Fashion Director
Miko Sala: Art Director
Tiffany Credle: Senior Publishing Editor
Daniel Cardona: Graphic Designer
Luigi Scarcella: Graphic Illustrator
Matt Heidkamp: Editorial Producer and eCommerce Manager
Nancy Cooper: Finance Supervisor
ePublished by Kodezero NYC
Tech Supervision: developing.it
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Contributors to this issue:

Hans Berlin/Hot Buns Delivered
Born in the Southern part of Germany (where the hills are alive with the Sound of Music). Worked in the Entertainment industry all over Europe before coming to New York in 2002 to study acting. Moved to LA to work as a legit actor. I got really frustrated with Hollywood, made a drastic career change and started working in the Adult Film industry in the summer of 2012

Joe Sonnenblick/You Get so Low You Can Taste Your Shoes (Merry Christmas)
Joe Sonnenblick is an actor and writer, has studied under the tutelage of New York’s dope fiends, pushers, vagrants and women. Thanks to coffee and pot.
jsonnenblick@gmail.com

Filippo ‘Phil Sick’ Anniballi/It is Christmas Every Day in Hell
Italian writer, journalist, and performer, born in 1976. Grew up in New York, and lived between Italy, the U.S., England, and Canada. His stories and essays have appeared in underground magazines such as Thorazine, Catastrophe, and Vice Magazine. He worked for the Big Issue, and published Milingo Contro Tutti (2009), which was GQ Italy’s book of the month in July of the same year. He often appears in projects and short films (turbofilms) by Alterazioni Video impersonating himself and other dubious characters.
frankymachine@hotmail.com

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