Tag Archives: South Africa

South Africa’s Hero Dies at 95 Years Old

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Today the world joins together to remember and highlight one of Africa’s greatest heroes, Nelson Rolihahla Mandela. According to BBC Africa, South African president Jacob Zuma announced that the former president and anti-apartheid revolutionary passed away peacefully in the company of his family in his home in Johannesburg around 8:50 this evening Dec. 5th. He was 95 years old.

Mandela, 95, led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison. President Obama acknowledged Nelson Mandela, stating that he was one of the most “influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth”.

Since I was a child Nelson Mandela was always much more than an icon. He was a hero, teacher, fighter and most importantly a leader who gave inspiration to many.

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South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Turns 95

Nelson M.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”  – Nelson Mandela

Even though I was born in Eritrea and grow-up in America, I have found that you cannot remain untouched by the amazing Mandela. Historically known as one of the most influential icons of African history, Nelson Mandela is fighting the ultimate battle for his life today, physically. However, even in his weakest moment he still has the power to influence and bring people of different backgrounds and races together. Mandela’s legacy will always remain as important a chapter of Africa till the end of times.

Even during President Obama’s recent visit to South Africa, Obama stayed in the Rainbow Nation. His stay also included a visit to Robbon Islands, where Nelson Mandela spent years as a prisoner of the Apartheid regime of erstwhile, White South Africa.

Regardless of his life of struggle and hardship, Madiba developed a great sense of humanity. Although I have never met Mandela in person, his leadership, determination and drive he has left a great mark on my thoughts, and inspires me to continue to be a voice for the African Diaspora. As people around the world celebrate Mandela’s 95th birthday, I will pray for his health and hope for more Mandela’s around the world.


Must Read Books by African Authors

In case your wonder where have I been lately, I’ve been reading great books by African authors and I’ve now collected a great list. Here’s my top picks, enjoy!

 1

Diaries of a Dead African – Chuma Nwokolo 

This book, told through two generations, tells the story of how rumors, envy and caring about what others said influenced the way the Jumais lived their lives.               

                                                     

2

Arrow of Godd – Chinua Achebe 

This book is set in the 1920’s, before secularism became dominant. I enjoyed reading this book because I felt it did a great outlook about the conflict between generation, old and new traditions, and the impact of colonialism on African tribal communities.

3

Is it Coz I’m Black? – Ndumiso Ngcobo  

This book draws no border line when it comes to color and what it means to be apartheid. This is a must read for anyone who is inspired to know more about South Africa.

4

Happiness is a Four-Letter Word – Cynthia Jele    

I enjoyed reading this book and it reminded me of an African version of sex and the city. Jele covers the challenges of friendships and relationships of four ladies who are in search of happiness.

5

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin

This is my favorite book so far and completely blew my mind when I read it. This book is about a polygamous family that is not aware they will be imploded. The fourth wife, Bolanle, has not conceived a child in two years of marriage, thus setting in motion the unraveling of the lives of everyone in the house.  I don’t want to reveal too much but the wives in this novel are so unpredictable.

 Other great books I plan to read by African authors:

The Stone Virgins – Yvonne Vera
When Rain Clouds Gather – Bessie Head
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah
Black Diamond/Ways of Dying – Zakes Mda
Men of the South – Zukiswa Wanner
Who Fears Death – Nnedi Okorafor
On Black Sisters’ Street – Chika Unigwe
Underground People – Lewis Nkosi
Waiting for the Rain – Charles Mungoshi
A Simple Lust – Dennis Brutus
The Setting Sun and the Rolling World – Charles Mungoshi
Walking with Shadows – Jude Dibia
Wife of the Gods – Kwei Quartey


A Move Towards Gender Equality in South Africa

Yep, there is finally some good news going on in Africa this week. South African President Jacob Zuma-led Cabinet approved the Women Empowerment and Gender Quality Draft Bill for publication in the Government Gazette for public comment Wednesday.

The draft Bill seeks to:

  • Provide the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities with the necessary authority to monitor, review and oversee gender mainstreaming and integration of gender equality considerations into all programmes of government and other sectors;
  • Promote the protection and advancement of women as envisaged in section 9 (2) of the Constitution.

During the launch of Women’s Month, Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana explained how the bill will empower women.  “South Africa has some of the most progressive policies on the the empowerment of women and gender parity. This will set guidelines on how woman should be empowered,” she said.

Xingwana also points that the biggest challenge is in the implementation of these policies. The Bill is reported to be published on the Government Gazette this week and the public will have 30 days to submit their comments. I am curious to see how the Bill will play out over the next several months, and hope this Gender Equality Bill empowers other African nations to do the same.


A Day Dedicated To Africa

Whenever I hear the word Africa I automatically think of kids laughing, celebrations, and nature at its purist. After twenty five posts on Africa’s Heartbeat, I am excited to talk about and celebrate Africa Day!

Africa Day is celebrated world-wide on May 25th in aims to recognize African diversity and success and to highlight the cultural and economic potential that exists on the African continent.  On May 25, 1963 30 out of the 32 leaders from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) came together and signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

I look at Africa Day as a way to unite African countries and try to move away from the colonialism mindset that Africa experienced for centuries. As the Diaspora of Africa we should also step back and evaluate Africa as a whole. Although we have improved in many ways, we still have many more goals to reach. We should continue to motivate, educate and support one another .

According to UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, “Each year, Africa Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the peoples and governments of Africa and to reaffirm the support of the United Nations for their efforts to build a better future. The United Nations commends Africa’s recent efforts to consolidate its peace and security architecture, and to reject unconstitutional changes of power. We will continue to work with Africa in building durable peace, ending armed conflicts, boosting democracy, and promoting respect for fundamental human rights, especially the rights of women and youth.”

This year’s Africa Day theme is “Africa and the Diaspora.” No matter where you are, I encourage you to celebrate, dance, and eat. The following places around the world that will be holding events in honor of Africa Day all weekend long.

Africa Day in Dublin

Africa Day in South Africa

Africa Day in Washington, DC 

Africa Day in Los Angeles

“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.” -Nelson Mandela


Looking at the Pan-African Experience From a Different View

My documentary pick of the week is The Pan- African Experience. Director of Morehouse Leadership Center, Dr. Walter Earl Fluker and his team took six seniors Morehouse students on a service learning mission to look at the relationship between poverty and HIV/AIDs within Africa. A renaissance man with a social conscience is the theme Dr. Fluker tries to implement into the trip by taking the group of young men to different communities and come out with strategies they can take back to the states and gain a deeper understanding of the issue. The mission starts in Twsane, South Africa where the men went to an orphanage of kids with HIV/AIDS whom  parents have banded at young age.
Everyday these men visit different communities and events varying from clinics, radio shows to Nelson Mandela’s cell and NGOs. What stuck out to me the most while watching this film was a comment Founder/Director of Tebogo Trust, Jose Bright said:
“I think it is critical that our children see people that look like them but sound differently and are part of a diaspora of Africans. I also find that it is re-informing when we interact with young people from Morehouse and other parts of the world from other organizations, that our children are not becoming xenophobic when they interact with other people of color. The content is going through dramatic change, if you look at the democracies that have came into the African content over the last 10-15 years, we’ve seen new democracies come in and we’ve seen lost of culture to a certain degree and our children are starting to assimilate to a western pyridine. We find it very critical for our children to never lose contact with their identity, culture, and language. And also cope in a modern changing inviorment like this.”
Another reason for the Pan-African Experience is learn the role(s)  the African Diaspora plays in creating a better world. Dr. Fluker talks about ‘The American Dilemma’  an Ideological staple of African American existence of who ‘we’ are since the arrival into America. Dr. Fluker also speaks about how African Americans within the diaspora move beyond the struggle and not just look at what it means to be an African American, but how to be a better human. One way a person can do this is by visiting Africa to ask deep rooted questions and figuring out what constitutes good humanity. Now I’m ready to hop on a plane and visit South Africa!
Here is a link to documentary  The Pan-African Experience  

 


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