Statement on the Transition of Nehanda Isoke Abiodun
From the New Afrikan People’s Organization
January 30, 2019
Carry on the traditions of principled struggle. Carry it on now” - Nehanda Isoke Abiodun
The New Afrikan Independence Movement and the world-wide anti-imperialist movement has lost a powerful soldier, comrade, and sister. Our comrade, Nehanda Isoke Abiodun, a founding cadre member of the New Afrikan People’s Organization (NAPO) and an Organizer for the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) died the early morning of January 30, 2019. She was living in exile in Havana, Cuba where she resided for over 30 years representing our struggle to the Cuban people and the international community.
Nehanda lived among the grassroots people in her small Havana community organizing, educating, and mentoring Cuban youth, as well as scores of young New Afrikans (African-Americans) who traveled to Cuba for educational purposes; to gain medical education; or simply learn more about the Cuban Revolution.
Nehanda became known as the ‘Godmother’ of Cuban Hip Hop because of her influence and encouragement of young Cuban rappers, and hip-hop artists who were creating a uniquely Cuban hip-hop culture. She connected young local artists, with the support of the New York Chapter of the MXGM, to young rising New Afrikan artists from the USA - such as Jay Z, Dead Prez, Common, Zayd Malik, and Mos Def. They were introduced to the Cuban revolution through MXGM Black August Hip-Hop Conferences.
In the spirit of Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara, Nehanda was a true anti-imperialist and internationalist who steadfastly supported her adopted home Cuba, while whole heartedly defending the national liberation struggle of her own nation, New Afrika, against the settler colonial US Empire.
Mama Nehanda was also a New Afrikan Womanist. She was a co-founder of the New Afrikan Women’s Organization which preceded the New Afrikan Women’s Task Force of NAPO before exile. In Cuba she organized three international women’s conferences co-sponsored by the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) and the New Afrikan Women’s Task Force (NAWTF). This allowed Revolutionary New Afrikan Nationalist women to exchange ideas and discuss mutual support for the struggles of New Afrikan women and Cuban women. She facilitated the invitation of the New Afrikan Women’s Task Force to be panelist at two International Women’s conferences in Cuba to represent the New Afrikan independence movement and New Afrikan women.
Nehanda introduced New Afrikan revolutionary culture to the international community of young people who constantly flowed into Cuba. She initiated an annual “Anti-Imperialist” Thanks-Giving Dinner, inviting expatriates, exiles, and community people. She conducted tours and taught political education classes, which encouraged scores of youth to stand in support of the New Afrikan Independence Movement and revolutionary internationalist struggles. She also organized an annual Kwanzaa celebration for the community and she continuously engaged international representatives, journalists, and scholars who visited Cuba.
Even before her exile, and before becoming a cadre of NAPO and an Organizer for MXGM, Mama Nehanda was a Government worker for the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PGRNA) and served as editor of its newspaper The New Afrikan. Comrade-Sister Nehanda also was a worker for the National Black Human Rights Coalition, a pre-formation for NAPO and she helped organize the NBHRC mobilization of 5,000 people to the United Nations in November 1979 three days after the Black Liberation Army liberated Sister Assata Shakur from prison.
Nehanda, was forced into exile from her home after being charged along with her friend and comrade Dr. Mutulu Shakur for their alleged involvement in the 1979 liberation of Assata Shakur as well as the 1981 expropriation of a Brinks truck in Nyack, New York. The US Government claims this was carried out in support of freedom schools, political organizing and developing revolutionary institutions. Despite being forced underground, she continued her revolutionary work and commitment to the New Afrikan people.
Despite being isolated from her family, she continued her revolutionary work, and commitment to New Afrikan people. She is the finest example of what Baba Chokwe Lumumba, the late Chairperson of NAPO, taught. She had a great love for the people because she understood, as Chokwe said, “If you don’t love the people, sooner of later you’re going to betray the people”. Nehanda Isoke Abiodun loved New Afrikan people and served the New Afrikan Nation to her death.
Long Live the Revolutionary Spirit of Nehanda!