Tag Archives: South Africa

Happy birthday, Nelson Mandela!

This year brings Nelson Mandela‘s 94th birthday: 18 July 2012

To celebrate this day, the UN and the Nelson Mandela Foundation invites us to give 67 minutes to help others as a way to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day.

For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.

Find 67 ideas for marking Nelson Mandela International Day. You can add your own.

Register your activity for the day.

Learn about activities and events that are already planned.

Like Nelson Mandela International Day on Facebook.

In November 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 18 July of each year as “Nelson Mandela International Day.” The day recognizes the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

Giving thanks for Nelson Mandela’s life and witness, may we follow his example on 18 July – and may we make every day a Mandela day when we serve one another.

See you along the Trail.



Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

A worthy answer

Tracker, the movie of the night, involves Ray Winstone chasing Temuera Morrison across the beauty that is New Zealand. Winstone’s character, a Boer from South Africa, has emigrated after the Boer War. Morrison’s character, a Māori, stands accused of murder.

A detachment of New Zealand soldiers chase Winstone and Morrision. Some of the soldiers fought in the Boer War and witnessed the atrocities of that war. Some did not. In a conversation, one of the soldiers who served says to one of the soldiers who did not:

Just be sure that, when your children ask you what you did, what you did in defense of the realm, you are able to give them a worthy answer.

Sound advice.

Yet it seems to me that this version of the quote provides pretty sound advice to us all in any situation: “Just be sure that, when your others ask you what you did, you are able to give them a worthy answer.”

See you along the Trail.

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One fine day

Aoraki/Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in N...

Image via Wikipedia

I am watching Tracker. The film is set in New Zealand. That is why it appeared in my queue.

The story focuses on Ray Winstone, a Boer, who migrates from South Africa to New Zealand after the war with England during which his family perished. When he arrives in New Zealand, members of the military who served in South Africa recognize him.

Winstone’s character, is soon (immediately) pressed into service as a tracker (hence the title). He is hired to track down a Maori accused of murder and played by Temuera Morrison.

The film explores the interactions between the two men. Winstone and Morrison give strong performances. But New Zealand steals the show.

Incredible scenery. Incredible beauty. One fine day . . .

See you along the Trail.

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Children laughed and smiled

In a place,
a place like too many others,
where poverty stalks the streets,
grinding the people in its deadly embrace,
children laughed and smiled at me today.
Guguletu Township
Cape Town, South Africa

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“Jump,” he said.

His khakis neatly pressed,
the white man held the copper coin
just above the outstretched fingers
of the small black child
whose ragged jeans flapped in the breeze
as he vainly sought
to reach the treasure.
“Jump,” they say.
Suffocating in affluence,
they hold up meager morsels –
paltry offerings, contingent upon their whims –
to sisters and brothers in need,
forcing them into games they do not understand
to obtain the pittance
which may allow them to survive.
“Jump,” we say.
The rich, the powerful, the strong:
unwilling to challenge the status quo
seeking not justice
which recognizes relatedness
and brings enlivening co-equality
but offering only the charity
which demeans, denies, degrades.

8 September – 10 September, 2001

 Pinetown, South Africa and Louisville

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Fragments from the past

For better or for worse, you can be the judge, I will be posting some older material over the next few weeks – pieces written some time ago but never posted.

Because this involves importing existing files, there may be formatting issues. Dates may not be precise; locations may be unclear.

Many of the pieces were written in the Southwest; some during trips to South Africa; others in places I have forgotten. All are fragments from the past.

See you along the Trail.

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Keep on walking

Before he could be elected president, Nelson Mandela had to be freed. Or perhaps I should say, before he could be elected president, Nelson Mandela’s body had to be freed. His body may have been imprisoned, his spirit and his soul never were.

Twenty-nine years ago today, Nelson Mandela’s long walk involved physical steps from Victor-Verster Prison. That walk had begun years before when he committed himself to working for justice and peace. That walk continued through years spent in captivity. That walk continued outside of prison in leadership of his party and his country and all the people of South Africa. That walk continues in those who are inspired by his example of grace and nonviolence and forgiveness and vision and inclusion and who work for peace and justice in Soweto and Gaza and Manila and Louisville and Barranquilla and Yei and all around God’s world.

Thank you Nelson! May we – may I – keep on walking.

The photo was taken by one of my South African friends who returned to participate in the 1994 election.

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