Silencing the Guns in Africa

Last year on international peace day I was one of the people tweeting about peace from South Africa. I was part of the team of youth who were tasked with a youth agenda to spread the message of peace. We worked so hard that day, some of our colleagues were in Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Ethiopia. We tweeted, face booked and retweeted. However on the same day West gate mall in Kenya got attacked by Terrorists. I was shattered for days. All my tweets and peace messages immediately lost their meaning. I remember how a colleague from Nigeria and I were in awe of the incident. We couldn’t believe what just happened. How our flow of work got disturbed by what we stood against.

For hours the terrorist held people hostage, pictures of both police and children running around circulated. As this memory sank in my heart and mind I became more confused as to why would people wake up or spend days planning and training to attack a mall. What type of cowards do this. Plan such kind of deeds. Of course we could no longer talk about peace after that moment. We immediately forgot about our tweets and glued to our TV screen’s and social media to see if either people were going to be rescued or if at least justice was going to served. A year later it is international peace day. We have not forgotten about the West gate attack.

My heart still bleeds for those who lost their lives that day. I am not tweeting or spreading the messages of peace this year, but I have, a few days ago when I was in Kenya, made a commitment to myself, to my generation and to my continent that I will be part of the generation that vows to #SilenceTheGuns in Africa by 2020. This is #theAfricaWeWant to see. I will continue to do this through my advocacy, increasing youth participation, investing time to finding solutions to unemployment challenges and committing to nonviolent ways of solving conflict.

Be part of the movement #dgtrends let us all #SilenceTheGuns in Africa by 2020. A peaceful Africa for all1397722_911943225501860_6874642325763093388_o

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Its 20 Years after democracy and we still Love our Country…

Last year I was asked on a TV interview about what makes me proudly South Africa. My reply was “Loud Taxi drivers, Our National Anthem, Shosholoza and Boerewors”. This might indicate how loud people South Africans can be. But in different ways. The Taxi drivers, like to play loud music and speak everyone in a loud tone. They can be bullies at time and passengers often fight with them, but this is the first thing I miss when I am out of the country.We have gotten used to their loudness that we just dance along to the music they play.  I cannot imagine a South Africa with quiet and well behaved taxi drivers. I cannot even trace a little bit of that image in my head. 

Our National Anthem, I don’t think there is any other country in the world, that has four languages in its national anthem like we do. We embrace and celebrate the diversity in which we live in. We also a nation that loves to sing and everything starts and ends with a song. One of the song that unites us all is “Shosholoza” this song originated from Zimbabwe but was made popular in South Africa and we have made it our own. This is the one song that we all hug and sing together. We immediately forget about all differences we might have with one another when we sing this song. It always gives us that proudly South African moment and the hop our country carries. We sang this song over and over when we celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela.

Then my last response was “Boerewors”, boy we make the best sausages in the world. I am so confident about our sausages that when in Switzerland I order a sausage that I could not finish. I told the Swiss people that if they came to South Africa and tasted what we called Sausage they would never want to eat theirs anymore. That traditional South African meal of pap, wors and chakalaka is what makes me proudly South Africa. Every holiday we have in South Africa is an excuse for us to Braai. We love this part of our culture so much that some people make a decent living and huge profits from Braai and hangout spots. One of our most loved quick meal is a Boerewors roll. 

All these make me to be proudly South Africa. Freedom has allowed me to celebrate South Africa in a different way than the former generation did. They wanted what is best for this generation, they sacrificed a lot and I am proud to be a beneficiary of this existence. I am not saying we do not have problems in South Africa, of course we do. A lot of them from challenges in education, fighting HIV, high youth unemployment, and random racial comments that sneak in now and then. But, this blog is not about those but about a country that is united despite its challenges.

I think South Africa just like any other African country has been through a lot. Many lives were lost along the way to get us to where we are. Many of those lives wishes us a day where we will be able to cast our votes and decided the kind of leadership we want. The fight was obviously won as most of us even though we did not know who to vote for made our way to the voting stations. We proudly caste our votes and made conscious decisions to stand for our country. The number of political parties that were on the ballot paper also showed the richness of our country. All were represented from Christians to “I don’t care about religion”, to freedom fighters, old parties, new parties, to residents association, black, white, women and Indian parties, former inmates, intellectuals and non academics also had representatives, all we had to go and do was vote for the one that represented us more. Most of us did and others felt that we should make a decision on their behalf and they enjoyed the hard fought for holiday.

Today I sat with a group of friends all supporting different organizations as we waited for the announcement of the elections. Firstly we all agreed that the Elections were free and fair. And the beauty in which South Africa handles elections is amazing. We differed and now we shake hands and say “see you in the next round”. We laugh and share jokes about each other and our campaigns. I think the way we carry ourselves would make Kwame Nkrumah smile. I believe this is one of the things he fought for. South Africa is truly a peaceful country. A country where the citizens call they president JZee and make jokes about him all the time. Where the President has a sense of humour, loves to sing and dance and people love that about him. A country where citizens go to the street and demand that the president himself must come address them. A country that is always awake to injustice and are ready to talk to each about it. A country where people will scream and make noise when they feel like they are not heard. A country where we can all wear different colours but still willing to speak to each other.We occasionally write open letters to one another and we think its funny, some don’t understand, but “that is how we roll”. We all very opinionated and will seek a place and platform to express ourselves at. Regardless of who says what about who they still at end of day share a drink together. Whether Black, White, Indian, Coloured or any other race, we all stand for South Africa and for each other more than against one another. As a family we fight sometimes, but at the end of day we care for each other and we care for our country.

We are a country that is full of possibilities. We have caste our votes and chose our leadership now we need to work together to take South Africa unto celebrating a 100 years of democracy. Let us all buy into the South African dream and the African dream at large. A dream which seeks to have a continent that is prosperous and at peace with itself. A continent that will have countries that are united in their diversity. I am proud to be South African and living in this country that celebrates 20 years of the freedom. I country that says we have not forgotten what happened and we will not allow ourselves to go back there. I am proud to say I am South African.

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In Memory of Madiba: Quotes from the Life of a Struggle Hero

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who died on 5th December 2013 served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalized racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.

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From being a young man, to being a student, to being an activist, to being a politician, to being a President, to being a leader, a father of a nation and a comrade, he has always been inspirational.

Read this quotes as if they are advises from him.

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” Nelson Mandela

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.” Nelson Mandela

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” Nelson Mandela

“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.” Nelson Mandela

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” Nelson Mandela

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela

“Appearances matter — and remember to smile.” Nelson Mandela

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“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela

“I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth, but a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people. There was no particular day on which I said, Henceforth I will devote myself to the liberation of my people; instead, I simply found myself doing so, and could not do otherwise.” Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.” Nelson Mandela

“I shall stick to our vow: never, never under any circumstances, to say anything unbecoming of the other…The trouble, of course, is that most successful men are prone to some form of vanity. There comes a stage in their lives when they consider it permissible to be egotistic and to brag to the public at large about their unique achievements.” Nelson Mandela, Conversations With Myself

“A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle,and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor.At a point, one can only fight fire with fire” Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his kin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite.” Nelson Mandela

“overcoming fear, personal scarifies for the cause of freedom of all, and ability to see good in your enemies – No one is born hating another person because of the color of your skin, or his background, or his religion … if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.” Nelson Mandelamandela(R)+(1)

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Invictus: The Poem that Inspired Mandela

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As we remember the life of this remarkable man. May you be inspired by him and what inspired him as well. Invictus is a poem that kept Mandela inspired through the years that he was in prison. This poem was written on a piece of paper in his prison cell. He read and drew strength from it.

This Poem titled “Invictus” was written by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). “Henley, at the age of 12 contracted tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated when he was 17. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.”

I hope you draw strength from this poem in whatever situation you can ever come across. The last part of this poem says “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Be brave and go be change, remember servant leadership is what we should strive for.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley

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Rest In Peace our Beloved Madiba

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“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” ~ Nelson Mandela 1996

It is quiet clear that as South Africans we were never gonna be ready for this day. The world is also in shock. The nation gathers in groups in confusion not knowing whether to celebrate or mourning the life of this heroic man. Condolences are pouring out from all over the world. This man has touched many lives.

South Africa has lost a father, a son, a healer and rock to many people. We will always remember his love for humanity, his humility, his sacrificial heart and his passion for unity. This great man identified his struggle and fought for it till the end. Now it is up to us to take the candle that has been switched on and keep shining it. We are to continue fighting for peace, for unity and for the values that Madiba has fought for.

May the vision and the strength of this man be seen in our works. May we go beyond just having a Mandela day but we be inspired to continue the Mandela legacy. Let us keep striving for a better world and let us not rest until we achieve it. To all the South Africa may God be with you in this time of mourning, be strong and keep fighting for what Mandela fought for. Make it your struggle.

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To uTata Madiba, thank you for all you have done for us. Thank you for inspiring us. May you enjoy your time as you get reunited with your other family. I can only imagine what you are saying to ubaba Sisulu, Albert Lethuli, Anton Lembethe, Robert Sobukwe, Oliver Thambo and the others that you spent most of your time with as you all fought for the struggle.

To the family, may you just watch the nation smile, chant and remember this man who you had borrowed to us for a while and you will see that he lives on forever. Many years to come he will still be leaving and shining in our hearts.

Hamba Kahle Tata, Hamba Kahle Mkonto We Sizwe.

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