Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nelson Rolihlalahla Mandela

Nelson Rolihlalahla Mandela (born July 18, 1918) was the first president of South Africa to be elected in a fully-representative democratic elections.

Before his presidency, Mandela was a prominent anti-apartheid activist and leader of the African Nation Congress (ANC)and was sentenced to life imprisonment for sabotage after he went underground and began the ANC's armed struggle.

Through his 27 years in prison, much of it spent on a cell in Robben Island, Mandela became the most widely known figure in the struggle against apartheid. Among opponents of apartheid in South Africa and internationally, he became a cultural icon of freedom and equality. However, the apartheid government and nations sympathetic to it condemned him and the ANC as communists and terrorists and he became a figure of hatred among many South African whites, supporters of the apartheid and opponents of the ANC.

Following his release from prison in 1990, his switch to a policy of reconciliation and negotiation helped lead the transition to multi-racial democracy in South Africa. Since the end of the apartheid, he has been widely praised, even among white South Africans and his opponents.

Like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela can also be looked up to as an excellent writer of social commentary. Through his excellent command of the English language, Nelson Mandela was able to pass his messages across to many South Africans and many people world wide.

Here is Nelson Mandela's New Speech for the year 1998:

Good evening! Thobela!
Ke a le dumedisa!
Ri perile!
Ndi Madekwana!

As 1997 draws to a close, South Africa faces a future filled with both challenge and hope.

If the early years of our democracy brought celebration of our very freedom and common humanity; if these first three years of freedom meant the outpouring of national pride in the prowess of our sporting teams, in our new constitution and more; then this past year has been one in which slowly but surely, we are all coming to better appreciate the difficulties of change, as well as the sweat and toil required to improve our lives and forge out unity as a nation.

At a time when some of the most vibrant economies in the world have been buffeted by storms, we have performed relatively well. this encourages us to join hands with a new determination - as big and small business, as government and society at large - to create more jobs.

We are proud that the numbers of people gaining access to basic services grow in thousands by the day. Water, electricity, sanitation and health-care have reached communities for whom they were but a dream. Our children now entering school will never know the painful burden of racial education.

South Africans have never been so united in their determination to deal with crime. The syndicates are being uncovered and a life of crime is becoming more and more uncomfortable. Steadily, the holes in the criminal justice system are being plugged. For this modest achievement, law-abiding citizens and members of the security forces alike deserve our congratulations.

While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is taking us on a difficult journey, it is one that has helped us understand our painful past. Incomplete and imperfect as the process may be, it shall leave us less burdened by the past and unshackled to pursue a glorious future.

Though we take rightful pride in these achievements, we know that they are only a start. We know that the number of people reached in service delivery are not nearly enough; the quality still needs much improvement; the crime rate is still too high; and the divisions of the past still play themselves out in many areas. We know that our tasks will take years to complete.

For our country to succeed requires the combined efforts of all of us, in all walks of life. It requires all spheres of government, not least at local level, to fulfil the trust which citizens have placed in them.

For us all, therefore, the new year must be one in which each and every one of us shares the responsibility for building on the foundation that has been laid.

Our achievements so far have shown what can be done when we set aside petty differences and together pursue the common good.

By working together we can build the South Africa of our dreams

I wish you all a happy, prosperous and ful
Publish Post
filling New Year.

God bless South Africa!

Many more of Nelson Mandela's speeches can be found here. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr

Photo Compliments:,_Jr._and_Lyndon_Johnson.jpg

Many people remember Martin Luther King as an activist, a civil rights movement leader or even a baptist minister. Hardly ever is Martin Luther King Jr remembered as a great writer, although one of his speeches, 'I have a Dream', is still so frequently recalled. Additionally, Martin Luther King's work is quoted on several occasions.

King was educated in the fields of sociology and philosophy and his knowledge of these two areas were well reflected in his writings. His role as a baptist minister was also shown as many of his speeches were written in a sermon-like fashion. Martin Luther King's command of the English language was very good which made his speeches very compelling; his speeches today being recognized among history's great statements of human rights.

King's speeches have been praised for their emotional power and widespread appeal. However, these speeches have been criticized to lack concrete solutions for the social, political and economical problems that they highlighted.

Among his most popular works are: I Have a Dream speech, Why We Can't Wait (1964), Where Do We Go From Here(1967), Stride Toward Freedom(1958) and Letter From Birmingham City Jail.

I Have A Dream
Martin Luther King Jr

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Read the Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham City here.

Get Martin Luther King Jr Quotes here.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is recognized in his honour on the 18th of January.


Friday, January 1, 2010


Photo Compliments:

Aesop was a slave and storyteller who lived in Ancient Greece between 620 and 560 B.C. He is best known, and well remembered for his fables. A fable is s a story, in prose or verse, that features animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities), and that illustrates a moral lesson, which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim. In his lifetime, Aesop told many of these, which were later written and compiled into what we now know as Aesop's fables or Aesopica. These fables are commonly use to teach and instill values and morals and are especially used for children. Below is a copy of one of Aesop's Fables.

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

A man and his wife had the good fortune to possess a goose which laid a golden egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it. Then, they thought, they could obtain the whole store of precious metal at once; however, upon cutting the goose open, they found its innards to be like that of any other goose.

More about Aesop's Fables can be read here.
You can find an online collection of Aesop's fables here. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------