Happy birthday Tata Madiba!

 

Mandela day_blog

Today South Africa, and the rest of the world, celebrates #MadibaDay, the birthday of former president Nelson Mandela. It is commemorated by donating 67 minutes, the amount of years Tata spent sacrificing his life towards the struggle for democracy, in aid of goodwill. This year we celebrate the first Madiba Day without him. He would have turned 96 today.

In honour of this great man I’d like to share a poem of late South African poet, Ingrid Jonker. I have studied some of Jonker’s poetry in the past and although her work mirrored that of a dark, deeply troubled soul, it was also very profound. She was talented beyond her years. Jonker committed suicide by walking into the sea at Three Anchor Bay. She was 31 years old.

The significance of this particular poem, Die kind is nie dood nie (The child is not dead), is that Nelson Mandela read it, in the original Afrikaans (nogal!), during his address at the opening of the first democratic parliament in South Africa, on 24 May 1994.

Of Jonker, Madiba reportedly said : “She was both a poet and a South African. She was both an Afrikaner and an African. She was both an artist and a human being. In the midst of despair, she celebrated hope. Confronted by death, she asserted the beauty of life.”

I will include the English version of the poem at the bottom for my non-Afrikaans followers.

Enjoy! xoxo
Die kind is nie dood nie –  Ingrid Jonker

Die kind is nie dood nie
die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy moeder
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur van vryheid en heide
in die lokasies van die omsingelde hart

Die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy vader
in die optog van die generasies
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur
van geregtigheid en bloed
in die strate van sy gewapende trots

Die kind is nie dood nie
nòg by Langa nòg by Nyanga
nòg by Orlando nòg by Sharpville
nòg by die polisiestasie in Philippi
waar hy lê met ‘n koeël deur sy kop

Die kind is die skaduwee van die soldate
op wag met gewere sarasene en knuppels
die kind is teenwoordig by alle vergaderings en wetgewings
die kind loer deur die vensters van huise en in die harte
van moeders
die kind wat net wou speel in die son by Nyanga is orals
die kind wat ‘n man geword het trek deur die ganse Afrika
die kind wat ‘n reus geword het reis deur die hele wêreld

Sonder ‘n pas

 

The child is not deadIngrid Jonker

The child is not dead
The child lifts his fists against his mother
Who shouts Afrika ! shouts the breath
Of freedom and the veld
In the locations of the cordoned heart

The child lifts his fists against his father
in the march of the generations
who shouts Afrika ! shout the breath
of righteousness and blood
in the streets of his embattled pride

The child is not dead not at Langa nor at Nyanga
not at Orlando nor at Sharpeville
nor at the police station at Philippi
where he lies with a bullet through his brain

The child is the dark shadow of the soldiers
on guard with rifles Saracens and batons
the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings
the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks through all Africa

the child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world
Without a pass

 

My love affair with quotes

Success_qoute

Initially, the idea with this blog was to share my photography with the world, but I’m afraid my love for writing is getting the better of me, so please bear with me. I will try to spice things up a little with a bit of writing inbetween the gorgeous pics.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with quotes. My love for quotes and the English language is synonymous in that I have fallen in love with both around the same time, which, if memory serves me right, was around eighth grade (yes, I’m a bit of a late bloomer, but a bloomer nonetheless). My love for English can largely be attributed to one reason only; my eighth grade English teacher. Miss Titus was a 30-something, (mostly) single lady who was beautiful, daring and could pronounce the most eloquent English words from our prescribed textbook, The Battle of Bubble and Squeak. I could listen to her readings for hours.

One of the very first quotes that stuck in my head was one that was plastered onto Miss Titus’s classroom wall. It read; “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” I saw that quote every single day for an entire year. It was difficult to miss. The quote, just like the English language, slowly tiptoed into my heart and before I knew it, I was head over heels.

However, the quote that I’ve adored above all other, the one I have lived by for many years, I came across while working as a barista at Starbucks in Chestnut Hill, Boston, US in 2003. It was on a big poster against the wall at the top of the stairs and you simply couldn’t miss it. After cashing up your till downstairs, following a long day on your feet behind the espresso machine, it was the one thing that made the voyage up the stairs a little bit more bearable.  It was one of those quotes that once you’ve read it, you’d never forget it, and so I never did. It read: “Winning is not everything, it’s the only thing.” It was a quote by Vince Lombardi and it was only many years later that I discovered who he was.

I loved that quote since the first time I laid my two tired eyes on it. I knew then and there, that I was going to win. I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I knew one way or another, that to me too, winning was “the only thing”.

I suppose telling a 22-year old Starbucks employee that “winning is the only thing”, can be a bit depressing especially since you are still trying to make sense of the world and figure out where you fit in. And yes, of course I had the occasional depressing day, but mostly it inspired me to keep going and to never give up. And that is exactly what I did. It is for that very reason that I have lived by this quote and will continue to do so for all my days.

There are three historical figures whom I admire for their quotes, their sense of humour and their wit; the authors Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain and the previous British Prime Minster, Winston Churchill. Google their quotes. It’ll be worth your while, I promise. Below I will share ten of my favourite quotes with you…

1)      “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – (the great) Albert Einstein

2)      Let a man lose everything else in the world but his enthusiasm and he will come through again to success.” H. W. Arnold

3)      “Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love.”Khalil Gibran

4)      “Pay no attention to critics. No statue has ever been erected in honour of a critic.” – Jean Sibelius

5)      Nothing is out of the question for me. I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up in the morning and see the light… Then I’m grateful.”Miles Davis

6)      “I’m the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”Muhammad Ali

7)      “Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”Norman Peale

8)      “I’ve put my heart and my soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process.”Vincent van Gogh

9)      “There is a vision for my life that is greater than my imagination can hold.” – (of course I had to add) Oprah Winfrey

10)   “Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.”Paulo Coelho

 

Okay, ten proved to be too great a task, I simply have too many …so I’ll just add ten more… That’s it. Promise.

11)   “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”Tata Nelson Mandela

12)   “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”Mark Twain

13)   “Don’t let your schooling interfere with your education.”Mark Twain

14)   “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”Thomas Edison

15)   “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

16)   “I’m so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”Oscar Wilde

17)   “I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.”Oscar Wilde

18)   “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.”Ayn Rand

19)   “I love talking about nothing… It is the only thing I know anything about.”Oscar Wilde

20) “I put all my genius into my life; I put only talent into my works.”Oscar Wilde