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Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela and to Me!
Monday is "Nelson Mandela International Day", declared by President Barack Obama and 192 other U. N. member states to honor the African leader's birthday and his acts of community service. Mandela will be 93 years old. I share the same birthday, too. I will be celebrating my personal milestone of turning the big 30. I feel privilege to share a birthday with one of the most revered statesman in the world. Here are some interesting facts about Nelson Mandela and myself:
|Nelson Mandela, former South African President||Kendra Harris, Spauldings Branch Librarian|
|Born July 18, 1918 in a small village in Africa||Born July 18, 1981 at George Washington Hospital in Washington, DC|
|Is the youngest of his father's four wives, and only surviving son||I'm the youngest of 4, and only spoiled daughter|
|Mandela's birth name Rolihlala means trouble maker||My birth name means understanding or knowledge|
|Holds honorary degrees from more than 50 universities around the world||I hold two degrees from two local colleges.|
|He was an avid boxer||I am an avid eater and reader|
|Served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999||Served as patrol captain in the 6th grade|
|Served 27 years in prison before being released in 1990 at the age 72||Served 9 months (not jail or prison) and delivered a 7 pound baby boy, named Hayden in 2006 at the age of 25|
|First South African president to be elected||First person to graduate from college and earn two degrees in my family|
|Won Nobel Peace Prize in 1993||
I can't top that one...
Now that you know little more about Mandela and me, you can find some interesting books to read like for one Mandela's autobiography and other stories of people growing up in Africa facing harsh circumstances and overcoming adversaries.
Long Walk to Freedom: the autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela
The famously taciturn South African president reveals much of himself in Long Walk to Freedom. A good deal of this autobiography was written secretly while Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island by South Africa's apartheid regime. Among the book's interesting revelations is Mandela's ambivalence toward his lifetime of devotion to public works. It cost him two marriages and kept him distant from a family life he might otherwise have cherished.
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life. "Why did you leave Sierra Leone?" Because there is a war."You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?" Yes, all the time. "Cool". I smile a little."You should tell us about it sometime." "Yes, sometime." This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. InA Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.
Chanda's War by Allan Stratton
She promised her mama she'd keep them safe. It's been six months since Mama died, and Chanda is struggling to raise her little brother and sister. Determined to end a family feud, she takes them to her relatives' remote rural village. But across the nearby border, a brutal civil war is spreading. Rebels led by the ruthless General Mandiki attack at night, stealing children. All that separates Chanda from the horror is a stretch of rugged bush and a national park alive with predators. Soon, not even that. Before she knows it, Chanda must face the unthinkable, with a troubled young tracker as her unlikely ally.
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Okay, I had to throw in a classic. Eventually must of you will have to read it for school. The most famous and important novel in South Africa's history, and an immediate worldwide bestseller when it was published in 1948. It tells the story of South Africa in the 1940s, a land divided by racial injustice, and of Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu Christian pastor, and his son, Absalom, who has been accused of murdering a white man. a chris c, A Zulaa, a land d It It It ii it kkk