The complexity of the Sharing and Caring Philosophy

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I am writing that blog post, since in a couple of hours, some youngsters from the YUVA (Youth United Voluntary Action) from Mauritius, under the supervision of their young leader Krishna Athal, will be going into a small district in the country, where people live in poor conditions, to distribute some school materials to a lot of children who want to learn but who don’t have the necessary material tools to be able to learn properly. I may write about the lack of success in education in another blog post, since there are lots of interesting things to share together in it, but in that one I am actually writing, I am focusing especially on the generous action made by those Mauritian youngsters, and at the same time I would like the whole world to know more about them all because they are really worth to be discovered. I wrote some stuffs about their founder Krishna Athal in two blog posts, one where I describe him as a young rising political prodigy in the country, and another one where I reviewed his Wikipedia biography, and through those blog posts, I think that you will know much more about him. Regarding the YUVA movement, I recently read an interview of Krishna Athal where he was telling us more the YUVA movement, for which you can also find some more details on the website of the movement. But whatever Krishna mentioned in his interview, I think, will already give you a global clue about the movement itself:

The twelve Sustainable Development Goals are:

  1. Eradicate poverty in Mauritius in all its forms.
  2. Eradicate hunger, achieve food security and improve the quality of nutrition.
  3. Ensure good health and promote the well-being of all.
  4. Ensure quality education (civic and life).
  5. Promote gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  6. Promoting economic progress by encouraging youth entrepreneurship and providing facilities for start-ups.
  7. To ensure the regional integration with on the menu of programs of exchange with the youth of the neighboring countries.
  8. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.
  9. Preserve the marine environment with the protection of beaches and ensure the sustainable use of the sea and marine resources.
  10. Encourage the love of sport and physical activity for all and for all ages.
  11. Exploit technology and encourage innovation by ensuring that an effective culture of techno permeates all sectors of society in every corner and corner of Mauritius.
  12. Encourage the love of art and culture by ensuring dynamic arts development and extending support to local artists.

I am in admiration in front of such wonderful youngsters, and if today I am focusing on their movement, it’s also to remind all of us that those twelve goals should be thought about in each human being’s lives and not only during some specific reasons.

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I have noticed that in Mauritius especially, people mostly choose the Christmas celebration to have a thought for the elderly, the poor and the needy, whereas those same poor people are forgotten during the rest of the year. But the Yuvans understood perfectly that sharing and giving was a question of attitude and not a question of occasion to give. There are NO occasions to give a part of you. Sharing and giving should be a part of us each and every day, independently from the Christmas celebration. Do you remember, when you were all children, about the fairy tale of the little match girl? If you read the summary of the story below, you will understand much better why this story should touch your hearts and why Christmas shouldn’t be the only occasion to share and give:

On a cold New Year’s Eve, a poor young girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is already shivering from cold and early hypothermia, and she is walking barefoot having lost her shoes.[1] Still, she is too afraid to go home, because her father will beat her for not selling any matches, and also as the cracks in the house can’t keep out the cold wind. The girl takes shelters in a nook or alley and sits down.[2]

The girl lights the matches to warm herself. In their glow she sees several lovely visions, including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. The girl looks skyward and sees a shooting star; she then remembers her dead grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone is dying and is going to go to Heaven. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother alive for as long as she can.

After running out of matches the child dies, and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find the child dead in the nook, frozen with a smile on her face, and guess the reason for the burnt-out matches beside her. They feel pity for her, although they had not shown kindness to her before her death. They have no way of knowing about the wonderful visions she saw before her death or how gloriously she and her grandmother are now celebrating the New Year in Heaven.[3]

That story also is worth to be meditated. We tend to choose some special occasions, especially Christmas, to do shopping for our loved ones and for people whom we will see only once a year and afterwards who will disappear in front of our eyes for the rest of their lives. With a hypocrite feeling, we will want as well to share and give to the needy because of the joy of Christmas. But as soon as the Christmas festivities are gone, the sharing and giving is gone together with them. In my family-in-law, for Christmas and the New Year Eve, each family member shares and gives some gifts between themselves… But when the celebrations are over, each family member goes aside, at the exception of a few of them who still live in solidarity with each other. In Mauritius as well, it’s the same thing. Though the country highly got developed, the needy are forgotten during almost all the year in their struggle and misery, but are remembered only for Christmas. Those people, like the ones who succeeded in life, maybe didn’t have all the tools nor the luck to be able to succeed in life and they are very often misjudged and taken for passive and lazy people. To be honest with you, this is all the time what I hear from my in-laws, who belong to the category of people who escaped from poverty with their own weapons without depending on anyone. They always tend to think that, because they succeeded through the fruit of their own sacrifices, everybody should follow them as an example. This is not true. See the videoclip from The Script’s “Superhero” and all what I wrote about them in my blog post “Johannesburg Superheroes“. Did that brave single father choose to live in poor conditions and to lie to his daughter about his true situation as a scavenger, pretending that he was working in an office, only to hide to his daughter the truth about his situation to be able to see a smile upon her face when he comes back home? No he didn’t. Did those people living in poor conditions in Mauritius choose to live like that, with all their dreams shattered away despite their long fight to survive? No, they didn’t. Alike that South African father, those people living in poor conditions did their very best to fight in life for having an earning, but they didn’t have the appropriate tools nor support from others to be able to survive and to make progress in life. The story of the little match girl perfectly represents those same people: As per the summary, she is sent in the cold winter by her violent father to sell matches for an earning, since it was the only source of revenue which may perhaps help them surviving. Did the little girl choose that kind of life? No she didn’t. And instead, through those matches she saw so many lovely dreams in front of the match lights such as a wonderful Christmas meal, a Christmas tree, children playing together in the snow etc. But no one paid attention about her dreams because they were too selfish doing their Christmas shopping for their loved ones that they didn’t even care about her own situation as a poor girl, nor about her struggle face to her violent father. And when she died, it was too late, because people may have pitied her, but no one did even care about her dreams behind those matches. I saw so many people living in those conditions as well in Madagascar and in South Africa by trying to sell their stuffs in the streets for an earning, but with increase of insecurity, people were scared to approach them since people feared having business with dealers. Even my husband and I, to be honest, as expatriates in Madagascar and as tourists in South Africa, we thought exactly the same way. But who could guess that behind those people there was the soul of that same little match girl within them?

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However, sharing and caring also has its medal reverse. I was looking for some meanings on Quora and then I saw an answer to the question “What does sharing is caring mean?” There was an answer which attracted my attention, and which reminded me about a good friend of mine who focussed on the point of sharing so much but not receiving anything in return:

At first, that seemed like a pretty simple question to answer. But I just now gave it a bit more thought. Simply put, if one shares, surely one cares. But that’s not so simple, depending, for one, on what it is you’re sharing. Food, shelter, clothing, your time, your money – those are good sharing examples. But say you share high sugar candy with someone you know is a diabetic – that’s not caring. The same for sharing hard-core drugs with an addict, a young person, anyone not on their death bed; that action could lead to dire consequences regarding health, life in general, time in jail. Another form of negative sharing doesn’t have such awful outcomes for the recipient – in fact, no bad outcomes. But it may have negative results for the giver’s subconscious, for their karma, and how they want to be viewed by their society. If you’re in church, as an example, and the offering plate has begun its rounds, you make very sure that everyone sees you writing a check, as opposed to having it ready before services, and that you place the check face-up in the plate as it passes by you. That’s outwardly egotistical; you want anyone who sees that check to know you as a very generous person, especially if the check is substantial compared to others. Inwardly, your heart may swell a bit, but not as much as your head, and at the same time your “true self” realizes the real “why” of your generous donation. So, sharing for a knowable good is always good, but maybe not always for the giver. I try to remember that real altruism means that one gives without any reward from society, including recognition. That’s real caring. “You are what you think,” said Siddhartha Gautama.

Unfortunately I have completely lost the historic of the conversation I had with my friend on LinkedIn, but I remember that my friend told me having created a group on Facebook on which each member would help each other in an equal way to cultivate solidarity with each other, but very few unfortunately replied to his request and the group didn’t succeed. He also mentioned about a Pakistani friend of his who tried to do the same thing through a group she created, and which unfortunately failed and brought to her lots of deceptions. It’s true that sharing and caring can be a good thing, but not all the time. Like Michael Jackson sung in “Heal the World”, “Love is strong, it only cares of joyful givings”. Another type of negative sharing that I have known is among my family and my in-laws. I remember how some family members who succeeded in life tend to be generous only with the ones who succeeded in life, and not the ones who were rejected from the family. My parents, for example, who were among the richest family members in the patriarchal one, never invited some of my family members because they were living in poor conditions and underestimated. My father-in-law always keeps on being generous with those who stab him behind his back instead of being generous with my mother-in-law and even with my husband, who is the only child who takes care of him and who provides him financial help regularly, and this with my total approval, but in return he is never generous with us, and favors my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law more than they do for us and for my mother-in-law. But I firmly believe in Karma, and the way my parents and my father-in-law discriminate others is returning against themselves. In my case, one family member of mine became close friends with me after 20 years, and she was among the ones everyone rejected because of her dark skin and poor condition living. But as well as she was rejected from the family, as well today she is praised in her new home country UK, since they love her skin color and succeeded in life professionally and materially. She kept on sharing and caring all the time despite her success, but instead of appreciating her, everyone kept on underestimating her and misusing her. But though I have nothing to give her materially, I have at least my caring left, and I understood on how caring for her is a lesson that my family members never taught me and that I had to be taught on my own. For my father-in-law, for the moment I didn’t have any signs for his discriminatory way of sharing, but I am convinced that one day it will go against him when it comes on caring, since he kept on sharing with the bad ones instead of the good ones, and same thing applied as well when it came on caring.

Indeed the fact that those youngsters from YUVA are generously donating with a kind heart, maybe they won’t receive the same help in return, but they will be blessed in other ways in the future. So keep on sharing and caring… But don’t do it in a discriminatory way because every human being is equal. If you have that true spirit of sharing and caring, do it with everyone, the rich, the middle and the poor. Do it as well with the educated and the illiterate. Do it as well with the healthy and the disabled. But if you have that discriminatory spirit, then better don’t share nor care at all.

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Mauritius: In the roots of a multi-linguistic nation

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This afternoon, through my brand new Twitter account, a compatriot of mine published on his wall a multiple choice question, where Mauritian people were asked in which language they enjoy writing the most. In answer to that multiple choice question, we had choice between English, French, Mauritian Creole and Oriental Language.

Mauritius, as per the details that you will retrieve in that historical complete article, is a widely diversified people composed with people having Creole, Indian, Chinese, French and African origins. Most of the Mauritian population is especially composed with Indians, mostly originated from the states of Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, with a minority also coming from Punjab. There is also a vast population of Mauritians of Muslim faith as well, of Indo-Pakistani origins. Due to that diversity of cultures, though most of the Mauritian culture finds its inheritance within India, several dialects and languages are spoken. The two official administrative and legal languages used in Mauritius are English and French, especially English, since before being proclaimed independent on 12th March 1968, Mauritius was a British Colony and kept on following the rules based on the British administration and education, especially in public sector. There are also some other dialects spoken in Mauritius, but only within each community. The Chinese Mauritians speak and learn at school their ancestral dialect Mandarin and, for a minority of them, Cantonese as well. The Muslim Mauritians, due to their Indo-Pakistani origins, speak and learn at school Urdu, which is a dialect derived from Arabic in Pakistan, Punjab and Muslim India. Finally, the Indian Mauritians of Hindu faith practice and learn Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Marathi, depending on the state from which they are originated. The White Mauritians mostly practice read, written and spoken French, since for the majority of them, they originate from France, though Mauritius was a British colony. However, the Creole community, originating from Africa, never imported any African dialect of its own (Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa, etc.), and they manage either in English, French or Creole. Regarding the Creole language, we have to put a big plan on it, and also on the Creole community, since there are so many things to shell in them which should be understood by the Mauritian community. Through that blog post, as I promised to my compatriot, I will try my best to answer, in a more constructive way, to his answer regarding the languages we would use to write the most in Mauritius between those four choices.

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English as First Choice. Why?

As I mentioned before, English is the preferred read, written and spoken language within the Mauritian population. It has first of all a coincidence with the fact that before having been proclaimed an Independent country, Mauritius was under British colonization, and all the administration and educational sector was mostly based upon the British rule. Even after its independence, Mauritius still kept the British administrative process, as well in professional life as in the public educational sector. I tried to do some researches about English being the predominant language of the country, even after its Independence in 1968, and that article 14-3 contains a paragraph, which may explain the reason behind this, I quote: “In short, the situation of English in Mauritius seems to be problematic; its existence seems to be a burden rather than a help to the population. However, the situation also has positive aspects and positive arguments can be adduced in favour of the existence of English and its various functions in the independent state (since 1968). Mauritius was an English colony from 1810 till 1968 and since then it has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. English, therefore, has a tradition and a permanent place as the official language and the language of administration, politics and the school system, which is organised on the English model. Apart from these historical facts, its neutrality distinguishes it from French inside the country. For external relations, the role of English as a world language and, above all, as one of the official languages in India is very important. It allows close contact to be kept with the lands of origin of the majority of the population, India and Pakistan – and this is done much more efficiently than would have been possible with the help of the Indian languages, which are now quite clearly declining in Mauritius.” English being a universal language is a sort of mystery for Mauritius, but even for the rest of the world. I have a British French pal, who put his profile picture on his social platforms with a message stipulating “Keep calm and speak English” as he defends English as the universal language spoken worldwide. He once even related me that in England, if you talk to an English person in another foreign language, the very first thing that the English person will ask you in return is to speak English, since he or she defends the native language of his or her country. On that point I give the English native right. I also remember how my little boy struggled a lot at school since his native language was French, whereas he started his scholarship at the International School of Seychelles, where the only language used at school for education is English, and I remember how isolated he was because of the language barrier. His second year teacher in KG1 (FS2 as per the British Curriculum) once cracked my son when my son insisted to speak French with us, telling him very frankly that he had to speak English since he didn’t understand French. Also, my husband and I had to start speaking English with him so that he could adapt quickly within the school environment and activities. Since that day, we didn’t stop speaking English with him, though from time to time, we are used to come back to his native French language. But now, the question I am asking myself is that, if my son’s school he was studying in Seychelles and if my son’s school right now in Abu Dhabi is also an International school, how could it be that the International School of Seychelles follows a British Curriculum, and the actual International School where my son is actually going in Abu Dhabi follows the American curriculum, which resembles a lot to the British one but with more extra-curriculum activities? And how is it that so many International schools, instead of following an International Curriculum with several cultures and languages spoken, mostly follow instead the British Curriculum, and having everything taught in English and not in another language? Here we should interest ourselves mostly to the latest question, since nowadays English is still considered as the global worldwide language. An article answers to that question completely and on that purpose, I am thinking especially about Republic of South Africa during the Apartheid. I remember that last year, my husband and I were visiting Johannesburg with a local guide, and I wrote a very long blog post containing some extracts about the rebellion of students during the Apartheid period and the martyr of student Hector Pieterson, when the Black students were rebelling against learning and practicing of Afrikaans, which was a language imposed by the pro-apartheid government to them, to isolate them from the rest of the population, since they were not given the right to speak, nor to practice English. They rebelled against Afrikaans language, since they were fighting for their right of learning and practicing English as well as every other South African people of ethnicity differing from theirs and considered English to be equally taught for all South Africans. To come back to the Mauritian context, as per the PDF document also stipulated, English as the main language is a tradition which dates from about 200 years ago and which cannot be forgotten. Alike my son, French was my native language, since Creole was forbidden at home, as I came from a very affluent family due to my father who was a Freemason and had a honorable position as the first Anesthetist who started practicing in Mauritius after he completed his 14-year studies in England, Ireland and India. Because I was speaking French, and since we had some relatives settled in France, my mother always wanted me to follow mostly a scholarship based on French Curriculum, and also I have been following my whole primary and secondary scholarship at the Lycee la Bourdonnais, which follows the French Curriculum and which is linked with the French Alliance of Mauritius and the Academy of Reunion Island. In the French curriculum, it was French which was the predominant language, whereas English was learnt as a secondary language. Despite all, I recognize today, though I always cultivated a true passion for English learning since I started learning it in primary school at only the age of 8 years old, how English was indispensable for my daily life, especially in an Anglo-Saxon country like Mauritius and since I have been travelling in several English-speaking countries such as England, Singapore, Malaysia, Republic of South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Seychelles. during my marriage life and during my teenage years. Today English is helping me a lot for my daily life and even for my son’s education since he goes in an English-speaking International school and must speak English permanently. And today, even when I blog, I favor English for my audience, even though on some of my social platforms I also express myself in my native language French.

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French as second choice. Why?

I found the answer again in the PDF document, and it is linked also with the fact that, due to my family position since I was born, French was spoken at home instead of Creole language. First of all, there is a presence of French Mauritian people in Mauritius, though they represent only 3% of the whole Mauritian population. Here is what the article stipulates again about them, I quote, “The Franco-Mauritians, who represent less than 3% of the total population, are by far the most influential social force in the island, and they continue to play a dominant role in the sugar, manufacturing and tourist industries. This, and the fact that their way of life, and most important, their form of speech is closest to that exemplified by the media, means that they represent an ideal for the “coloured” population, and gradually for the rest of the population, thus exerting a sociolinguistic influence beyond their numerical importance.” But to come on the French language importance, according to that article, here is the extract which explains how French also has its predominant place in the Mauritian population, but mostly as a prestige language than an administrative language:

Despite more than a century and a half of British rule and the imposition of English as an official language, French has maintained its position as the prestige language of Mauritius. Fluency in French is more closely linked to advancement in the social hierarchy, and happens to be indicative of intelligence and good breeding, especially in the eyes of the “General Population”. According to Barnwell and Toussaint (1949), there is considerable evidence to suggest that between 1840-1870, the British administration tried to make the inhabitants of Mauritius native speakers of the English language. But the decisions to anglicise the colony came a bit too late, since French had already established itself as a strong language with the help of the British colonisers themselves. As long as military and political control remained in the hands of the British, they were content to allow the French to remain in a dominant and privileged position. Hence, the French continued to dominate the linguistic and economic life of the island. In 1992, when Mauritius became a parliamentary republic, it remained a member both of the Commonwealth and the ‘Francophonie’.

French language has an evident role to play worldwide, since for so many centuries, France was considered as the heart of the European society, culture, history and monarchy and French language was and is still considered as a prestige language, especially in Mauritius. Like I mentioned before, when I was born, I was taught to always express myself in French and it was badly seen for my parents if I spoke Creole, including with my friends, family members and with even the maids who were working for us at home! A Mauritian who speaks, reads and writes French very well is highly considered as someone literate and cultivated, compared to a Mauritian who has weak knowledge in French, despite having a high knowledge in English as the predominant Mauritian language. In my previous paragraph, the document mentioned Mauritius as a member of the “Francophonie”. It would be interesting to know a little more about the Francophonie and how it appeared worldwide. According to Wikipedia, “The convention which created the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation (Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique) was signed on 20 March 1970 by the representatives of the 21 states and governments under the influence of African Heads of State, Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal, Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Hamani Diori of Niger and Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. The missions of this new intergovernmental organization, based on the sharing of the French language, are the promotion of the cultures of its members and the intensification of the cultural and technical cooperation between them, as well as the solidarity and the connection between them through dialogue. The Francophonie project ceaselessly evolved since the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Co-operation, it became the intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie (Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie) in 1998 to remind its intergovernmental status. Finally in 2005, the adoption of a new Charter of the Francophonie (la Charte de la Francophonie) gives the name to the Agency of international Organization of the Francophonie (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie).[9]“.

Another extract is worth to be known about the missions behind the Francophonie: “The International Organization of the Francophonie leads political actions and multilateral cooperation according to the missions drawn by the Summits of the Francophonie. The Summits gather the Heads of states and governments of the member countries of the International Organization of the Francophonie where they discuss international politics, world economy, French-speaking cooperation, human rights, education, culture and democracy. Actions of the International Organization of the Francophonie are scheduled over a period of four years and funded by contributions from its members.[36] The Charte de la Francophonie defines the role and missions of the organization. The current charter was adopted in Antananarivo, on 23 November 2005. The summit held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 26–27 November 2004 saw the adoption of a strategic framework for the period 2004–2014. The four missions drawn by the Summit of the Francophonie are:

  1. Promoting French language and cultural and linguistic diversity.
  2. Promoting peace, democracy and human rights.
  3. Supporting education, training, higher education and scientific research.
  4. Expand cooperation for sustainable development.[36]

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What about the Creole language? Big plan on the Creole language in Mauritius and worldwide

Still referring in the Mauritian context, here is the extract of the PDF article regarding the use of the Creole language in Mauritius, and how Creole language is considered as a cheap language: “The consolidation of Creole has not yet progressed to the point where it could replace English. Besides, it is not (yet) regarded as a fully-fledged language by large sections of the population, and is therefore unlikely to be accepted. The one alternative left is French, the language of the francophone, white section of the population. The language of the sugar industry owned by the Franco-Mauritians remains French. Since the colonial period, this has been the trend. The senior positions in this sector are generally occupied by Franco-Mauritians, who go to great lengths to promote French. According to Benedict (1961), “Franco-Mauritians make a point of using French among themselves, only employing Creole to address servants and employees of low status”. To use Creole in the wrong context is to commit a serious blunder. Therefore, French is used by the sugar sector, both in its oral and written forms. Reports, publications and journals are published in French. However, the mass of the employees of the industry are either sugarcane-cutters or factory workers who either speak Bhojpuri or Creole (the other ethnic languages being restricted to formal classroom contexts). This will therefore decrease the influence of the French language, which remains the language of a minority group.” Frankly speaking, when I read those lines, I am very angry since it reminds me of my own personal experience regarding the Creole language. Since Creole speaking was forbidden at home, except with the maids working for us, I could only start speaking Creole at the age of 9 years old with my very first Creole word, “Ou”, which means “You”. What was funny too was that within both my matriarchal and patriarchal families, everybody was speaking Creole, but there was a glimpse of megalomania within my matriarchal family, since they were all of African Creole origins, since they very often also tended to express themselves in French. Why? Is that a complex of inferiority since they have been underestimated and deprived from their African inheritance since their ancestors were brought as slaves to Mauritius? Only God knows about it. The Creole Community of Mauritius, especially those who come from more rural regions, claim their pride for the Creole culture very openly through their songs, the traditional Mauritian sega music which is an inheritance from the African slaves, who imported that dance and kind of music in the country when they were having fun at night before going to bed. But once more, the sega, though today it became better accepted within the Mauritian culture, was considered as a low kind of music. According to Wikipedia, “Sega was for long looked down upon because it was the music of slaves.[7] It was also looked down upon by the Catholic Church, which was not keen on its association with sexuality and alcohol.[8] Until the Mauritian Ti Frère became popular in the 1960s, sega was only played in private places.[1] A particularly big turning point was his performance at the Night of the Sega at Mount Le Morne on 30 October 1964.[7] It is now considered the national music of Mauritius and not restricted by ethnicity.” It’s very sad though that the Mauritian population considers the Creole community only as descendants of slaves coming from Africa and Madagascar and that their vision about the Creole community stops there and doesn’t go further. It would be interesting to better know more about the Creole population, not only in Mauritius but also worldwide. The extract of that article, though it mostly refers to the History of the Creole people in USA, maybe could better help us understanding the truth behind the diversity of the Creole culture in Mauritius and even in the Seychelles, and completely denies the fact that Creole people are descendants of slaves: “The term Creole was first used in the sixteenth century to identify descendants of French, Spanish, or Portuguese settlers living in the West Indies and Latin America. There is general agreement that the term “Creole” derives from the Portuguese wordcrioulo,which means a slave born in the master’s household. A single definition sufficed in the early days of European colonial expansion, but as Creole populations established divergent social, political, and economic identities, the term acquired different meanings. In the West Indies, Creole refers to a descendant of any European settler, but some people of African descent also consider themselves to be Creole. In Louisiana, it identifies French-speaking populations of French or Spanish descent. Their ancestors were upper class whites, many of whom were plantation owners or officials during the French and Spanish colonial periods. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century, they formed a separate caste that used French. They were Catholics, and retained the traditional cultural traits of related social groups in France, but they were the first French group to be submerged by Anglo-Americans. In the late twentieth century they largely ceased to exist as a distinct group. Creoles of color, the descendants of free mulattos and free blacks, are another group considered Creole in Louisiana.” Furthermore, here is another interesting extract of that same article which is worth to be discovered about the Creole: “With imported furniture, wines, books, and clothes, white Creoles were once immersed in a completely French atmosphere. Part of Creole social life has traditionally centered on the French Opera House; from 1859 to 1919, it was the place for sumptuous gatherings and glittering receptions. The interior, graced by curved balconies and open boxes of architectural beauty, seated 805 people. Creoles loved the music and delighted in attendance as the operas were great social and cultural affairs. White Creoles clung to their individualistic way of life, frowned upon intermarriage with Anglo-Americans, refused to learn English, and were resentful and contemptuous of Protestants, whom they considered irreligious and wicked. Creoles generally succeeded in remaining separate in the rural sections but they steadily lost ground in New Orleans. In 1803, there were seven Creoles to every Anglo-American in New Orleans, but these figures dwindled to two to one by 1830. Anglo-Americans reacted by disliking the Creoles with equal enthusiasm. Gradually, New Orleans became not one city, but two. Canal Street split them apart, dividing the old Creole city from the “uptown” section where the other Americans quickly settled. To cross Canal Street in either direction was to enter another world. These differences are still noticeable today. Older Creoles complain that many young Creoles today do not adhere to the basic rules of language propriety in speaking to others, especially to older adults. They claim that children walk past homes of people they know without greeting an acquaintance sitting on the porch or working on the lawn. Young males are particularly criticized for greeting others quickly in an incomprehensible and inarticulate manner.” As per what I have understood through those extracts, the Creole people have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they are descendants of slaves. They have several mixed origins, but decided to defend their culture, not by abiding on their ancestors’ culture and rituals, but mostly acting as individualists and free-spirited people. This is exactly that kind of philosophy that the Seychellois people defend, and they don’t even hesitate to make of Creole an official language and culture, as the individualist culture of the Seychellois archipelago. Unfortunately in Mauritius, apart the rural Afro-Creole community who still dares to proclaim the Creole language and culture through engaged artists and activists, Creole is still considered by other communities as a low-class culture and language, and Wikipedia very merely gives details about the expansion of the Creole culture in the island, an explanation which may perhaps be compensated with the previous detailed description of the Creole community from USA. Nonetheless, despite being underestimated as a community and language, Creole is now spoken by almost the whole Mauritian population nowadays. The Creole language still remains informal despite a shy start of its promotion within the educational and literary section as per those two extracts from the WikipediaWikipedia: “The British took over Mauritius during the Napoleonic era, but few English-speakers ever settled there and by then Mauritian creole was firmly entrenched. The abolition of slavery in the 1830s enabled many Mauritian creoles to leave the plantations, and the plantation owners started bringing in Indian indentured workers to replace them. Though the Indians soon became, and remain, a majority on the island, their own linguistic fragmentation and alienation from the English- and French-speaking white elite led them to take up Mauritian creole as their main lingua franca. English and French have long enjoyed greater social status and dominated government, business, education, and the media, but Mauritian creole’s popularity in most informal domains has persisted. (…) The Mauritian government began supporting an orthographic reform in 2011, with a system that generally follows French, but eliminates silent letters and reduces the number of different ways in which the same sound can be written. This was codified in the Lortograf Kreol Morisien (2011) and used in the Gramer Kreol Morisien (2012) as well. It has become standard upon its adoption by the second edition of the Diksioner Morisien (which previously had been spelled as the Diksyoner Morisyen).[4]

I remember having had the opportunity to buy two albums from the adventures of Tintin and Snowy, which Mauritian writer Shenaz Patel translated in Creole. Seeing the Mauritian Creole starting to have its place, not only through the Mauritian sega, but within also the educational sector and Mauritian literature, should have been a pride for us. But yet, despite the efforts made to have the Mauritian Creole language accepted as a part of our local culture instead of an informal language, the Mauritian population still remains very reluctant regarding the use of Creole within families. If I take example on myself, neither my son, nor his elder cousin (my husband’s brother’s son) are allowed to speak Creole in society nor within the family background, even though in both my family and my husband’s family, Creole was always the only language spoken, since according to our elders, they wanted the new generation of children arising to be affluent in both English and French, since those two languages represent the symbol of the well educated Mauritian citizen. Imagine, from that point, my in-laws’ pride when they hear my husband’s nephew speaking French and my son speaking English 😀

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The Oriental language in Mauritius

As I mentioned before, there are several oriental dialects spoken in Mauritius, but which is intern to each community existing in the country: Mandarin and Cantonese by the Sino-Mauritian community, Urdu by the Muslim community, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Marathi within the Hindu community. I will not refer to the extract of that document anymore, but as a Mauritian, I am really stunned seeing that each Asian community learns its own community and ancestral language at school, and that there is no openness of language exchanges between each community. To refer first to the learning of the native language, there is something that I really don’t understand, when I see how the Indian dialects are taught at school: Tamil taught for the Tamil-speaking community, Telugu taught for the Telugu-speaking community, Marathi taught for the Marathi-speaking community, absence of Gujarati and Punjabi learning though there is a minority of Gujarati originated Mauritians in the country, Urdu learning only within the Muslim community… And to crown the whole thing, Hindi taught to the… Bihari community! And not its local dialect Bhojpuri, which is put at the same level as the other dialects in Mauritius! Now, to recapitulate, I don’t understand why there is no Gujarati nor Punjabi taught in Mauritius. There is a small community of Gujarati Hindus in Mauritius, and I know a few of them though they are rare. I also saw some Punjabi people walking in the streets and who were from Mauritius as well. They exist, so why are they deprived from learning Gujarati and Punjabi, and why did those two minorities accept that discrimination passively? Regarding the Urdu language, since it’s derived from Arabic, it’s especially taught within the Muslim community of Mauritius only! How could it be that a language spoken should have a link with the religion? That’s ridiculous! The Holy Bible and the Holy Quran, for example, have been translated in so many languages of the world, including Tamil, Mandarin, and who knows especially for the Holy Bible, maybe also in Arabic in some countries. How is it then that the Holy Scriptures in the Bhagavat Gita and the Ramayana are purely in Sanskrit only and not translated in English for better knowledge of it by non Hindus or non-Hindi speaking people, but instead are re-interpreted in English and French in books written by English-writing and French-writing authors? Finally, the best of all: The underestimation of the Bhojpuri language, which is the local dialect taught in the region of Bihar, where so many Indo-Mauritians proclaim to be originated from… but instead, they learn HINDI at school! Why? Wouldn’t it be better that all the Indian Mauritians learn Hindi as the basic Indian language, and then their own regional dialect in second position, including Gujarati, Punjabi and Bhojpuri? I am very sad to see how the Bhojpuri language has been placed at the same low position as the Creole language in Mauritius, as well as the deprivation of the Bihari culture. The Tamil people included some festivals such as the Thaipoosam Cavadee dedicated to Lord Muruga, one of Lord Shiva’s sons. The Telugu people included the Ugadi festival, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Marathi people included Gudi Padwa and Ganesh Chathurti, which are typical Marathi celebrations, one of them being dedicated to the Elephant God Ganesha. But where is the true Bihari culture, apart the Bhojpuri songs in Mauritius? All I see are global Hindu festivals celebrated by the Bihari… But not purely Bihari religious festivals nor cultural festivals. See for example that article recapitulating the main festivals celebrated in Bihar. Though most of the festivals celebrated there are generally celebrated in whole India, Bihar also has its specific religious celebrations, such as the Bihula, for example, since “Bihula is a prominent festival of eastern Bihar especially famous in Bhagalpur district. There are many myths related to this festival. People pray to goddess Mansa for the welfare of their family.” Regarding the Gujarati and Punjabi minorities I am sad I couldn’t retrieve anything about them in my researches. That is really sad since they are very close to their traditions, especially songs, dances and wedding celebrations, like as I witnessed when I assisted my neighbors’ children’s weddings, since they were of Gujarati origins. Regarding Punjab, I never saw any Punjabi festivals in Mauritius. But since Indo Mauritians are big fans of Bollywood music and movies, they also fell in love with Punjabi music, especially Banghras, with some Punjabi artists like Yo Yo Honey Singh, Daler Mehndi, Hard Kaur, Bally Sagoo, Sukhbir and so many more, but it stops here. There are no even temples dedicated to the Sikh Guru Nanak for that minority and no one seems even to wander about the existence of that minority in Mauritius. Secondly… Okay, I will mention it, but as the conclusion of my blog post instead.

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CONCLUSION

It’s very sad that each community jealously preserves its culture and ancestral dialect instead of sharing it with other communities, and that is also one of the main reasons why Mauritius still remains prisoner of its chains of Communautarism: I am myself a mixed girl with Afro-Creole, Indian and maybe European origins in my blood. I have been taught, while following the French Curriculum, not only to learn French and English, but also another European language and I chose German. Nonetheless, at school you had German, Spanish, Latin, Russian and Afrikaans which were among the languages  you could learn there and I found that wonderful, especially for the Latin as a classical language. So, if a French school proposed so many languages, including a classical one and an African one, though Afrikaans was considered as a torture language during Apartheid (maybe the school ignores about it and that was why maybe they also proposed it), then why don’t all the Mauritian schools propose ALL the languages to be taught by ALL Mauritians together with English and French… and even include the Mauritian Creole language? That is what I will never agree about… Language is a way of opening your ways to the rest of the world, and if Mauritians only keep on focusing on English, French, Creole and their own community’s dialect, how do they want Communautarism to stop? That’s the question!!! It’s easy for Mauritians to learn new European languages or African dialects, but why don’t they proceed the same with all the actually existing dialects in their own country, which could maybe contribute widely into reducing the communautarism in Mauritius? As a mixed girl, if the opportunity was given to me to do it and if I had the capacities to do it, I would have done it, starting with Hindi as my ancestral patriarchal language before knowing more about Bhojpuri from my Bihari origins and other existing dialects… Including Urdu. My son may perhaps learn Arabic at school and if I need to take some basic Arabic tuition too in UAE, I am ready to do it, not only to help him in his homework but also for my own personal knowledge of knowing a brand new language. Finally, if the chance was given to me to even learn Mandarin and Cantonese too, I would have done it. I am for cultural and social diversity, and one of the basics of that diversity is the diversity of linguistic knowledge. And that conclusion is the final answer to my compatriot’s multiple choice question, though I first answered that I would choose English and French for literature, and Creole only to hang out. I was wrong to reply too quickly since I felt his question required a constructive answer… And I hope I have been convincing enough 🙂

So, before foolishly singing the lyrics of the Mauritian National Anthem “As one people, as one nation, in peace, justice and liberty”, I invite all Mauritian people to meditate on that blog post and reconsider the image of the country.

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Eve: Remembering its values through Ancient Times and a short Catholic tradition called St Sylvester Day

As most of you know it well, everybody celebrates the New Year Eve also known as the St Sylvester day. But has any of you tried to know the link between the New Year Eve and St Sylvester? Frankly speaking, it’s only now that I thought about it and decided to do some researches early on that morning of the 01st January.

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According to that article, “Little is known about Sylvester’s life. His tenure as pope took place during the reign of the Roman emperorConstantine I. Legend claims that Sylvester played an active role in the conversion of Constantine to Christianity, buthistorians reject this tale. As Pope Sylvester witnessed the divisions between Christians caused by the rise ofArianism, a doctrine concerning the nature of Christ, he sent two representatives to the Council of Nicea. Convenedby Emperor Constantine, the Council debated and rejected Arianism. His feast day was established in 1227 by PopeGregory IX. At least one writer has suggested that his feast day was placed on December 31 for symbolic reasons.Just as December 31 ushers in a new year, so, too, did the conversion of the emperor Constantine usher in a newepoch in the history of Christianity.

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But what should  be more interesting to know is about the New Year Eve History itself. In an article retracing the history of the New Year Eve, it’s a phenomenon which appeared 2000 years BC whereas the 01st January celebration appears only as a new phenomenon: “The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice

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There are several versions of the New Year celebration quoted in that article, but the most prominent one is about when Julius Caesar included the 01st January as the first day of the year. I was amazed to read that according to the ancient Roman Calendar before Julius Caesar’s decision, the years were made of only 10 months, starting as from the 01st of March. Then, as per that extract regarding the insertion of January the 01st, “In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar introduced a new, solar-based calendar that was a vast improvement on the ancient Roman calendar, which was a lunar system that had become wildly inaccurate over the years. The Julian calendar decreed that the new year would occur with January 1, and within the Roman world, January 1 became the consistently observed start of the new year.” The 01st January celebration though, was abolished during the Middle Ages, since it was being considered as a Pagan and Unchristian celebration, and the New Year celebration then coincided together with the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th December. But little by little, the tradition was restored and adapted through the years as a celebration separated from Christmas, by the Gregorian Calendar.

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But now, another question that I am asking myself also while writing those words: Was New Year eve celebrated in Ancient times? The answer is a medley of Yes and No. Yes, it was celebrated in Ancient times, but not in the same way as we celebrate it today, with the traditional firecrackers, huge parties until late in the night at home, in restaurants or in the streets, good food, alcohol, etc. Here is an extract of this article showing what the celebration of the New Year represents in some of the Ancient times, especially in the Babylonian era: “The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. For the Babylonians, the first new moon following the vernal equinox—the day in late March with an equal amount of sunlight and darkness—heralded the start of a new year. They marked the occasion with a massive religious festival called Akitu (derived from the Sumerian word for barley, which was cut in the spring) that involved a different ritual on each of its 11 days. In addition to the new year, Atiku celebrated the mythical victory of the Babylonian sky god Marduk over the evil sea goddess Tiamat and served an important political purpose: It was during this time that a new king was crowned or that the current ruler’s divine mandate was symbolically renewed.” And I have seen some pictures, while looking for an illustration for my blog post, revealing that the Akitu is still celebrated in some parts of the world as per demonstrated in that article.

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happy-saturnalia

But in some other parts of the world, the New Year celebration was made in different ways, either for religious purposes or as a pagan celebration, at the example of Ancient Greece and Ancient Roman Times, which were two contrasting ways of celebrating the New Year. According to that article, “In Athens, however, there was an epigraph found reading of a religious ceremony that used to take place on the beginning of the New Year, or better said on the last day of the outgoing year, which involved only a small number of people. The celebration was a sacrifice of the outgoing officials to Zeus the Savior and Athena the Savior, which aimed at ensuring the blessings and favor of the two gods for the coming new year. It was not until ancient Roman times and while Rome grew in power, that the New Year festivities began to become extremely popular. The celebration known as the Saturnalia, a time of revelings, drinking bouts, orgies and human sacrifice in honor of god Saturn, was instituted as the festival of January 1st by Julius Caesar in 46BC upon deciding to adopt the Julian calendar. The popularity of the celebration was spread in all corners of the Roman Empire and continued with minor local and time alterations to integrate in the customs of all peoples within the Empire’s boundaries, including ancient Greece.

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Now, you will find strange why I am making a history of the New Year Eve among Ancient times with the way we are celebrating it, won’t you? Did you see the picture I have inserted above that paragraph in my blog post with that quote from Mark Twain, where you do the good resolutions and after one week, send them back to hell? The way I demonstrated the history of New Year during the Ancient Times is to show you that nowadays the humanity is celebrating the New Year mostly based on the Julian Calendar adapted by Julius Caesar, and also on the Ancient Roman Empire tradition made with revelations, orgies, human sacrifices to the God Saturn, etc. In Mauritius, the tradition of animal sacrifice to celebrate the New Year still exists in several Hindu Families, where on the 02nd January, they make an animal sacrifice as a yearly promise by killing a goat and after that, preparing the goat in some special meals. That tradition is more and more lost within the years according to my personal observations as an urban Mauritian, but is still practiced within rural Hindu families of the country, who kept their traditions in the total respect. The orgies, revelations, alcohol consumption in the Roman Era are also adapted not only in Mauritius but even worldwide in several parts of the world except in Muslim countries, where public alcohol consumption is forbidden. Unfortunately, what is sad is when you see how partying heavily for the New Year brings the population into some deceitful consequences: Lots of accidents in the streets mostly caused by huge alcohol consumption, crimes, fights between people partying during revelations made again under influence of alcohol, etc. Alcohol being the worst enemy for the New Year party, during which there are no limits imposed since it’s the very last day of the year.

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But the most prominent thought I had since the New Year Eve 2016 was about the importance of wishing Happy New Year. Why to wish Happy New Year? What is the need to make some new resolutions for the forthcoming new Year, for afterwards forgetting them and going back into our old bad habits? What is the need of wishing Happy New Year to everyone, including the ones whom you blame and dislike, or those who are your worst enemies, for after this starting again to blame them for the rest of the year? Personally, even though I wished Happy New Year to some of my in-laws, to my husband, to my son and to my LinkedIn, WhatsApp and Google+ contacts, personally I am very pessimistic when it comes on the importance of the New Year wishes, which I find personally useless and hypocrite, since they have no meaning. I was captivated by an extract of that article about the meaning of Happy New Year. The first paragraph from Albert Einstein captivated me the most: “When Albert Einstein’s good friend Michele Besso died in 1955, just a few weeks before Einstein’s own death, Einstein wrote a letter to Besso’s family in which he put forward a scientist’s consolation: “This is not important. For us who are convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” The idea that time is an illusion is an old one, predating any Times Square ball drop or champagne celebrations. It reaches back to the days of Heraclitus and Parmenides, pre-Socratic thinkers who are staples of introductory philosophy courses. Heraclitus argued that the primary feature of the universe is that it is always changing. Parmenides, foreshadowing Einstein, countered by suggesting that there was no such thing as change. Put into modern language, Parmenides believed the universe is the set of all moments at once. The entire history of the universe simply is.” Personally, despite being religious, I fully agree with that Cartesian thesis and I disagree on wishing Happy New Year, because the cycle is still the same: people changing for the better of the worse. People taking birth and people dying. People loving and people hating. The same circus of life always going on and on. Yesterday for New Year eve, since we had a very awful New Year eve celebrated as per what I related in my previous blog post, I mentioned to my husband about the hypocrisy behind the New Year wishes. My husband replied me the sentence that could change perhaps a lot of things in the world: “The New Year resolutions are not bad. But it’s us, the humans, who are bad in general, and who make everything to turn the good New Year resolutions into unlimited deceptions and failures”. There again, my husband was right. And here is the extract of that same article, which resumes it all: 

There is, perhaps, a judicious middle position between insisting on the centrality of time and denying its existence. Something can be real—actually existing, not merely illusory—and yet not be fundamental. Scientists used to think that heat, for example, was a fluidlike substance, called “caloric,” that flowed from hot objects to colder ones. These days we know better: Heat is simply the random motions of the atoms and molecules out of which objects are made. Heat is still real, but it’s been explained at a deeper level. It emerges out of a more comprehensive understanding.

Perhaps time is like that. Someday, when the ultimate laws of physics are in our grasp, we may discover that the notion of time isn’t actually essential. Time might instead emerge to play an important role in the macroscopic world of our experience, even if it is nowhere to be found in the final Theory of Everything.

In that case, I would have no trouble saying that time is “real.” I know what it means to grow older or to celebrate an anniversary whether or not time is “fundamental.” And either way, I can still wish people a Happy New Year in good conscience

So before you think about sending your New Year wishes to other people and making some good resolutions for the New Year, think about it several times before planning them, because Happy New Year wishes and resolutions is something really powerful, but which should come from the heart and be sincere. If it’s so, then maybe we can contribute into making the world much better by doing our own part of efforts and being sincere to the ones whom we wish Happy New Year to, and to keep our promises on all the good resolutions we did for the forthcoming New Year.

So on that concluding note, Happy New Year 2017 to you all 🙂

I’m never gonna say I’m sorry for one thing: TRUTH!

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Malin and Jenny Cecilia from Ace of Base, performing on music video “Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry” (1996)

 

Click here for the video of the clip “Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry” from Ace of Base

Never gonna say I’m sorry – Ace of Base

I’m never gonna say I’m sorry
I’m a clown for everyone
I’m never gonna let you down,
I’m always here like a sun

I’m a loser, that is a fact for sure
I’m happy even if you don’t want
To invite me out for a dance tonight
I’m not normal, I know it, I don’t care

I’m never gonna say I’m sorry
I’m a clown for everyone
I’m never gonna let you down,
I’m always here like a sun

I’m never gonna say I’m sorry
I’m a clown for everyone
I’m never gonna let you down,
I’m always here like a sun

I’m always here like a sun, I’m always here

Like a ghost I follow your steps so true
You don’t have to bribe me or fill me up
Give me a minute to shine with you
I will make you so happy, make you laugh

I’m never gonna say I’m sorry for the essence of my soul
There’s so many ways to change my life
‘Cause I want to…oh
I’m like a clown, I am fun for everyone…

I’m never gonna say I’m sorry…

I am sharing those lyrics from one of the tunes on which I enjoyed dancing and singing during my teenage years, since I have an important message to spread to all my readers about why I have no regrets, further to the latest blog posts that I recently published on my blog, in which I shared with my readers several fragments of my personal and family life. I admit I may have shocked so many of my readers with my personal views. But I’m never gonna say I’m sorry.

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Why should I be sorry for telling the truth and for revealing to the world the true part of me that no one wants to see, but that everyone needs to see? I remember that a friend of mine very often wrote me that, in our exchanges of emails. People write only to please the audience and to be paid, but there’s nothing true nor sincere in whatever they are writing. Do you remember the text that once I wrote, “Jo March and Proofreading“? This is the typical example of the fake story vs the true story. Remember how her first book she wrote was rejected, despite so many days of hard work from Jo. All this because, though the book was perfectly written, the story was meaningless and not interesting at all. But when Jo’s younger sister Beth passed away, for the first time Jo opened her heart through the lines she wrote within one whole night, and that time her novel was published, because the voice of the heart was there.

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Through that example, that is why, even though I admitted in that post that proofreading is necessary when you sell your book, I am deep inside myself against proofreading. I don’t care whether my English is insufficient. I know that my English is insufficient. But what is worth for my readers? A sincere message written in a poor English? Or a hypocrite message written in a perfect English? I still remember the harsh words from my ex-best friend, who highly criticized me for writing average college English instead of having the English level of her Majesty the Queen! HAHAHAHAHA! WTF again! And what made me laughing was that it made her really sick that I wrote in average English 😀 Sorry for you my dear ex-best friend… I may not write in the perfect English of Her Majesty the Queen, but at least I am showing my true colors… So sorry for you if I caused you disease for being real, but unfortunately I have no cure against that disease I caused to you… Tata bye bye… And get well soon, dear Miss Perfect English!

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Have you heard about the French quote which says “Too polite to be honest?” Yes, we are too polite in society because we have been taught by our parents to be polite since we were born. Yes, we are too well-mannered because we have been taught by our parents to be well-mannered. The mask of politeness and of good manners is in front of everyone’s faces, and perfectly covers people’s true colors. Exactly like make-up does, like I wrote it on my previous post about my Lokni’s wedding.

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I once remembered that my mother told someone those words which today make me smile: “My daughter is polite… But it stops here.” Which means that for her, I am nothing else than an empty canned box which makes a lot of noise, but which has anything inside herself. If that’s her opinion, then it suits me perfectly 🙂 Indeed, you are never judged for what you represent deep inside yourself, but only through the appearance that you show in front of people nah? You judge people and things through what you see, and not with the heart, don’t you? This is whatever lots of people tend to do nowadays, and that’s what encourages a lot of people to wear a mask when they are in public. Why? Because they are scared. They are scared of being true, of being themselves. They are scared about the hearabouts, the critics, or whatever people may think about them. But wait a minute… Who are we to judge others? No one is perfect. Only God can judge us. Only God can determine the good and the bad within each of us. So why should we remain prisoner of that motherf*****g mask of hypocrisy, just to “please people”? Why is that easier for us to wear that mask of torture only to please people? It seems that we are really masochist nah? Because we prefer torturing our true inner self to please other imperfect humans like us… Instead of being true and having the guts to disturb the aura of hypocrite people and hypocrite society. Soooooooo sad!!!

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Madonna – “Truth or Dare” song video

 

But this is not only in that purpose that I decided to write that blog post today. I would like to write that blog post since I would like to salute, encourage and support a group of people in my country who perfectly understood that the concept of wearing a mask was completely ridiculous. A group of people behind that project, who live their lives in total transparency, in public, with their family, in private and in their professional and academical lives. Without those people, we would have never known the meaning of TRUTH, and believe me, TRUTH is REALLY what Mauritius needs to be unstuck from the numerous diseases which made of it a sick and hypocrite society. Because of COMMUNALISM. Because of RACISM. Because of INSANE COMPETITION. Because of SUPERFICIALITY due to… Zee TV? Bollywood blockbusters? Telenovelas? Intox in several media and newspapers? Yes! ALL OF THEM! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome with a BIG CLAP the brand new online news room “Made in Mauritius”, where “only the truth, and nothing but the truth” is their policy: THE ELEPHANT.MU!

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The idea behind that project comes from the mind of a Mauritian youth who wanted, not only to bring something new to the Mauritian media, but who wanted to demonstrate, together with a group of people, how we should spread the media and also our opinions in total transparency in Mauritius, and that it’s important to be well informed before you write anything or comment on any other opinion. That same Mauritian youth, unfortunately, has been so many times victim of lots of haters, who didn’t hesitate to spread fake rumors about some so-called controversies, for which he claimed his innocence. But contrary to other people who won’t hesitate to bark to claim their innocence, he preferred opting for silence and for moving on. I give him right. Because dogs bark only when they don’t know people they see in their territory, right? So let the dogs bark and move on… And that is his life philosophy, on which I completely agree. The people who barked against him thought that they could destroy him, but instead, he made of their barking his new war whoop against lies, hypocrisy, intox and superficiality. The Elephant.Mu is that brave youngster’s war whoop. His team’s war whoop. But also EVERY MAURITIAN CITIZEN’S WAR WHOOP.

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Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya – Thailand

 

But one question I asked myself when I saw the name of the news room and its purpose was… But what is the link between the truth and the elephant? I then did some researches and then saw an ancient Indian Folklore about the Blind Men and the Elephant, which, according to that source, “tells the story of six blind sojourners that come across different parts of an elephant in their life journeys. In turn, each blind man creates his own version of reality from that limited experience and perspective. In philosophy departments throughout the world, the Blind Men and the Elephant has become the poster child for moral relativism and religious tolerance.” I saw another interesting source about that link since I saw the picture from the sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, which was described in that source as “a very special place where Thai culture as well as religion, art and philosophy come together in perfect harmony.” Another proof on how elephant and truth perfectly match together. The statue of the three-headed elephant God known in Thailand as Erawan, which also represents the Hindu God Airavata, and is also a form of representation of the Hindu Trilogy Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Keeper and Mahesh/Shiva the Destroyer, like depicted in that article. As you may have noticed, there are so many philosophies which turn around the link between the truth and the elephant. The articles about the three-headed elephant, and how it’s depicted in several Asian countries and in India coincides with the different perceptions of truth about the elephant from the blind men, for finally agreeing together that it’s an elephant that they have been touching. Each of the team members and bloggers who contribute into developing that interesting news room represents a fragment of that team based on “the truth, and nothing but the truth”, and each of them has a fragment of truth to bring and on which everyone will end by concluding that together, they all built… The Truth. Finally, another detail which came in my mind regarding that link between the truth and the elephant is about a video clip I once saw on YouTube, “Eyes of Truth” from Enigma, which depicts the scene of a young mother who sends her baby on a floating cot on a sacred river to an unknown destination. The mother is seen praying God Surya to protect her child. The child grows up and has an elephant as animal companion, which brings him to a sacred town where he is welcomed with flowers all over his pathway, in the same way Lord Jesus was welcomed as the Messiah in the Town of Jerusalem. After he reaches the soil, the baby is taken under the care of a mother elephant, who will become his animal companion and bring the young boy to a journey, where he will discover at the same time the beauty of Nepal, and also how the human being is destroying its beauty by putting fire in it. At the end of his journey, he is welcomed in that sacred city, where he is worshipped like a God Child, before quietly continuing his journey with the elephant. Truth exists within the eyes of every child, and what is sad is that we all forgot that we had an inner child within us, since we are enrobed in that world of superficiality, lies and hypocrisy every day.

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Moscow and Paris

I remember having recently read an article regarding the unforgettable experience of a French tourist who visited Russia, and who went back to his country with so many Russian friends and wonderful memories, which encouraged him to come back again. And when he came back after several years, though the political relationship between both countries recently deteriorated, his same Russian friends welcomed him with arms wide open and with the same kindness and hospitality, regardless to the political tensions between the two countries. This is another part of truth that we tend to base ourselves on: We base ourselves on what our Leaders are showing us, all this because… The example comes from above. I don’t agree on that point. The example comes from both above and below, and there the example should come from below. If the simple French citizen befriended the simple Russian citizen, then why shouldn’t two political leaders of those same countries take example on their friendship, which is a simple and pure friendship without any bias? This is another example on how the human being, when he becomes popular, makes his life and relationships complicated, whereas a simple truth between that French tourist and his Russian friends could perfectly attract their attention to improve their political relationship, not only for them both, but also for their own nations.

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The VW Factory in Germany

 

Finally, I would like to share with you all another point: One day, I saw an interesting building picture taken in Germany, but which unfortunately I couldn’t retrace back to share it with you. Meanwhile, I saw the one above during my researches, representing the VW factory in Germany, and which was a transparent building. This picture reminded me of another transparent building, maybe one of the rarest ones, that we have in Mauritius, which is our famous Mauritius Commercial Bank Building in Ebene, where you can openly see people working and moving in total transparency, including in the office restaurant on the groundfloor. Buildings are also a proof of total transparency that people are making some honest work, and I pray that one day, The Elephant.Mu has a building like that. That Mauritian youth who had the good idea to create that concept is also the leader of two national movements, “YUVA Mauritius” and “La Voix Nationale“, and they also kept on proving since the very beginning that all what they do are in total transparency, regardless to whatever people may say against them. And if people talk against them, it’s simple: Because The Elephant.Mu, YUVA Mauritius and La Voix Nationale are proclaimers of the TRUTH, and because TRUTH really DISTURBS the Mauritian society, which prefers basing itself on sugar-coated appearances to be happy. But it’s time now for our society to change and to be settled on TRUTH BASIC, if we want our little island’s image to be taken as a perfect example of good governance and of good art of living for the Indian Ocean, the African Continent, the Commonwealth and the Rest of the World. So WAKE UP, Mauritius! And never feel sorry for telling the truth. Instead, be sorry for opting for the fake and change yourself. Because like Michael Jackson once sang, “If you wanna make the world a better place, just take a look at yourself, then make a change!”

Saturday Morning in Johannesburg and Soweto – RSA

A DREAMY WEEKEND IN JOHANNESBURG

During the weekend from Friday 01st to Sunday 03rd April 2016, since our son was on holidays in Mauritius with his paternal grandparents, my husband and I decided to spend a weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa. We departed from the Seychelles via an Air Seychelles flight at 09.30.am, local Seychelles time, and we reached Johannesburg after 4 hours of flight, during which we had a good meal on board and I could take some rest, because of my left ear which was causing me pain despite the medicines. But despite that ache, I didn’t care since we landed there. After we collected our luggage, a hotel driver welcomed us and brought us to the Protea Hotel in the province of Gauteng, where we had a wonderful stay, service and meals.

But the most interesting day I had during our short stay in Johannesburg was the whole Saturday morning, during which we roamed in the City Centre of Johannesburg, and also in several unknown places and regions, and we also had the pleasure to discover Soweto for the very first time.

A GLIMPSE ON THE HISTORY OF JOHANNESBURG

We started with a glimpse of the history of Johannesburg, especially known as a land of gold and the birth of the name of the town. The Wikipedia information below confirm whatever the tour operator told us about those two details

The main Witwatersrand gold reef was discovered in June 1884 on the farm Vogelstruisfontein by Jan Gerritse Bantjes that triggered the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the start of Johannesburg in 1886. The discovery of gold rapidly attracted people to the area, making necessary a name and governmental organisation for the area. Johann and Johannes were common male names among the Dutch of that time; two men involved in surveying the area for the best location of the city, Christian Johannes Joubert and Johann Rissik, are considered the source of the name by some. Johannes Meyer, the first government official in the area is another possibility. Precise records for the choice of name were lost.[13] Within ten years, the city of Johannesburg included 100,000 people.[17]

In September 1884 the Struben brothers discovered the Confidence Reef on the farm Wilgespruit near present-day Roodepoort, which further boosted excitement over gold prospects. The first gold to be crushed on the Witwatersrand was the gold-bearing rock from the Bantjes mine crushed using the Struben brothers stamp machine. Also, news of the discovery soon reached Kimberley and directors Cecil Rhodes with Sir Joseph Robinson rode up to investigate rumours for themselves. They were guided to the Bantjes camp with its tents strung out over several kilometres and stayed with Bantjes for two nights.

In 1884 they purchased the first pure refined gold from Bantjes for £3000. Incidentally, Bantjes had since 1881 been operating the Kromdraai Gold Mine in the Cradle of Humankind together with his partner Johannes Stephanus Minnaar where they first discovered gold in 1881, and which also offered another kind of discovery – the early ancestors of all mankind.[citation needed] Some report Australian George Harrison as the first to make a claim for gold in the area that became Johannesburg, as he found gold on a farm in July 1886. He did not stay in the area.[18]

Gold was earlier discovered some 400 kilometres (249 miles) to the east of present-day Johannesburg, in BarbertonGold prospectors soon discovered the richer gold reefs of the Witwatersrand offered by Bantjes. The original miners’ camp, under the informal leadership of Col Ignatius Ferreira, was located in the Fordsburg dip, possibly because water was available there, and because of the site’s proximity to the diggings. Following upon the establishment of Johannesburg, the area was taken over by the Government who had it surveyed and named it Ferreira’s Township, today the suburb of Ferreirasdorp. The first settlement at Ferreira’s Camp was established as a tented camp and which soon reached a population of 3,000 by 1887.[17] The government took over the Ferreira’s camp, surveyed it and named it as Ferreira’s Township.[19] By 1896 Johannesburg was established as a city of over 100,000 inhabitants, one of the fastest growth cities ever.

But what we mostly appreciated in that historical part of the city was when the tour guide mentioned that millions of years ago, there was a meteorite which fell on the place where the town of Johannesburg would be born millions of years later, and which brought those particles of gold in that city. But when I checked that information through some personal researches, the only source I could obtain was about the Vredefort Dome, but which didn’t directly concern South Africa: http://www.southafrica.info/about/geography/vredefort-080605.HTML#.VwVF0Pl97IU

We cannot forget about the richness of South Africa without mentioning Paul Kruger, and how he had been defeated since President Thomas Francois Burgers was elected President of South Africa, which brought Paul Kruger to be dismayed and which was one of the reasons of the battle against the Dutch regarding gold and diamond Here are some Wikipedia extracts also regarding the start of the defeat of Paul Kruger: Burgers busied himself attempting to modernise the South African Republic along European lines, hoping to set in motion a process that would lead to a united, independent South Africa. Finding Boer officialdom inadequate, he imported ministers and civil servants en mass from the Netherlands. His ascent to the presidency came shortly after the realisation that the Boer republics might stand on land of immense mineral wealth. Diamonds had been discovered in Griqua territory just north of the Orange River on the western edge of the Free State, arousing the interest of Britain and other countries; mostly British settlers, referred to by the Boers as uitlanders (“out-landers”), were flooding into the region.[71] Britain began to pursue federation of the Boer republics with the Cape and Natal and in 1873, over Boer objections, annexed the area surrounding the huge diamond mine at Kimberley, dubbing it Griqualand West. 

Nonetheless, the visit in general was announced as interesting and enriching, since we had the opportunity to visit several interesting places.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF JOHANNESBURG

While we were still in Gauteng, we arrived at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, a historic building fully made with red bricks. The very first thing which captivated my attention was the Flame of Democracy, which, according to the tour guide, remained lit 24/7, with a plaque showing a text illustrating the holiness of that flame of democracy. Here is its meaning I retrieved in an article defining it properly: The 16th of December 2011 marked the 15th anniversary of the signing of South Africa’s new constitution. To commemorate this auspicious occasion, a Flame of Democracy was implemented. The installation is housed at the threshold of the historic Awaiting Trial Toer along its east-west axis to the Constitutional Court entrance – this siting directly references the South African journey toward democracy. Comprising of an eternal flame and column of light – visible throughout the city – their symbolism stands in stark contrast to the doorway of the towers through which prisoners once passed.

I also snapped a wooden column with some sculptures on it, showing some messages derived from sign language from the deaf and mute people, who also had their part of importance in the constitution, and a colourful message in Afrikaans regarding that constitution, for which though I couldn’t retrieve some concrete sources. But to come to the deaf and mute, its importance was illustrated among the main prisoner portraits ornating the wall of the Constitutional Court of Johannesburg and who left their footprint in the history of that wonderful town. Here is the extract of the briefing by Deaf Federation of South Africa, dated 16th February 2007, recognising the South African Sign Language as an Official Language I quote: “The Deaf Federation of South Africa stated that it was approaching the Committee as a suggested first step in its quest to have South African Sign Language recognised as the twelfth official language of South Africa. Deaf SA represented around one million deaf and hard of hearing people in South Africa, for whom sign language was a first language. They were hindered from access because, although deaf schools were now finally teaching sign language, rather than trying to teach speech, and although the Schools Act had granted recognition for education purposes to sign language, it was still not officially recognised, which meant that other departments, institutions, media and facilities did not support such language. Deaf SA tabled other countries where official recognition was given and sought

Members raised questions on what sign language entailed, whether there were dialects, whether the language was universal to all deaf South Africans, and the numbers of profoundly deaf people for whom there were no options other than sign language as a means of communication Several members were concerned about the practical implications of the proposals, particularly for schooling, media and the courts. Questions also addressed access to translators and schools.

The Committee resolved to discuss the matter again in two weeks time. Deaf SA was asked to provide some further details.

The Committee would be meeting with a delegation from the German Parliament on 13 March to discuss the functioning of the Committee and constitutional changes made since 1996. A meeting on the submission proposing an increased Free State legislature would be convened once feedback had been obtained from the Western Cape legislature.

Here were the other prisoners, whose portrait ornates that same wall of prisoners and some references and extracts about their lives and their fight and activism against Apartheid and, for some of them, within the African National Congress (ANC):

– Christian De Wet :

De Wet took an active part in the peace negotiations of 1902. Briefly (30 to 31 May) he took on the role of Acting State President of the Orange Free State, when President Steyn had to leave the negotiations due to illness. De Wet was one of the signatories of theTreaty of Vereeniging. At the conclusion of the war he visited Europe with other Boer generals. While in England the generals unsuccessfully sought a modification of the peace terms concluded in Pretoria. De Wet wrote an account of his campaigns, an English version of which appeared in November 1902 under the title De Stryd tusschen Boer en Brit (Three Years War). In November 1907, he was elected a member of the first parliament of the Orange River Colony and was appointed minister of agriculture. In 1908-9 he was a delegate to the Closer Union Convention.[2]

De Wet was one of the leaders of the Maritz Rebellion which broke out in 1914. He was defeated at Mushroom Valley by General Botha on 12 November 1914, taken prisoner by Colonel Brits on 1 December, and sentenced to a term of six years imprisonment, with a fine of £2000. He was released after one year’s imprisonment, after giving a written promise to take no further part in politics.

De Wet progressively weakened and at length, on 3 February 1922, he died on his farm. General Smuts, who had become Prime Minister, cabled his widow: ‘A prince and a great man has fallen today.’ De Wet was given a state funeral in Bloemfontein and buried next to President Steyn and Emily Hobhouseat the foot of the memorial to the women and children who died in the concentration camps. On the hundredth anniversary of his birth, a bronze equestrian statue, by Coert Steynberg, was unveiled at the Raadzaal in Bloemfontein

– Mahatma Gandhi (more details about his imprisonment in South Africa on http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/mahatma-Gandhi-arrested-first-time)

– Albertina Sisulu, on whom the tour guide said that she was the one behind Mandela’s success: “Sisulu was co-president of the biggest internal anti-apartheid grouping of the 1980s, the United Democratic Front (UDF). Her husband, Walter, the man who brought Nelson Mandela into politics, served as secretary-general of the African National Congress (ANC) before going underground and hiding out at a farm at Rivonia, near Johannesburg, then being captured and sentenced to life imprisonment with Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders.” . As per what I understood from the tour guide, Sisulu’s house was a secret area in which she was secretly meeting members of ANC and South African Indian Campaign, especially in 1951 (Source: http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/Albertina-sisulu-time line-1918-2011).

– Robert Sobukwe (Source: http://www.southafrica.info/about/history/Robert-sobukwe-overview.HTML#.VwVOFvl97IU): I have no specific extracts to show for that wonderful man since the whole article is worth to be read thanks to his inspirational speeches and quotes.

– Oliver Tambo:

During his early years with the ANC Oliver Tambo was directly responsible for organising active guerrilla units. Along with his cohorts Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, and Walter Sisulu; Tambo directed and facilitated several attacks against unarmed civilians. Of which one of the most notable was the Church Street bombing on 20 May 1983, which resulted in the death of 19 civilians and the wounding of a further 217. In submissions to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1997 and 1998, the ANC revealed that the attack was orchestrated by a special operations unit of the ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), commanded by Aboobaker Ismail. Such units had been authorised by Oliver Tambo, the ANC President, in 1979. At the time of the attack, they reported to Joe Slovo as chief of staff, and the Church Street attack was authorised by Tambo.

The ANC’s submission said that the bombing was in response to a South African cross-border raid into Lesotho in December 1982 which killed 42 ANC supporters and civilians, and the assassination of Ruth First, an ANC activist and wife of Joe Slovo, in Maputo, Mozambique. It claimed that 11 of the casualties were SAAF personnel and hence a military target. The legal representative of some of the victims argued that as administrative staff including telephonists and typists they could not accept that they were a legitimate military target.

Ten MK operatives including Aboobaker Ismail applied for amnesty for this and other bombings. The applications were opposed on various grounds, including that it was a terrorist attack disproportionate to the political motive. The TRC found that the number of civilians versus military personnel killed was unclear. South African Police statistics indicated that 7 members of the SAAF were killed. The commission found that at least 84 of the injured were SAAF members or employees. Amnesty was granted by the TRC.

– Albert Luthuli :

Awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1960, Luthuli was allowed to travel to Oslo to receive the award the following year.

In his acceptance speech on 10 December 1961, Luthuli said: “It can only be on behalf of the people of South Africa, all the people of South Africa, especially the freedom-loving people, that I accept this award, that I acknowledge this honour. I accept it also as an honour not only to South Africa, but for the whole continent of Africa …

“Quite long ago my forefathers extended a hand of friendship to people of Europe when they came to that continent. What has happened to the extension of that hand only history can say, and it is not time to speak about that here, but I would like to say, as I receive this Price of peace, that the hand of Africa was extended. It was a hand of friendship, if you read history.”

In his Nobel lecture, delivered at the University of Oslo on the following day, Luthuli said: “How easy it would have been in South Africa for the natural feelings of resentment at white domination to have been turned into feelings of hatred and a desire for revenge against the white community.

“Here, where every day, in every aspect of life every nonwhite comes up against the ubiquitous sign ‘Europeans Only’ and the equally ubiquitous policeman to enforce it – here it could well be expected that a racialism equal to that of their oppressors would flourish to counter the white arrogance toward blacks.

“That it has not done so is no accident. It is because, deliberately and advisedly, African leadership for the past fifty years, with the inspiration of the African National Congress, which I had the honour to lead for the last decade or so until it was banned, had set itself steadfastly against racial vain gloriousness.

“We know that in so doing we passed up opportunities for an easy demagogic appeal to the natural passions of a people denied freedom and liberty; we discarded the chance of an easy and expedient emotional appeal.

“Our vision has always been that of a nonracial, democratic South Africa which upholds the rights of all who live in our country to remain there as full citizens, with equal rights and responsibilities with all others. For the consummation of this ideal we have laboured unflinchingly. We shall continue to labour unflinchingly.”

At the end of his lecture, after much applause, Luthuli sang the African anthem, “Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika”.

On 21 July 1967, while taking a walk near his Natal home, Luthuli was killed, reportedly when he was struck by a train.

– Joe Slovo:

Slovo was a leading theoretician in both the SACP and the ANC. In the 1970s he wrote the influential essay No Middle Road which stated that the apartheid government would be unable either to achieve stability or to co-opt significant sections of the small but growing black middle class – in other words the only choice was between the overthrow of apartheid or ever greater repression. At the time the SACP’s orthodox pro-Soviet and stage-ist view of change in South Africa was dominant in the ANC-led liberation movement.

Being Jewish and a Communist, Slovo was a demonised figure on the far right of Afrikaner society.

In 1989, he wrote “Has Socialism Failed?” which acknowledged the weaknesses of the socialist movement and the excesses of Stalinism, while at the same time rejecting attempts by the left to distance themselves from socialism. Slovo died in 1995 of cancer. In 2004 he was voted 47th in the Top 100 Great South Africans.

It was he who in 1992 proposed the breakthrough in the negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa with the “sunset clause” for a coalition government for the five years following a democratic election, including guarantees and concessions to all sides.

After the elections of 1994 he became Minister for housing in Nelson Mandela‘s government, until his death in 1995. His funeral was attended by the entire high command of the ANC, and by most of the highest officials in the country, including both Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

– Fatima Meer:

In 1946, Meer joined many other South African Indians in a passive resistance campaign against apartheid, during which she started the Student Passive Resistance Committee. She also helped to establish the Durban District Women’s League, an organisation started in order to build alliances between Africans and Indians as a result of the race riotsbetween the two groups in 1949.

After the National Party gained power in 1948 and started implementing their policy of apartheid, Meer’s activism increased; she was one of the founding members of the Federation of South African Women, which spearheaded the historical women’s march on the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956. As a result of her activism, Meer was first “banned” in 1952 (“banning” was a government practise that, among other things, limited the number of people a person could meet at any one time as well as a person’s movements and also prohibited a person from being published).[citation needed]

In the 1960s, she organised night vigils to protest against the mass detention of anti-apartheid activists without trial. During the 1970s she was again banned and later detained without trial for trying to organise a political rally with Black Consciousness Movement figure Steve Biko. She narrowly survived an assassination attempt shortly after her release from detention in 1976 when she was shot at her family home in Durban, but luckily not harmed. Her son, Rashid, went into exile in the same year. She was attacked again and blamed the second attack on the Black Consciousness Movement.[3]

She was a strong supporter of the Iranian Revolution and boycotted Salman Rushdie‘s trip to South Africa in 1998 claiming that he was a blasphemer.

– Sheila Weinberg

Weinberg was involved in her parents’ activism from an early age. She painted slogans and was involved in ANC and SACP activities after the organisations were banned in 1960. Both parents suffered periods of detention and exile for their political activities and during this time the young Weinberg was looked after by another activist, Helen Joseph.

In 1964, Weinberg was detained for the first time and held at the Johannesburg Fort prison under the 90 day Detention Act. At 19 years old, she was the youngest detainee in South Africa at the time. With her mother in a cell close by, Weinberg was held for 65 days and released without charge. She later served a jail term for painting a pro-ANC slogan on a public building.

– Lilian Ngoyi

She joined the ANC Women’s League in 1952; she was at that stage a widow with two children and an elderly mother to support, and worked as a seamstress. A year later she was elected as President of the Women’s League. On 9 August 1956, Ngoyi led a march along with Helen JosephRahima MoosaSophia Williams-De BruynMotlalepula ChabakuBertha Gxowa and Albertina Sisulu of 20,000 women to the Union Buildings of Pretoria in protest against the apartheid government requiring women to carry passbooks as part of the pass laws.

Lilian Ngoyi was also a transnational figure who recognised the potential influence that international support could have on the struggle against apartheid and the emancipation of black women. With this in mind she embarked on an audacious (and highly illegal) journey to Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1955 to participate in the World Congress of Mothers held by the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF). Accompanied by her fellow activist Dora Tamana, and as an official delegate of FEDSAW, she embarked on a journey that would see an attempt to stow away on a boat leaving Cape Town under “white names”, defy (with the help of a sympathetic pilot) segregated seating on a plane bound for London and gain entry to Britain under the pretext of completing her course in bible studies. With Tamana, she would visit England, Germany, Switzerland, Roumania, China and Russia, meeting women leaders often engaged in left-wing politics, before arriving back in South Africa a wanted woman.[6]

Ngoyi was not an intellectual, rather she was known as a strong orator and a fiery inspiration to many of her colleagues in the ANC. She was arrested in 1956, spent 71 days in solitary confinement, and was for a period of 11 years placed under severe bans and restrictions that often confined to her home in Orlando, Soweto.

– Nico Smith

In 1981, Smith could no longer keep his membership in the Afrikaner Broederbond in good conscience. He quit, and compared it to social suicide — many of his “friends” suddenly wanted nothing to do with him.[1] Smith began aggressively challenging apartheid in his classes, which drew the ire of his superiors who wanted him to “Teach theory, not conclusions.”[1] Smith joined public protests against the government’s bulldozing of squatter shacks in Cape Town, and he was called before a church commission to justify himself. Smith decided to resign his professorship and leave the DRC to join its separate coloured branch, the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa. Smith, together with his wife Ellen, became an anti-apartheid activist from that point onward. He began preaching in Mamelodi in 1982, a suburb of Pretoria designated for non-whites only at the time due to theGroup Areas Act. Smith eventually received rare permission from the South African government to live there in 1985, making him and his wife the only whites allowed to live in the area.[2] In Mamelodi, he not only acted as minister, but also as a community organiser and civic planner.[1] To encourage integration and interaction between the separated communities, he organised a further swap in 1988 — 170 whites moved into Mamelodi to live with black families, while 35 blacks lived in white homes in the suburbs of Pretoria. The exchange lasted four days.[2] At the time, few whites knew how blacks lived due to strict segregation rules. Black neighbourhoods were avoided and perceived as dangerous. Smith explained that he ran the swap because “White fear is one of the great barriers to understanding and progress in this country… But over the past two years there has been an increasing realisation by whites of the depth and the degree of black anger.”[3] The swap was attacked as “designed to promote Marxist doctrine”,[4] as nearly any opposition to apartheid was called a communist plot to destabilise the country. Smith also demanded an investigation into suspicious murders of anti-apartheid activists.[5]

In 1989, he moved back to a white suburb of Pretoria.[2] Smith’s South African model of the in-home meal and story sharing earned the 1989 Beyond War Award,[6] and inspired the sustained Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group in the United States.

– Finally, Nelson Mandela, the most popular of all, for which there is a complete article I am proposing and which is worth being read fully: http://www.morningsidecenter.org/teachable-moment/lessons/nelson-Mandela-fight-against-apartheid

After I snapped those pictures, I paid attention on a sculpture, “History” made by South African artist Dumile Ferni. I didn’t really have any information regarding that sculpture, but the way it has been made is a representation of the tragic part of apartheid, during which the Whites were dominating the Non Whites, treating them like animals, like that Black man pulling a chariot on which two uptown men, who seemed to be white men, were comfortably sitting. Regarding the artist himself, here are some interesting extracts I found on that link and how, through his masterpieces, he became a visionary of the tragedy behind apartheid (Source: http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/dumile-feni): ”

Described while in Johannesburg as the ‘Goya of the townships’, Dumile found his subject matter in the life and events he observed around him. Working primarily with graphic art in monochromatic hues, the artist had the ability and vision to transform the particular into the universal. His works also reflect his deep love of music, especially jazz. And even the disposition of the figures on the page is invested with musical rhythm.

Dumile was also an exceptionally gifted sculptor, skill that is clearly expressed in his art. Though executed entirely in a linear fashion, many of his drawings have a profound sculptural quality. The Study for the portrait of Albert Luthuli is an excellent example of this. It does not attempt to depict the final three-dimensional sculpture; instead, the drawing itself has intrinsic attributes to sculpture.

Albert Luthuli was a Zulu chief, teacher and religious leader that became president of the African National Congress from 1952 to 1967, and was the first African winner of the Nobel Peace Price for his efforts in waging a non-violent campaign against racial discrimination in South Africa. While in London, Dumile began working on this subject. Eventually he completed at least a drawing and two bronzes of this African icon. Dumile’s portraits are not conventional. And the Luthuli project is no exception. Rather than depicting naturalistic likeness, both the drawing and the sculptures are symbolic portraits of a great leader and a wise and noble man.

Dumile succeeded in imbuing his work with feelings of deep sympathy and humanity. As Justice Albie Sachs has pointed out, Dumile’s work embodies the ideals and values which we cherish in a democratic South Africa and which are enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

Then, we came inside the Constitutional Court, and one detail which astonished me was the representation of the chart of “Justice under a tree”. According to my personal researches, I found a small extract where the tree logo was chosen as a symbol of protection alike the constitution, I quote: (Source: http://www.constitutionalcourt.org.za/site/thecourt/thelogo.htm)

It depicts people sheltering under a canopy of branches – a representation of the Constitution’s protective role and a reference to a theme that runs though the Court, that of justice under a tree. The idea comes from traditional African societies: this was where people would meet to resolve disputes.

(…)

The symbol chosen in the end was the tree – something that protects, just like the Constitution. But this tree does not stand alone in the logo: it is sheltering people who have gathered under its branches.

Initially, it seemed, there were two options: people or a tree. Now it became one concept: a crowd of people standing beneath the tree, encapsulated in a circle. The department of public works then turned Parton’s logo into the large brass relief plaque that is now a compelling feature of the building.

Maybe this is why there are some benches inside the court, made with small tree trunks to symbolise that tree. According to the tour guide, the tree chosen was the baobab but I couldn’t find some sources to justify the nature of that tree. What also attracted my attention was the way the constitutional court was made with those old red bricks. According to Wikipedia, I quote: “The court building itself was built using bricks from the demolished awaiting-trial wing of the former prison.” (Source: HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_Hill,_Johannesburg#The_Constitutional_Court )

No one can really explain why the red bricks were chosen to build the Constitutional Court, but according to my conversation with the tour guide on that subject, maybe it was because of the bloodshed spread by all the prisoners and victims of apartheid that the red colour was chosen. Yet it remains an interesting point on which we should focus later.

Another detail caught my attention, regarding a small plaque on which it was written about the songs sung by the prisoners of the Old Fort Prison Complex near the Constitution Hill. According to that extract, I quote, Communal Cells: Overcrowded, dirty and badly ventilated cells lit by a small window only, was only a part of the brutal detention conditions. Ironically as authorities tried to break prisoners down, these communal cells became an area to build courage and discuss resistance including singing resistance songs to entertain, comfort and maintain solidarity. This was also used to defy the authorities.

THE OTHER FACADE OF JOHANNESBURG THAT TOURISTS DON’T WANT TO SEE, AND WHICH IS A SAD REALITY EXISTING

When we left the Constitutional Hill, we continued our town roaming and then the driver sent us to Hillbrow, a residential city near Johannesburg. I was very shocked seeing the contrast between the luxury of the multi-cultural areas of Johannesburg, with the extreme disorder and poverty within that city, for which most of the immigrants are illegal ones from other African countries such as Rwanda, Nigeria, etc, and who also live and operate in that city as illegal workers. I remember even, for example, about the tour guide who mentioned the Nigerian immigrants of that suburb mostly known for prostitution traffic there. Here are some extracts I found regarding Hillbrow’s story:

Hillbrow is an inner city residential neighbourhood of JohannesburgGauteng ProvinceSouth Africa. It is known for its high levels of population density, unemployment, poverty and crime.

In the 1970s it was an Apartheid-designated “whites only” area but soon became a “grey area”, where people of different ethnicity lived together. It acquired a cosmopolitan and politically progressive feel, and was one of the first identifiable gay and lesbian areas in urban South Africa. However, due to poor planning its infrastructure could not cope with the rapid population growth.[2] This, together with lack of investment led to an exodus of middle class residents in the 1980s and the decay of major buildings, leaving in its wake an urban slum by the 1990s.[3]

Today, the majority of the residents are migrants from the townships, rural areas and the rest of Africa, many living in abject poverty. An urban regeneration programme is underway. There are street markets, mainly used by local residents, and the Johannesburg Art Gallery contains work by major local artists including William Kentridge(Source: HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillbrow)

We also discovered some other curious details a few miles after Hillbrow which attracted our attention. Among them:

– Tekkie Town, a big shopping mall proposing great brands but for affordable prices: http://www.tekkietown.co.za/

– Markham Building (Source: HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markham_Building)

– The First National Bank (Source: HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_National_Bank_(South_Africa))

At about the same time, the government of the South African Republic desired to create a local commercial bank, due to the discovery of gold in Barberton and theWitwatersrand. The government thus created a bank through a concession agreement. The task of the bank was to focus primarily on financing agricultural development. A state mint was also established as part of the concession. The National Bank der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek Beperk (National Bank of the South African Republic Limited) was registered in Pretoria in 1891 and opened its doors for business on 5 April of the same year. After the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1902, the name of this bank was changed to the National Bank of South Africa Limited.

Due to another recession, the Bank of Africa was bought out by the National Bank in 1912, which had already bought out another bank, the National Bank of the Orange River Colony in 1910. The Natal Bank, which was founded in 1854 to fund the Natal Colony‘s sugar industry, also suffered financial difficulties and was taken over in 1914. By this time, the National Bank was now one of the strongest and largest banks in South Africa.

– The Star Newspaper (Source: HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_(South_Africa) )

We also drove all over a big sight seeing of gold mines. Among them, the Witwatersrand. I am very happy to write those lines there, since contrary to the beginning of what I wrote before, I didn’t find any concrete researches regarding the meteorite which exploded on that part of South Africa. But here are two extracts I retrieved and which explains the start of existence of gold and other minerals in those mining sites:

1) The vast majority of the Earth’s gold and other heavy metals are locked up in the earth’s core. Evidence from tungstenisotope studies indicates that most gold in the crust is derived from gold in the mantle which resulted from a meteoritebombardment some 3900 million years ago (i.e. at approximately the time that the Kaapvaal craton formed). The gold bearing meteorite events occurred millions of years after the segregation of the earth’s core.[9] The gold in the Witwatersrand Basin area was deposited in Archean river deltas having been washed down from surrounding gold-rich greenstone belts to the north and west. Rheniumosmium isotope studies indicate that the gold in those mineral deposits came from unusual 3000 million year old mantle-derived intrusions known as komatiite, present in the greenstone belts. 

2) Although gold had been discovered in various locations in South Africa, such as Barberton and Pilgrim’s Rest, as well as at several sites near the Witwatersrand, these were alluvial concentrates in contemporary rivers, or in quartz veins, in the form that gold had always been found elsewhere on earth. When George Harrison, probably accompanied by George Walker, found gold on the farm Langlaagte, 5 km west of the city of Johannesburg, in an outcrop of conglomerate rocks, in February 1886, they assumed that this was alluvial gold in an old riverbed, that had been tilted as a result of earth movements.[1][2] However, when it was found that, traced down dip, the conglomerate was not merely developed for the narrow width of a river, but continued in depth, there came the realisation that this conglomerating zone was part of a sedimentary succession.[1] Harrison had stumbled on the Main Reef conglomerate (part of the “Johannesburg Subgroup” of rocks — see illustration above). The conglomerate was quickly traced east and westward for a total continuous distance of 50 km to define what became known as the “Central Rand Gold Field”.

Harrison declared his claim with the then-government of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR), and in September 1886 President Paul Kruger issued a proclamation declaring nine farms public mining diggings, starting on 20 September 1886.[2] This heralded the historic Witwatersrand Gold Rush. Harrison is believed to have sold his claim for less than £10 before leaving the area, and he was never heard from again. Harrison’s original “Zoekers” (in English: seeker’s, or prospector’s) Claim No 19 was declared a national monument in 1944, and named Harrison’s Park.[11] The park is on the busy Main Reef Road, immediately west of Nasrec Road.[2] In 1887 Cecil John Rhodes registered “The Gold Fields of South Africa” in London, South Africa’s first mining house, with a capital of £250 000. His brother Thomas was the first chairman.

– Another place which is worth to be discovered, the 11 Diagonal Street Building of Gauteng. The most interesting aspect behind the history of that building is summarised in that extract, I quote: Diagonal Street and its surrounds developed into a racially mixed area in which trading continued despite the prescriptive Gold Law of 1908 and the Asiatic Land Tenure and Trading Amendment Act of 1919, which restricted land acquisition, trading and occupancy rights. Lack of enforcement of these laws was partly due to the fact that the town centre had shifted eastwards towards Rissik and Eloff streets, allowing marginalised races and religions to create the eclectic culture of Diagonal Street. (Source: http://www.gauteng.net/attractions/diagonal_street)

– The SAB World Beer (Source: http://www.worldofbeer.co.za/experiences/category/the-tour ) relating the history of beer worldwide and then in South Africa. The most details regarding South African beers will mostly been retrieved by booking for a tour from that site. But you can meanwhile find more details about the South African beer by clicking on the “More Info” under the paragraphs “Green Fields”, “Beer in the Cape”, “Heritage Hall” and “Soweto Shebeen”. While visiting Soweto, as per my notes you will retrieve later, the tour guide gave us a dark version about the damages that the Soweto Shebeen was causing to the Soweto population. However, I haven’t really understood the tour guider’s explanations about the local beer but according to what I understood, and what I need to check afterwards, there was a time where Soweto people were consuming a beer which was made with Soka, and that product was causing some disorders and brought people into committing violence. But I couldn’t find any information justifying that piece of information the tour guide shared with us, unless I come back to Johannesburg for more clearings about that point. But I found some information regarding the illegal shebeens the tour guide mentioned about and still illegally operating in Soweto by Shebeen queens (Source: HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shebeen#South_Africa)

Before we reached Soweto, the tour guide mentioned about Gauteng being a point of departure for Johannesburg people as a place of gold, as conclusion for what we already visited. Here is an extract about the province of Gauteng from which the capital city Johannesburg detains its incredible richness, not only for gold but also when it comes on lifestyle, education, economy, etc, I quote:

With a total area of 16 548 square kilometres, Gauteng is slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey. While it’s the country’s smallest province, it has the largest population, and by far the highest population density – around 675 people per square kilometre. (The Northern Cape, by comparison, has an average of around three people per square kilometre.)

A summer-rainfall area, Gauteng has hot summers and cold winters with frost. Hail is common during summer thunderstorms.

The people of Gauteng have the highest per capita income level in the country. The province blends cultures, colours and first and third-world traditions in a spirited mix, flavoured by a number of foreign influences. The world’s languages can be heard on the streets and in offices, from English to Mandarin, Swahili, French, German and more.

The province has the most important educational and health centres in the country. Pretoria boasts the largest residential university in South Africa, the University of Pretoria, and what is believed to be the largest correspondence university in the world, the University of South Africa, or Unisa.

Most of South Africa’s research and development takes place in Gauteng, which is home to many of the country’s core biotechnology companies. Leading research institutions such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Agricultural Research Council and the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute are based there.

Although the province is highly urbanised and industrialised, it contains wetlands of international importance, such as Blesbokspruit near Springs.

And it’s home to the Cradle of Humankind, one of South Africa’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. The region of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai and environs has one of the world’s richest concentrations of hominid fossils, evidence of human evolution over the past 3.5-million years.

SOWETO: SOWETO GO NOW (SO WHERE TO GO NOW?) ?

Our tour guide was the very first person who taught us that slogan “Soweto go now?” which is a parody of “So, where to go now?” But I don’t really remember what he meant through that quote and couldn’t find any information behind that slogan. Nonetheless, here are some interesting points that we have discovered about Soweto, for which you can retrieve those complete details on HTTP://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soweto .

Through that Journey to Soweto, we have learnt a lot of interesting facts which really make of Soweto a rich destination:

– The first thing we snapped when we arrived there was a sort of electric central in the shape of a freestanding house, but when I did more researches about it, I didn’t find anything and I hope to have more clearing about it during my next trip to Soweto. However, regarding the Soweto Power Plant also known as the Orlando Power Station, according to our tour guide, it was one of the monuments which was messed by the students during apartheid, since they were protesting to learn English and not Afrikaans, since that language was a symbol of South African discrimination, but I haven’t found any sources justifying that information.

– As we are mentioning about the student rebellions during Apartheid, as I wrote previously, according to our tour guide, the Black students of South Africa wanted to learn English but they didn’t have the right to learn English and were forced to learn Afrikaans language instead, like written in that extract, I quote (Source: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/south-Africa/language-policy-and-oppression-south-Africa)

In 1955, a policy of teaching in both English and Afrikaans on a 50-50 basis in the secondary schools was adopted. However, the shortage of black teachers proficient in Afrikaans (all teacher training schools for blacks are in English) allowed this policy to be carried out in only 26% of the schools. In 1976 the black Africans’ hatred of apartheid, and of Afrikaans as the “language of the oppressor,” came to a head in Soweto, a black “township” outside of Johannesburg. A school board there was dismissed in early February for resisting the imposition of Afrikaans. Protest began at that school and swelled over a period of months to the other schools, with the support of teachers, parents, and students.

On 16 June, 15,000 students marched in the streets carrying banners with such slogans as “Blacks are not dustbins – Afrikaans stinks.” At one point police opened fire on a group of these students starting a chain of violence in Soweto that lasted some months and left 172 blacks, many of them in their teens, killed by police bullets. The revolt touched almost every city and village in South Africa that year, reaching far beyond the language issue. Strikes closed businesses and industry, and in Soweto, the government-instituted Bantu Council was forced to resign.

But it seemed that the rebellion of students against Afrikaans learning was still getting on, even after end of Apartheid, like demonstrated in that video on the link http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/09/south-African-students-protest-Afrikaans-150902065344452.HTML. What is crazy, though, is that while South African students protest against Afrikaans learning, other countries are fond of wanting to learn that language, which they consider as the easiest language they ever learnt in life, like demonstrated in that article on link http://www.pagef30.com/2010/12/why-Afrikaans-is-also-easiest-language.HTML. I even saw a forum discussion on the link http://www.justlanded.com/English/South-Africa/Forums/Language/learn-Afrikaans and what was very shocking was about the ignorance of people behind their will of learning Afrikaans. It reminded me about a school friend of mine who was preparing her Baccalaureate exam in Linguistics and who chose Afrikaans as an additional subject for her exams. The question that I am asking myself though, though I didn’t find any sources on Google about that matter: The fact that foreign people want to learn Afrikaans without knowing about the tragic history behind the Afrikaans language, is that purely ignorance or is that directly or indirectly a sort of insult and offense to the Black South African people?

One of the biggest monuments and sites to visit regarding the students protests against Afrikaans and where we would end our trip later would be the Hector Pieterson Memorial. But before going there, the tour guide, still within the framework of the students rebellion against Afrikaans language, showed us two other monuments which were damaged by the students during the rebellion. The first one was the Regina Mundi Catholic Church of Soweto, which, according to the tour guide, was used by students for boycotting instead of going to school, like demonstrated in that extract, I quote ):

Regina Mundi played a pivotal role in the struggle against apartheid in the second half of the 20th century.[2] Since political meetings in most public places were banned, the church became the main place where Soweto people could meet and discuss. Even funerals often ended up as political meetings. For this reason, Regina Mundi earned the reputation of being one of the main centres of anti-apartheid activism in the province of Gauteng.[1]

During the Soweto uprising of June 16, 1976, when students were shot by the police in Orlando West (with Hector Pieterson and others being killed), many demonstrants fled to Regina Mundi. The police entered the church, firing live ammunition. No one was killed, although many were injured and the church itself, as well as its furniture, decorations, and symbols (for example the marble altar and the statue of Christ), were damaged. Both the interior and the external walls of the church still bear the signs of the shootings.[1]

After the end of apartheid, from 1995 to 1998, several meetings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were held in the church, presided over by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.[1] From 1995 on, funds were raised to restore the church. The campaign eventually collected 1.5 million rands, and restorations were made.[2]

The events of 1976 are commemorated by a dedicated ceremony held in the church every year on June 16.

However, when we came in front of the Regina Mundi Catholic Church, I forgot to ask the tour guide why the name of that church was Regina Mundi. But when I came back home, I retrieved a link expaining the origin of that name, the Regina Mundi being the Latin name for the Mother of the People. It was mostly symbolized by a painting made by artist Laurence Larry Sculy, “The Madonna and the Child of Soweto”, or simply “The Black Madonna”: http://interfaithmary.net/pages/Soweto.htm

Next to the Regina Mundi Catholic Church, I snapped a picture on a wall showing the extract of the Rivonia Treason Trial dated 20th April 1964 saying, I quote: “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 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.” As usual this detail arose my curiosity and I did some researches about Rivonia Treason Trial and found that link which explains everything, focussing mostly on the last paragraph, for which the lines written on that wall represent the final conclusion of which would become later a reality for Nelson Mandela after his release from Robben Island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_Prepared_to_Die. That speech was of a duration of 3 hours and was prepared further to which he was saved by 3 people from death penalty: George Bisos, the Greek who saved Nelson Mandela (Source: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/12/06/the-greek-who-saved-nelson-mandela/), Arthur Chaskalson (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Chaskalson#Career) and Bram Fischer, for whom Mandela paid tribute after his death in 1975 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bram_Fischer#Tributes). But despite having mentioned only about those 3 men, I saw 4 other additional men who were behind Mandela’s defence during the Rivonia Treason Trial and who are nonetheless worth to be known as well: Joel Joffe (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Joffe,_Baron_Joffe), Harry Schwarz (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Schwarz#Mandela_prison_visitAfter the 1964 Rivonia Trial, where Schwarz had been on the defence team and where his university friend Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, Schwarz was barred from gaining access to Mandela.[33] However, after Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison, various restrictions were lifted upon Mandela, including more lenient visitation rights. On 23 November 1989, Schwarz, following a request from Mandela, visited him in prison.[34] After his visit, Schwarz called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Mandela, stating that this was “in the interest of all South Africans – black and white – that this should happen as soon as possible”.), Vernon Berrange (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_Berrang%C3%A9#The_Treason_Trial) and Harold Hanson (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Hanson). According to the tour guide, Nelson Mandela acted as a spy in disguise to collect information and was living in a farm which was the headquarter of the ANC. The tour guide added that Nelson Mandela went to Europe to get some help and came back to South Africa via Morocco and Ethiopia, and then was arrested when he landed in South Africa. Regarding Mandela spying, I didn’t retrace any proofs aout what the tour guide told us, but I retraced a Wikipedia document about the Liliesleaf Farm in Northern Johannesburg, which was the secret place where Mandela was operating secretly and maybe spying (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liliesleaf_Farm) But I also saw some sources certifying that there were some foreign agents who operated and prepared Nelson Mandela to come to government and into his spying, such as Niel Bernard (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niel_Barnard), Israeli Mossad Spy Agency (Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/document-israeli-mossad-spy-agency-trained-young-mandela/2013/12/23/9979bc7e-6c1a-11e3-aecc-85cb037b7236_story.html) and the MI6 Headquarters in Brintain, for which Mandela denied the idea of being a MI6 man nor requesting their help into foiling assassination attempts (Source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/mar/23/nelsonmandela)

To come back to the rebellion of students against Afrikaans language, the tour guide showed us a police station with a green roof from afar while driving, where students used to manifest during apartheid. I don’t have any documentation regarding that police station, but maybe the link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Police#Upholding_apartheid will better explain the involvement of the police force during apartheid.

– When we ended our roaming by visiting the Hector Pieterson Memorial, unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum but I could take a few pictures out of the memorial place and retrieved some rich documentation regarding that young hero, among them the Hector Pieterson memorial (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Pieterson_Museum), the young hero Hector Pieterson himself who died in martyr during the student rebellion against Afrikaans language (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Pieterson) and the Soweto uprising (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soweto_uprising). But while doing researches, I found a very interesting document about Hector Pieterson’s mother and her decision to forgive what happened to her late son Hector Pieterson, and whom Mandela considered as a great heroine: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/revealed-woman-whose-forgiveness-after-2907567#vpOb227ZyreKvEFQ.97 and another one regarding Hector’s sister who was on the same snapshot screaming near her brother’s dead body carried by another student: http://www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com/culture/3882-hector-s-sister-tells-the-story-still-38-years-later-01. However, there was a plaque which captured my attention on the elder student who was carrying Hector Pieterson’s dead body, 18-year-old Mbuyisa Makhubu, which were words from his mother saying, I quote: “Mbuyisa is or was my son, but he is not a hero. In my culture, picking up Hector is not an act of heroism. It was his job as a brother. He left him on the crowd and somebody saw him jumping over Hector. He would never be able to live here.” Those words were from Mbuyisa Makhubu’s mother Ma’Makhubu. And there were very few proofs about what he became with lots of unclear information, such as his so-called emprisonment in Canada (Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2014/07/11/mysterious_man_in_canadian_jail_is_mbuyisa_makhubu_says_brother_of_antiapartheid_icon.html), family members haing perhaps found him back years later (Source: http://www.news24.com/Live/SouthAfrica/News/Family-believes-they-have-found-Makhubu-a-lost-apartheid-icon-20140813) and unanswered questions regarding him (Source: https://www.idfa.nl/industry/tags/project.aspx?id=71b5bc82-ed08-4e5d-a1cc-096b04848bc5&tab=dfs)

– While we were continuing our trip entering Soweto, we saw a series of male hostels for male workers. Those workers came to Soweto in the aim of having a better life living and could stay in those hostels for months all alone and away from their families, in very cheap and insecure conditions, like mentioned in that extract below, I quote (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1992/09/20/magazine/island-of-fear-inside-a-soweto-hostel.html?pagewanted=all)

In the terrible logic of apartheid, townships like Soweto were designed as great reservoirs of cheap black labor to serve the white cities. The hostels, which housed migrant workers from the apartheid-designated black “homelands,” served as a way of topping off this labor pool without allowing the permanent settlements to expand. A certain amount of alienation was implicit in this scheme. The townships were family communities. The hostels were bachelor quarters for men who left their wives and children back home, and who used the township the way a sailor uses a foreign port. The apartheid engineers often aggravated these tensions by grouping hostel dwellers along tribal lines.

“Meadowlands Black Residential Area,” as it was formally designated, is one of more than 200 South African hostels where an estimated million black workers still reside; it is one of eight hostels in Soweto, South Africa’s largest city. Meadowlands is an array of 650 rectangular, single-story buildings of concrete block roofed with corrugated asbestos, each built to house 16 men. They are laid out in rows, like military barracks, along rutted dirt alleyways. The hostel is bounded on the north by flattop hills of earth dug up in the search for gold, on the west by a swath of bombed-out buildings that separate the hostel from the township neighborhood known as Zone One, on the south by the two-lane extension of Soweto Highway and the neighborhoods of Killarney and Mzimhlope.

Then we arrived in front of the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, which was known, as per our tour guide, for the separation of two newborn twins with heads conjoined and where Winnie Mandela had been working for a couple of times before meeting Nelson Mandela. Before looking for proofs about what the tour guide said, here is a small introduction I found about the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital’s historic (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soweto#Chris_Hani-Baragwanath_Hospital): The Imperial Military Hospital Baragwanath, named after Cornishman John Albert Baragwanath, was built in 1941 during the Second World War to serve as a British Military Hospital. John Albert Baragwanath initially owned the situated site as a hostel, The Wayside Inn, until the British Government paid £328,000 to make it a hospital.[9] Field-Marshal Jan Smuts noted during the opening ceremonies that the facility would be used for the area’s black population after the war. In 1947 King George VI visited and presented medals to the troops there. From this start grew Baragwanath Hospital (as it became known after 1948), reputedly the world’s third largest hospital.[10] In 1997 another name change followed, with the sprawling facility now known as Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in honour of the South African Communist Party leader who was assassinated in 1993 by white extremists. Regarding the twins with heads conjoined, I could retrieve an article dated 1988, certifying that the surgery was successful, but the sad news was that only one twin sister survived and was perfectly healthy, whereas the other one died with pneumonia, one year after her birth: http://www.sahistory.org.za/dated-event/mpho-mathibela-one-siamese-twins-separated-operation-six-months-earlier-leaves-hospital-. Finally, I effectively retrieved a proof about Winnie Mandela working at that hospital, through that extract, I quote: She arrived in Johannesburg to study to be a social worker, doing her training at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. “Winnie was a remarkably effective and dedicated social worker,” writes Emma Gilbey in The Lady, The Life and Times of Winnie Mandela. “The patience and resourcefulness she had demonstrated with her younger brothers and sisters were now put to daily, professional use.”

(Source: http://www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com/nelsonmandela/3444-the-women-in-madiba-s-life). Sad though that I didn’t retrieve more sources than that regarding her short career in that hospital, but I think that a visit to that hospital would be worth knowing more about Winnie’s career as a trainee there.

– A little further, we discovered what the tour guide nicknamed with amusement the “Zulu McDonald”. It’s a place where street food is prepared with met freshly prepared before being cooked and then served to its clients. According to the tour guide, that kind of food was much far healthier than the fast food meals and that there were no chances to suffer from food indigestion nor food poisoning with such street meals. and at the same time those street foods are much more affordable and cheaper, like demonstrated by that article from Huffington Post (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ross-resnick/street-food-is-the-new-fa_b_405471.html) And here is an example of street food from Soweto, with the preparation of the Kota sandwich (Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cathyhuyghe/2013/12/09/street-food-soweto-style-preparing-the-famous-kota-sandwich/#52076dfb6a96)

– A little further, we discovered another interesting place in Soweto, the Freedom Square, also known as the Walter Sisulu Square (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Sisulu_Square) where we retrieved the Freedom Charter, which was created by the anti-apartheid activists. They were made with 9 columns, each of them representing the 9 provinces of South Africa and the 10th column the South Africa overseas, according to what I understood from the tour guide (Source for the Freedom Charter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Charter). Near the Freedom Square there was the Freedom Square Hotel, and according to the tour guide, it was possible for every nationality to book a room there and which is accessible with new equipments and fully modernized.

– When we left the place to go to Mandela’s House, the tour guide mentioned about an anti-apartheid South African artist, Brenda Fassie (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenda_Fassie) and one of her songs, “My Black President”, which was an anti-apartheid song and which was banned by the De Klerk government during apartheid because of its lyrics: Among several political tracks on the record was “Black President”, written around Mandela’s release from prison. It opened with the verse, “The year 1963/The people’s president/Was taken away by security men/All dressed in a uniform/The brutality, brutality/Oh no, my, my black president”. It was immediately banned by the de Klerk government. (Source: http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/blog/theres-much-more-to-brenda-fassie-than-her-pro-mandela-anthem) and according to the tour guide, Brenda Fassie was even the first black woman to have been cremated, whereas during apartheid the black people didn’t have the right to be cremated after death. I don’t have proofs about Brenda Fassie’s cremation but I retrieved a PDF document which certified cremation as a problem for Black South Africans, which can be doanloaded from site http://www.hts.org.za/index.php/HTS/article/download/492/391. Since during apartheid some artists didn’t have the right to involve politics nor their anti-apartheid activism in their song lyrics, they were forced to disguise their lyrics to sell their songs, at the example of Eddy Grant’s “Gimme Hope Jo’Ana” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimme_Hope_Jo%27anna)

– Before arriving at Nelson Mandela’s house, we drove near another national and international hero who acted against Apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, whom our Mauritian archbishop Mgr Ian Ernest visited several times in South Africa. There are so many things to say about that hero which would be insufficient to mention in that blog post but here were his roles during Apartheid (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Tutu#Role_during_apartheid) and since Apartheid in South Africa and worldwide (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmond_Tutu#Role_since_apartheid). I may post something soon about Desmond Tutu among the people who inspired me the most in another blog post later.

MANDELA HOUSE

Then we finally arrived at Mandela’s House, where we snapped so many of his personal documents, pictures, quotes retrieved on his wall banners, pictures of Winnie and her daughters, etc. I could feel by entering that little house, that despite its simpicity, it really meant to be a home for Nelson Mandela and his family and that all the walls of that house were speaking and revealing to me the life of tat wonderful hero when he said: “‘That night I returned with Winnie to No. 8115 in Orlando West. It was only then that I knew in my heart I had left prison. For me No. 8115 was the centre point of my world, the place marked with an X in my mental geography.

(Source: http://www.mandelahouse.co.za/history.asp) You can go on that link as well to have the complete details regarding Mandela House as well.

When we left Mandela House, the tour guide drove us to the final destination of our Johannesburg and Soweto roaming, the Hector Pieterson memorial which I mentioned before while talking about the student rebellion against Afrikaan language. While he was driving us, he mentioned abbout something regarding Winnie Mandela’s house which he showed us during our drive, and on which he precised that her house was to be given as a donation to some foreign celebrities such as late Khadafi from Libya, American actress Jane Fonda and Cuban President Fidel Castro. I am not sure about that matter but it saw an article which seems to illustrate what the tour guide said about that Winnie Mandela House, but which I need to make clearer with the gotour guide on my next visit to Johannesburg: http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2013/12/06/surviving-the-10-days-of-mandela-grief/.

– While we were still on our way to the Hector Pieterson memorial, the tour guide mentioned about a guy who used the sign language during Mandela’s memorial ceremony. But when I did my researches, most of the sources I obtained certified that sign language interpreter for being fake and even caused some complaints from the deaf community of South Africa: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/10510455/Nelson-Mandela-memorial-interpreter-was-a-fake.html but no one knew the reason behind his intentions unless he protested in a video where he admitted being attempted with schizophrenia but that he was following treatments against it (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xX44YFTpQ8). The tour guide also mentioned about the president who succeeded Nelson Mandela after his death, Thabo Mbeki, but I need to come back to Johannesburg to better understand the life of that man, whose I found an article regarding his rivalry against actual president Jacob Zuma: http://www.timeslive.co.za/ilive/2016/02/15/On-the-political-conspiracy-judgement-that-gave-us-Zuma-Thabo-Mbeki1.

Finally, before going back to hotel, while ending our visit to the Hector Pieterson Museum, I stopped at the souvenir shop and saw a few books on the lives of some national heroes, for which I did some quick researches since they also have their part of activism against apartheid and for the welfare and development of South Africa after apartheid:

– Eusebius McKaiser:

Eusebius McKaiser is a political and social analyst at the Wits Centre for Ethics. He is also a popular radio talk show host, a top international debate coach, a master of ceremonies and a public speaker of note. He loves nothing more than a good argument, having been both former National South African Debate Champion and the 2011 World Masters Debate Champion. His analytic articles and columns have been widely published in South African newspapers and the New York Times. McKaiser has studied law and philosophy. He taught philosophy in South Africa and England.

– Jay Naidoo (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Naidoo)

CONCLUSION:

In general, I really enjoyed that experience of my very first Johannesburg roaming and Soweto experience. Before leaving Johannesburg the day after, I met a waitress who was a native from Soweto, a few after I retrieved with great joy Margaret, another adorable waitress I befriended during my first holidays in Johannesburg for Christmas 2015. The waitress Margaret from Alexandra recognized me, and just after, Edna, the one from Soweto, befriended me and I left a little money for the both of them. They wer so happy that they filled me with their motherly blessings and hugged me very often with so much love. I pray that for our next trip to Soweto and Johannesburg, I succeed experiencing a half day or a day with Edna in Soweto to complete my experience there as a human one, and then with Margaret at Alexandra, which, I am sure, has its part of history too in South Africa, especially Johannesburg. I am very thankful also to Pat for all the information that he gave us during that tour for that very first expeirence that we did and during which I have learnt a lot of interesting things through him, in addition to the personal researches I did to verify Pat’s information. However, there are lots of points which I noted down, and which I would like to develop later for my next trip to Johannesburg since they remain either incomplete or unclear to me:

– I would like to know more about the history of beer by visiting the SAB World Beer

– Meaning of the red bricks in the Constitution Court of South Africa, especially why the red color was chosen to build that place as well as the previous prison.

-Does physical disability give you the right to do what you want? Especially when you know that no one can misjudge you? Case of Oscar Pistorius’s trial and the Indian one-legged dancer who was abused by her husband

– The new electric central at the entrance of Soweto: which link does it have with the other known Soweto power plant (Orlando Power Station)?

– Winnie Mandela’s career at the Chris Hani-B. Hospital: A place which is worth to visit since maybe we can obtain more details about Winnie’s career.

– Was the Orlando Power Station damanged by the students protesting against Afrikaans language learning during apartheid?

– The Liliesreaf Farm where Mandela was secretly operating and, at the same time, working as a farmer under a pseudonym, David Motsamayi, and which is a place worth to be visited too.

– Why, among the 7 Defence Lawyers in the Rivonia Treason Trial, should we focus especially on Chaskalson, Fisher and Bisos more than the other ones, as Mandela’s saviors against death penalty?

– Was late singer Brenda Fassie really the first black woman cremated in South Africa?

– Big Plan on Desmond Tutu’s life and achievements

– Was Shebeen beer made with Soka, which made of it a dangerous alcohol drink?

– Was Winnie Mandela’s house given as a donation to Khadafi, Fidel Castro and Jane Fonda?

– After Mandela: The rivalry between Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma: an instable presidency?

  • The beautiful love story between activist Jay Naidoo and his Quebecoise wife, the novelist Lucie Page

La Digue, Seychelles: An Experience to Remember

Beach of Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue Island, Seychelles

Some of you who travelled to Seychelles have indeed had the chance to watch on board of aircraft a small video showing us the Seychelles beauty, thanks to its most beautiful beaches, its green environment and life under the sea. But that video, if you remember well, is also a message for tourists to contribute to the preservation of environment in the island because of its fragile ecosystem. La Digue is an example perfectly showing how Seychelles love their country and really care about it. What is especially particular with the inhabitants of La Digue is their simple but clean way of living there.

The new boat in which we embarked from Praslin to La Digue

The tour guide wasn’t sure about it, but maybe the crosses on the rocks near La Digue Harbour

Is a homage to all the people who perished in shipwrecks near La Digue Island

Effectively, before we arrived on the island, we did a few researches about La Digue on Internet. We were astonished that the island only had 2000 inhabitants and that their lifestyle was more traditional than the lifestyle held on the Mahe Island. We also noticed that the main locomotion mode there was bicycles, and that the island had very few vehicles, apart some taxis, touristic cars and jeeps used as family vehicles. Otherwise most people bicycle or walk in general.

View of Sheikh Khalifa from Abu Dhabi’s palace on the Hill

PUC Eoliennes in Victoria, Mahe

A few beautiful sea views on our trip from Mahe Island to Praslin Island

When we arrived on the island, one of the strong points we noticed was the absence of pollution. The roads were clean, and even the few vehicles there didn’t produce any toxic smoke. We didn’t even notice some filling stations where we were bicycling. Also, less noise, less pollution… And more calm spirits within people!

On our way to the beach of Anse Source d’Argent. There were some wild tortoises living on those rocks freely.

We very often talk about the men’s effects on ecosystem, but we tend to forget to ask ourselves: what about the effects of the ecosystem over human nature? We obtained the reply through some inhabitants we questioned, among them a fruit seller, a teenage girl, the boss of the Ports Authority Office who welcomed us at our arrival and did the necessary to make us having a double bicycle (because I don’t know how to bicycle!!!!): All of them were calm, all of them were very nice, always smiling and relaxed. Here is what we have seen through the inhabitants of La Digue.

Let’s start with the guy who welcomed us at the Ports Authority Office, and who prepared for us some tuna sandwiches at our request when we arrived, because we were hungry. Though he was on duty, he found some time to have a good talk with us and behaved like a real gentleman with us. He was making sure, with a lot of patience, that we can have a double bicycle which would allow us visiting the island freely, and his patience brought its fruits.

A local habitation on La Digue Island

A bit further on our road, there was that sweet teenage girl named Emilie, who was snapped together with me, further to approval from her mother when I asked for her permission to snap her house and to make photos with her daughter. Their house was a traditional type of Creole habitation, far from the modern houses built with bricks. We have been snapshot by a nice Gujarati expatriate settled on the island for business purposes and who was as nice as Emilie. This proves again how a safe and sound environment is good for the human being, including the foreign population.

A stop for a fresh homemade juice at a fruit seller’s place

There was the fruit seller, who produced some fresh local fruit juice with fresh fruits that he mixed, while we were having a break before continuing our ride to the beach of Grande Anse. The reply given by Emilie and the fruit seller was the same, when we asked them whether they preferred Mahe or La Digue. Of course, it was La Digue, thanks to its calm and the security there, which differs from the rush of Mahe and the insecurity there caused by drugs, which unfortunately remains a problem against which the Seychelles keep on fighting regularly.

A glimpse on how La Digue people love environment: local artisanal products, riding all around

the island by bicycle so very few automobiles, a glimpse of the road and the beautiful clean beaches,

And the final picture showing me from afar, climbing to a Virgin Mary Grotto encrusted within some volcanic rocks

We also met a lady whom we asked the road to Anse Source d’Argent, one of the most beautiful beaches of the world… But unfortunately, that lady was mute, and it left us surprised! But what touched us was that, despite her muteness, the lady was always smiling and living a normal life courageously. A proof that in La Digue, people love each other in a safe and sound climate and environment.

We also acknowledged a lady, before we left Mahe, who was living next to a natural park where a bird spec called Veuve was living. The bird was named so, because of its black feathers, reminding about the widows of the previous years in Seychelles who used to wear black. For her part, she gave us a brand new version about La Digue: She preferred Mahe, because of the expensive life on La Digue. But she doesn’t seem to realise that the products sold on La Digue are certainly more expensive than on Mahe, because they come by boat and as their price also includes the sea freight. While translating that article in English (as previously I wrote it in French), I remembered a Nepali expatriate who owned the restaurant where we ate our pizza. They were at all only 3 staffs, IE him and two pizzaiolo from respectively Seychelles and India or Nepal. There was no tension between them and they were like a real family and good friends, and what was amazing was that it was one of the best restaurants recommended on Trip Advisor! The pizzeria was located in Gregoire’s at la Digue, and obtained a Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor, as per the link I retraced about it:http://TripAdvisor/Restaurant_Review-g477968-d22643…

When we however asked the Nepali boss about La Digue, he also replied that it was too quiet and that it lacked activities contrary to Mahe. A proof that La Digue doesn’t suit to busy people who love being in activity and this is what my husband confirmed while I asked him about living on La Digue. He also maintained that it wasn’t the best place for raising a child, again due to lack of activities, but it was the best way to relax or for living in after retirement.

Humans and Mother Nature: An important and vital connectivity

Some of my Mauritian compatriots shared their views with us after they assisted to a seminary about Eco tourism, which was held in University of Mauritius: “There was a talk and presentation by Mr. Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at MWF. He explained to us that Eco tourism is becoming more and more important in the world and that it’s in the government’s plan. Mauritius is very resourceful. He took one interesting example: He said if you see a pod of dolphins by chance, it’s a good thing. But if you take your boat, diving instruments, many people, this is not Eco tourism. The dolphins get scared and this disturbs their communication. And the reviews about Mauritius is great, be it a 3 4 or 5 star hotel, we offer great service. And people love Mauritius because of its homely environment. Children should be taught about the importance of nature and animals. He noted that children who visit zoos tend to become more curious about animals. And ask more questions. Later on, these children become wildlife conservationists. There are programs to protect the endemic plants and animals such as the kestrel“. There is a part of truth in what Mr. Tatayah said, and the pictures of La Digue perfectly illustrate it, with the population preferring bicycle or walking rather than vehicles. And what is interesting is that the tourists, for most of them, bring a strong contribution, preferring bicycling and footing rather than the comfortable vehicles at disposal of tourists, but which are very expensive!

A compatriot of mine was very often seen pictured with his home pets (rabbits, puppies, kittens, aqua tortoise), and even with some Savannah animals (giraffe, rhinoceros, elephants) and camels during some of his trips to Africa, whereas I have a picture of my young son befriending a small chick belonging to his uncle. Those two pictures show that there is no age to love animals. The compatriot is now a young adult man, and his love for animals is a proof that even when we grow up adults, if since childhood we have been properly trained to love and respect animals, it won’t be difficult for us adults to love them more.

This is why I get angry inside myself each time I hear my surroundings telling me to be careful with my son’s hygiene when he wants to befriend animals… And this since the episode of the snails when he wanted to take care of a snail he retrieved in our house owner’s garden in Seychelles! The fact that my son fell in love with that white little chick is also a proof that, when it comes on animals, children are our best teachers, because through their innocence, children perfectly know how to communicate with animals and better understand them.

As I mentioned too in some comments about that debate, lots of people pay expensive fees to assist to the yearly festival of whales on the island of Ste Marie in Madagascar, using traditional ways of sailing to avoid making the whales running away. Mr. Tatayah was right to blame the use of motor boats, which are a source of danger and disturbance for the dolphins, and which don’t allow them communicating nor understanding between each other properly.

Regarding children who are more curious about knowing about animals, yes it’s true… But even adults are curious too. That compatriot of mine, for example, when he enjoys himself with the Savannah animals while he is on trip to Africa, simply because since childhood he has been correctly trained and encouraged by his elders for cultivating love for animals. Also it proves that there is no miraculous formula, apart comprehension and cooperation of adults towards children.

And imagine the pleasure of playing with dolphins or whales in such occasions? Enigma sang it very well in the 90’s, “Remember the Shaman who said that man was the dream of the dolphin”. Dolphins see in us their dearest dreams and want to become our friends. However in some countries, those same animals are tortured for business! Animals are killed before extraction of their skin and flesh for industrial and commercial reasons, and among them polar animals in North Pole, whales killed in Scandinavia, tortoises or dogs killed for being consumed as food in Asia… Nothing to do with the Savannah animals with which my compatriot was playing in Africa, or the local tortoises conserved on rocks retrieved on the road to Anse Source d’Argent at La Digue.

Another compatriot of mine commented those lines, I quote: “Well, we should in fact lay more emphasis on sustainability as it promotes positive environment ethics, it does not also degrade the resources and therefore benefit the wildlife and environment.” Further to what she said, however, Mr. Tatayah seems to have forgotten a detail: The attitude of the Mauritians and of humans in general over environment. In some regions of the island, we still notice the pitiful attitude of some inhabitants, who despite the increasing number of facilities proposed by the country on recycling, and the numerous campaigns organised in the country for preservation of environment and sanctions taken by government itself. Especially when we notice the drains full of wastes accumulating every day, and which produce dust, infections, bacteria and disease in the neighbourhood regions, and the inhabitants who always keep on giving all wrongs to the Government and to the Ministry of Environment, instead of trying, for each of them, to bring his or her personal contribution into improving the state of the region and organising some cleaning operations in the region. The attitude of the human being is also a source of important contribution into the preservation of a safe and sound environment in the country.

Here in Seychelles, there is the Vallee de Mai in the island of Praslin, known as a natural reserve where it’s agreeable to go for a healthy walk in total contact with Mother Nature, and which sponsors the Aldabra project launched by Minister James Mancham for preservation of the marine tortoise living on that small island from archipelago of Seychelles, which is on its way to disappear due to the increase of waters.

Railway of Konkan, Maharashtra

Green Maharashtra

Narendra Modi also launched a cleaning campaign in India after his nomination, and openly showed himself with a broom in his hand and cleaning the roads. South India followed his campaign successfully and is doing its very best to preserve its environmental cleanliness. But there is still a long way to go in India to have such a spirit about cleanliness… Especially in Mumbai and the pitiful state of the beaches, due to the indifference and passivity of the inhabitants, who unfortunately contributed into making of that beach a public dustbin! Such known towns like Mumbai unfortunately contrast totally with some regions very few known in Maharashtra, where green and cleanliness co-exist such as the beautiful region of Konkan, where one of my sisters of heart comes from, showing us a green, clean and safe environment. Here is an interesting link with lots of details about that beautiful region of Maharashtra to know more about it, and on which I will develop about that beautiful region as soon as possible after I reassemble all my sources all together: http://divcomkonkan.gov.in/asp.net/visitor/history.aspx.

Alison Teal

Finally, another deplorable aspect to take note about: The way people lie about the image of some touristic worldwide regions to attract tourists, whereas those regions present their medal reverse. I once mentioned about the Maldives which have an island where all the wastes coming from other islands of the archipelago are stocked and afterwards abandoned. Some foreign people launched in their way a sensitization campaign regarding that polluted island, at the example of that ex-reality show star Alison Teal like in the pictures shown in the article below: http://www.dirtbagdarling.com/girl-gone-wild-naked-and-afraids-alison-teal/

True Prophets vs Fake Prophets

Click here to get the whole collection of quotes I collected about true and fake prophets

A local celebrity and compatriot of mine once wrote on his Facebook page timeline, I quote: “By proving others wrong, you certainly don’t prove yourself right. You prove how low you can stoop. Life is not a competition; it’s a celebration. Don’t win the battle of life by being the cause of failure for others. Win it by being the source of inspiration for others to succeed.”

FAKE PROPHETS

In that text, I will first comment on the first part of that post, which has a link with the fake prophets who knock on our doors: “By proving others wrong, you certainly don’t prove yourself right. You prove how low you can stoop.”Then in another post I will comment about what are true prophets.

As I was talking about that compatriot of mine, I remember that I have been informed by him, a couple of months ago, that someone was trying hard to compete with him since years, but not competing to be a source of inspiration for others, but only to satisfy his own ego. Thanks to the quotes I retrieved on Google, you will better understand the truth behind that personage, and at the same time be better aware about fake prophets who knock at the door of your life.

Let’s first consider that quote from the Holy Bible: “Beware of the false Prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but who inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Holy Gospel of St Matthew 7:15-16).This is exactly like this that unfortunately, lots of people still consider society : When you are always well groomed, always elegant, always with a smile upon your face, people still think that you are a respectful person. But I apologise for my frankness, it’s not always true. There is a French quote which says “L’habit ne fait pas le moine”. By experience, my husband had that bad experience when he was working in Mauritius. I had so many fights with him, because he still believed in the old-fashioned school that, when you were a shirt which is impeccably ironed and that you wear a tie, you give a positive image of yourself in society. When my husband started working after university, he was then taught to wear a shirt and a tie to go to work. One evening, my husband’s younger brother did a scandal because their father made the car dirty, and he asked their father to tell my husband to wash the car! My husband’s father then got angry and told my young brother-in-law “You fool! Don’t you see that your brother is wearing a shirt and a tie, and that he is already working hard? Why do you think he is wearing a shirt and a tie? Because he has been studying hard, he has been working hard, and he has so many responsibilities that he comes back home tired after a hard day at work, and would prefer relaxing instead of washing the car!” It was true in the past… Not anymore alas! My husband, though, took a lot of time to understand that things changed. He always believed in his ex-boss, all this because he was wearing a shirt and a tie in office and that his clothes were all the time perfectly ironed! Also, each time that my husband’s clothes were not perfectly ironed, there were big fights at home as he always worried about his image through that shirt he would wear at office! He was like that until he came to discover his boss’s true colours, as an arrogant and disrespectful person, who openly showed the company his relationship with his mistress whereas he had a beautiful wife who made everything for him at home, and who didn’t even hesitate to decrease the little workers in the factory because of the degrees he had and that the little workers didn’t have! Thank God that lesson was a big slap for my husband, and thank God, since that, he changed a lot since we moved to Seychelles and that he doesn’t have anymore to wear a tie for office!

The second quote says that thing: “Should you find yourself victim of other people’s bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities, remember this : things could be worse. You could be one of them!” Personally, I have been myself victim of so many people, who pretended to love me and to cherish me with a so-called sincere heart, but who instead befriended me with benefits to satisfy their own ego. I remember especially a South Indian fake friend of mine who did that to me so many times. At the beginning, he was earning his life as a hotel police in Chennai, until he was victim of some rogues who wanted to attack the hotel and who did some deadly menaces to him! As a true friend, I comforted and supported him a lot and he could always have my shoulder to cry on. He even tried to look for jobs, and thanks to his own efforts he could become a trainee in another hotel in the gym section. Unfortunately, after a few months only, he resigned again because his boss was misusing him as a slave! Also instead of looking for another job… He wanted to stop working and was forcing me to work for him to transfer him money, especially for his birthday!!! I was feeling so guilty that I was madly looking for online jobs to help him, but when my efforts turned vain and that I told him frankly I didn’t find anything, he took his distance from me and managed with a driver job for the account of a construction project, because he urgently needed money! But since then he became arrogant with me, and though he was earning his life well, he kept on fooling me and came to me only for money purposes, for afterwards rejecting me like an old pair of socks when I couldn’t help him… And by coincidence, I don’t know whether I could interpret that as an insult to me, he once made a selfie where he was proudly holding lots of cash money in his hands, and there was a glance of pride and arrogance shining in his eyes, which had nothing to do with the usual sweetness he had in his eyes in the past, and which elapsed away! A proof that as long as some frustrated people know you are always friendly, they will easily misuse you for satisfying their ego and calming down their frustration, but the day you won’t be able to satisfy those people, they will start treating you like a vulgar piece of shit!

Now let’s take a look on the third picture: “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the Church will have Clowns entertaining the goats”. Have you heard about the villainous character of the Evil Clown that you retrieve in some horror movies from the 80’s, and who are in reality some fake clowns pretending to be there to amuse you, but who instead are clowns in disguise who have the power to kill innocent humans or abusing of them? In reality life, those kind of clowns also exist, but in the shape of angelic clowns! I remember that when I was on holidays last year in Paris together with my little family, we met a French friend of ours who was an ex-colleague of my husband’s in Madagascar. He was accompanied with two children who were the children of his concubine. One of them befriended me very quickly and at a moment, we stopped in a cafeteria to have a hot drink. There, through the window, we saw a clown amusing the audience in the streets. I don’t know why but I felt something very fishy in that clown because it wasn’t normal that he was amusing the audience in a public place which was not settled for him, instead of an animation place. Then the little boy who was with me related me that in his hometown Lyon, one day there was a clown like this who tried to approached him, and who even nicknamed him “Small Gherkin” by discreetly showing to the little boy his middle finger!!!! I immediately understood the message behind that, and immediately understood that this so-called clown was a paedophile and wanted to abuse the little boy! But thank God the little boy related everything to his parents and was warned about which kind of person that fake clown was!

Another illustration that clowns even know how to hide themselves, is that those clowns in reality are people with a lot of problems and who hide behind a mask as people who are always happy, though their hearts deep inside is bleeding. This is a proof of how people who hide with a smile on their face are not always manipulators, but they can also be people who have no other choice than hiding their pain as they are alone and misunderstood all the time. For those who understand French, have a look on the lyrics of French singer Soprano’s new song “Clown”. In the clip he applies clown make-up but the message is clear, he makes people smiling and he keeps on smiling but deep inside he is a soul in pain. Here are the lyrics in French, but for which I can bring a translation soon:http://www.paroles.net/soprano/paroles-clown. I also had the opportunity to read the draft of a book written by a friend of mine, Mauritian writer and painter Melissa Rivet, called “Le Cirque de la Vie” (The Circus of Life). That story relates a conversation between a businesswoman and an old man who are having a conversation together. The businesswoman is always busy running here and there like most of us, whereas the old man keeps on sitting under the tree, staring at the cars coming and going. But when they sat together, the old man related his past to the businesswoman: He said that he was the director of a circus troop in the past, but he was always busy making money thanks to his characters. Among his characters there was one of them who was performing acrobatics, and it was thanks to him that the circus was successful! But that acrobatic person was someone who was suffering a lot because he had a lot of problems, and he only wanted one thing, to stop doing acrobatics and leaving his own life, because he was fed up of his job and the fact that he had to be superficial with the audience to amuse them, only to satisfy the director’s ego! Then the director took a hard decision, which was to give back to the acrobatic man his freedom. The man was very happy since he resigned from the circus, but since that, the circus lost its popularity, but brought to its director a strong life lesson that life doesn’t mean business and that people should never be misused to satisfy other people’s ego because they also have a life.

Let’s see now that little newspaper title “A pretty face doesn’t mean a pretty heart”. Unfortunately I had difficulties to access to the original link where that picture was taken from, but I have a perfect example to give to all of you, about a public figure, whom I will though hide the identity as information about him are very sensitive. One of our members told me how her cousins fall for this guy… Because he is attractive physically! Because according to what was reported about him, he knows that he is good-looking and charming, and he is using his own charms to attract girls. This is what fake prophets are made of, and it is again proved in the Holy Bible in the last picture quote I attached, saying I quote: “Sugar coated preaching is dangerous to your soul”. Have you ever seen the mermaids in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” ? It’s exactly in that way that they attracted the pirates who have been shipwrecked in the ocean. Those pirates were all alone in the ocean, when suddenly some beautiful mermaids surrounded them slowly but surely, with hugs, kisses, caresses… Until one of them turned her angelic smile into a demoniac attack where she opened widely her mouth and showed her two vampire canines to bite one of the pirates! This is exactly how those kind of people attract us… Spreading sugar all over our pathways, until they satisfy their hunger by devouring us! Meanwhile, here is an extract of a blog post I once wrote, which I would like to share with you, I quote: “Sugar is extracted either from the beetroot or the sugar cane… For this, HUMANS must produce them, harvest them and send them in industrial factories, with heavy industrial machines, equipment and workforce. Even though those factories receive then a lot of financial and material benefits and allows all workers to have a decent salary… the product itself is sold, consumed and used in our metabolism as a poison killing the human race softly, as it will bring the human metabolism the worst diseases regarding their health: diabetes, stress, hypertension, ulcer, etc. And then other new expenses are coming up through the medical, clinic, hospital and pharmaceutical fees, which are extremely expensive!”. I also quoted ” Very few people who try hard with their own weapons to succeed in life, and most people using all sorts of coverage to get their way : corruption, belonging into a religious sect, Freemasonry, mafia, drug dealers, prostitution, politic coverage… All sorts of Fake Heavens surrounding the human being everyday, helping them to take the easiest way… But unfortunately no one seems to realise that those fake Heavens are our roads to Hell!” All this because they are attracted by easiness, which looks like sugar, and they don’t realise they are going the wrong way.

Those examples perfectly illustrate my compatriot’s quote and once more prove how the road to truth is a road which is difficult, but that you will find easy if you do it with a pure heart and fighting spirit. So are you ready to walk on that difficult but powerful pathway to Heaven? Are you more aware now about the fake prophets who have been knocking, are actually knocking or will knock on your door in a near future?

TRUE PROPHETS

Previously, I commented about my friend’s post about Fake Prophets, which perfectly illustrated the first part of that compatriot’s quote: “By proving others wrong, you certainly don’t prove yourself right. You prove how low you can stoop.”. But in that second part of that text, I will comment on second part of that compatriot’s quote, “Life is not a competition; it’s a celebration. Don’t win the battle of life by being the cause of failure for others. Win it by being the source of inspiration for others to succeed.” and teach you, through that quote and through some personal researches that I did before, what is the meaning of being a true prophet.

While looking for some pictures, that quote captured my attention, saying“Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith”. There I recognised nonetheless the good shape of that compatriot’s personality. Since that person who tried to compete with my compatriot tried to fool one of my compatriots’ followers to make him getting away from my compatriot and instead following his steps, my compatriot decided to confront that person who made of him his adversary, whereas my compatriot never competed with anyone. At first, the person denied everything, but afterwards was forced to recognise his part of mistakes. I don’t know though if that adversary apologised, but my compatriot decided to forgive him, and he even mentioned that this guy was also one of his “friends”. Here were the words that my compatriot said about that person during a chat session I had with him a couple of months ago regarding this adversary, I quote: “When it comes to my image, I take it as a serious concern. He denied all accusations though, but I warned him about the implications of citing things against me. (…) He knows that I’m aware of this and he will make sure to never repeat such mistake again.” But despite the seriousness of that guy’s mistake, my compatriot proved that he had nonetheless a big heart and decided to forgive him and to turn the page of that chapter once for all. But I couldn’t keep quiet about that adversary and decided to tell all my compatriots’ supporters about that adversary’s true colours and bad intentions against my compatriots, and here were my compatriot’s words after I informed all our common friends and supporters about that guy’s tricks and before my compatriot confronted that person: “It’s important to understand that I am in competition with no one, and therefore shall never utter a word that will cause harm to someone’s image. In light of this, (…), a friend of mine, supposedly said things against me. This is a sign of fear. I forgive him, no matter what. I am in communication with him on this subject because when things come to my image, I think you all know, I will make sure this is never repeated by the same person. On this note, I ask you all to remain calm. I have nothing personal against him and I don’t want you either to have something personal against him. It’s a matter of philosophy and principles. His principles may be gaining power through people. Mine is empowering people.” When you have a clean heart and that your image is spoiled by insane people, the best way for you is to confront those people… And that was what my compatriot did, and I am sure that this guy who made of him his adversary didn’t even expect that my compatriot would be aware about his tricks sooner or later. It proves also that when people try to fool other people, they are also fooling God Himself, and they don’t realise that God will show the truth sooner or later to the ones who really respect and represent Him. And this is the biggest quality which defines a true prophet.

2) Here is a second quote I saw while doing my researches about true prophets, a graffiti scripture saying: “Real Eyes Realise Real Lies”. Very poetic but very meaningful also. And when I read it, I did some researches and discovered that they were lyrics from American rap singer Tiny’s song “So Nice”. The song mostly relate about the rapper’s previous love relationship, where he faced a horrible breakup with his loved one. He appears in the lyrics to be bitter, heartbroken and also feels himself dirty for having been trapped into that fake love. The lyrics are poetic and at times vulgar, but they represent the perfect metaphor of how we would have felt if we trusted fake prophets. And true prophets perfectly know the meaning of being veiled by the fake, and suddenly seeing the fake disappearing in front of our eyes and then making us discovering the bitter truth hiding behind the sweet illusion. Unfortunately, those true prophets are hated because no one want to accept the truths they spread to us, but instead, people tend to listen to the fake prophets with sugar coated mouths and then get easily trapped. In the lyrics of the song, here is an extract where I especially paid my attention, I quote: “They say real eyes, realise, real lies but how come you never knew they were untrue All the shit you heard, false as well as fake Your water’s the only thing that I wanna break Having my little yout, another little you Read between the lines them big lies hold in little truths” And in those lyrics, the rapper is clear on one point : If you know how to read between the lines or among the words that people tell you, if you have the heart of a true prophet of love, you can easily detect the truth, which is in small particles, and the lies, which are more numerous.

3) A third quote also attracted my attention is that quote from Yoko Ono, whom some of you may have heard about, as late John Lennon’s widow. There, she really recognised the true prophecy within artists, and it also applies to Hip Hop artist Tiny. Artists have a way, through their song lyrics, to express in a poetic way the things that are always remained untold in real life, whereas those things are totally true, but no one has the courage to spread the message properly. I invite you to discover a collection of John Lennon’s collection of quotes:

John Lennon, through those quotes, was known for being a big dreamer. He has been practising also Buddhism and Hinduism and even studied the Holy Bible, as he was constantly in search of truth everywhere. I especially enjoyed to of his lyrics, one saying, I quote: “I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.” ― John Lennon Where he mentions clearly that he is not superficial and that he is what he is, however people may appreciate it or not, and another one saying, I quote: “If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.” ― John Lennon Meaning that whoever he may be at the eyes of others, he doesn’t care, as long as he is conscious about the fact that he knows who he is, what he thinks about and what his visions are. This is the third quality of the true prophets : They don’t care for what they are, as long as they are conscious that they are sincere with themselves before being sincere with other people. A true prophet, though he was at some moments offended that some insane people misused his image, deep inside doesn’t really care, as long as he is conscious that deep inside himself he has a clear heart.

4) Here is another quote which paid my attention, saying: “We must believe what is good and true about the prophets, that they were sages, that they do understand what proceeded from their mouths, and that they bore prudence on their lips”. I also totally agree with that quote. True prophets, before they say anything, always take time to meditate on themselves before spreading their words. They are the kind of people who have the art of talking to the man they see in the mirror every morning before starting the brand new day coming. They are the kind of people who have the art of meditating with themselves and always continuously putting themselves back in question before going to others. That was what my compatriot always used to do. I saw so many pictures of him dreaming, praying, meditating, closing his eyes and being deeply concentrated or in reflection. He even once wrote that quote: “I dive deep in the echoes of my mind and I listen carefully. The quieter I become, the more I can listen to our long spoken and unspoken conversations. I force myself into presuming that you are around and I silently complete conversations that were once left incomplete.” True prophets are also good listeners, and don’t always keep on talking all the time, and this is an art that very few people have in life. The true prophet is also the one who shuts up, listens carefully and gives you the intelligent reply to what you tell them. And through this way, they learn how to “introduce themselves to their self”, like my compatriot mentions in his quote in attachment saying “Introduce yourself to your self. That’s what life is all about”.

5) Finally I saw that long quote about pop culture prophets and their philosophy behind the success of their albums. They showed, through that text in attachment, another lesson, which is the meaning of progression. I especially enjoyed the extract where they said, I quote: “We started the band thinking that the world was ugly, but it’s more beautiful than we thought. Take it from a band who used to think everything was miserable. But we’ve found that it’s not”. A true prophet, through the difficulties of life, will never complain about the difficulties of life, but will rather take the positive lessons learnt from those experiences and share them with their audience and followers, as well as a pop culture band can find the beauty hiding behind the ugliness. See for example a shell in the sea. It doesn’t look attractive at first sight if we look at the shape of the shell. But nonetheless, we are conscious about the beauty of the pearl that it hides deep inside, and this is what makes the shell appearing sacred and beautiful. True prophets know how to make us discovering the beauty behind the ugliness, the good behind the bad, the easy behind the difficult. But some true prophets also are represented as repulsive physically, but deep inside so beautiful hearts and souls. See the hermits and shamans for example, who appear scary at first sight, but who have the power of unlimited truth within themselves and inside their words. And there are also some true prophets are above all simple people like you and me, but with a great soul and great divine teachings. See the Lord Jesus Christ, for example, who is a real prophet of truth, though he was a simple carpenter coming from a poor Jewish family. Prophets who appear in luxurious clothes are not forcefully true prophets, but the fact that they hide behind their chic can easily fool people. Here are five lessons we should learn to recognise a true prophet :

1) True prophets are kind-hearted people who have the gift of forgiveness and generosity even towards their worst enemy. And the fact that my compatriot still mentioned that guy who made of him his adversary a “friend” is a big proof of maturity and generosity. I admit myself I was shocked when I read he considered that guy as a “friend”, but when I thought about it, I recognised my compatriot’s superiority behind such generosity.

2) True prophets are hidden within artists, because they have the gift of expressing things that should remain untold. My compatriot may not be a singer, but as he writes books and poems, as he also took part in some shows a couple of years ago and showed his hidden talents by playing music, he showed the artist laying within him, and succeeded as well expressing the untold things.

3) True prophets are big dreamers. We always criticise people who dream a lot instead of living in reality, but in fact, people who dream a lot have the gift of seeing the truth with the eyes of the heart, whereas people who only remain stuck to reality are living in total illusion, but they don’t seem to realise it. I also invite you to discover the lyrics of a great electro pop song I always loved listening to, as the lyrics really captivated my attention, because there, British singer Tina Cousins perfectly describes the mystery behind life and time. The song is “Mysterious Times” from Sash and Tina Cousins and was always among one of my favourite songs of all time during my university years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwTiBOf_yVI

4) True prophets are careful people who have the gift of prayer, meditation and careful listening, while talking to the person they see in front of their mirrors, before talking to other people.

5) Finally, true prophets have the gift of bringing progression from the darkness to the light.