A bishop from Botswana in his “farewell letter” recalled meeting and befriending George Floyd and his family on a visit to the US.
They’ve met in the early 1990s at a baseball game in Pittsburgh, when Floyd was on a trip there.
Floyd was brutally killed on May 25 after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police during an arrest. Video of his death triggered protests and riots in the United States.
In his letter he addresses Floyd directly: “You came wearing blue jeans, T-shirt, a cap on, holding a huge paper cup filled with Coke in one hand and a bag of popcorn in the other. … We got to chatting and become friends.”
Nubuasah remembers Floyd’s “very infectious smile.”
“It was as if the coronavirus learned from you how to infect people,” the bishop joked.
“Your heart was very big and accommodated people. It was always OK with you to reach out to one more person. Yes, you would run a mile for anyone.”
“Your distinctive features are a large nose and thick lips; very African traits. I know, you always reminded me that you are not African but African American. Both backgrounds were important for you, and you did not want to lose any. You were standing solidly with both feet in two traditions. Between these feet of yours was a lot of water called the Atlantic Ocean. You never got to cross it,” the bishop wrote.
“My heart is heavy as I sit in my prayer corner to write you this missive, knowing well that others will read it but you will not. We humans, through a representative of ours, made sure that your eyes were closed and would not open again, but your eyes will remain forever, seeing the fire you started at death.”
“The revolution that your sacrificial death inspired and the new movements and alliances against racism, classism and discrimination are growing. You lit a fire that is burning for peace and change,” Nubuasah wrote.
“So, my friend, when you hear the chant, ‘Yes, we can,’ know that we are doing it in your name and for you. Gone, but very much here! On the mother continent we would call you ‘the living dead.’ Right now, I am angry because I am human and never thought humans can stoop so low”.
“I had suggested that you attend the Pan-African cultural festival … in Ghana, and then come over to beautiful Botswana to visit with me,” he wrote. “I was going to take you see wildlife in their natural habitat, not a zoo. You were to visit a cattle post and a ‘masimo’ (plowing field), and enjoy our coveted delicacy of pounded meat, ‘seswaa.’”
“I will miss you George. You can now breathe eternally the breath of love. Rest in Peace,” he concluded.