Monday, May 14, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Friday, February 10, 2012
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
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.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Etched in the depths of my being are the memories of April 1994. It was a monumentally memorable occasion for all South Africans. A change was taking place in our beautiful country. On the 27th of April, millions of South Africans from all walks of life queued for hours on end to vote in the country’s first democratic election, which saw Nelson Mandela becoming the first black President. While many anticipated a full-blown civil war, South Africa’s transition to democracy was a peaceful one, and now serves as a beacon of hope to the world. Prior to democracy, a system of legal racial segregation, called Apartheid, was in place whereby the ‘black’ majority were oppressed by the ‘white’ minority. During Apartheid, the worst kinds of human injustices were perpetrated. This system lasted almost half a century and gave birth to a range of problems which South African’s are still coming to terms with.
This is a stark contrast to what was taking place to the north of South Africa, in Rwanda. April 1994 for Rwandans was probably one of the darkest periods of their history during which the mass murder of 800 000 moderate Mahutu’s and Matutsi’s took place, and what is now referred to as the Rwandan Genocide. The trip to the Kigali Memorial Centre made me realise that a lot of comparisons could be drawn from the Rwandan genocide, and Apartheid. During Apartheid, a minority people oppressed a majority people, whereas during the Genocide, a majority people oppressed a minority people. People suffered the worst kinds of human injustices. At the end of it all, it was humans oppressing other humans. After both tragedies, reconciliation efforts were made through commissions to allow people the opportunity to share their experiences, to grieve, to hurt, to cry, to try and come to terms with things that happened, things they experienced and things they witnessed – and most importantly to forgive.
Sixteen years later, and many life lessons learnt, both South Africa, and Rwanda are on paths of recovery. As a South African, arriving in Kigali amidst the hustle and bustle, and sheer excitement of the Rwandan people at their presidential inauguration, there is no sense of there ever being genocide albeit through the recollections of people – unique in its own way, Kigali is growing on me. Rwandan people are very warm, and ever so helpful – and are willing to share their stories and experiences. The people I have met are truly inspiring and I am privileged to be a part of something so profoundly meaningful. We have, as South Africans, Rwandans, people, humans – experienced all sorts of conflict, and our challenges lie not only in our approaches to peaceful resolutions, but to also allow these experiences to change us, our perceptions, and attitudes in a positive way so that people can co-exist in a harmonious world, celebrating differences, and appreciating the gift of life.