Grade 8 english 3rd quarter poems, stories and other
FOR THE 3RD QUARTER
TABLE OF CONTENT
Ali Baba and the
The Story of Ruth
The Song of
Prayer for Burma
The Country‘s Good
The African World-
The Dark Continent
Free at Last
ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES
Ali Baba and his elder brother Cassim are the sons of a merchant. After the death
of their father, the greedy Cassim marries a wealthy woman and becomes
well-to-do, building on their father's business—but Ali Baba marries a poor
woman and settles into the trade of a woodcutter.
One day Ali Baba is at work collecting and cutting firewood in the forest, and he
happens to overhear a group of forty thieves visiting their treasure store.
The treasure is in a cave, the mouth of which is sealed by magic. It opens
on the words "iftah ya simsim" (commonly written as "Open Sesame" in
English), and seals itself on the words "Close, Simsim" ("Close Sesame").
When the thieves are gone, Ali Baba enters the cave himself, and takes
some of the treasure home.
Ali Baba and his wife borrow his sister-in-law's scales to weigh this new wealth of
gold coins. Unbeknownst to them, she puts a blob of wax in the scales to
find out what Ali Baba is using them for, as she is curious to know what kind
of grain her impoverished brother-in-law needs to measure. To her
shock, she finds a gold coin sticking to the scales and tells her husband, Ali
Baba's rich and greedy brother, Cassim. Under pressure from his
brother, Ali Baba is forced to reveal the secret of the cave. Cassim goes to
the cave and enters with the magic words, but in his greed and excitement
over the treasures, he forgets the magic words to get back out again. The
Thieves find him there, and kill him. When his brother does not come
back, Ali Baba goes to the cave to look for him, and finds the
body, quartered and with each piece displayed just inside the entrance of
the cave as a warning to anyone else who might try to enter.
Ali Baba brings the body home, where he entrusts Morgiana, a clever slave-girl in
Cassim's household, with the task of making others believe that Cassim has
died a natural death. First, Morgiana purchases medicines from an
apothecary, telling him that Cassim is gravely ill. Then, she finds an old
Tailor known as Baba Mustafa whom she pays, blindfolds, and leads to
Cassim's house. There, overnight, the Tailor stitches the pieces of Cassim's
body back together, so that no one will be suspicious. Ali Baba and his
family are able to give Cassim a proper burial without anyone asking
The Thieves, finding the body gone, realize that yet another person must know
their secret, and set out to track him down. One of the Thieves goes down
to the town and comes across Baba Mustafa, who mentions that he has just
sewn a dead man's body back together. Realizing that the dead man must
have been the Thieves' victim, the Thief asks Baba Mustafa to lead the way
to the house where the deed was performed. The Tailor is blindfolded
again, and in this state he is able to retrace his steps and find the house.
The Thief marks the door with a symbol. The plan is for the other thieves to
come back that night and kill everyone in the house. However, the Thief has
been seen by Morgiana and she, loyal to her master, foils his plan by
marking all the houses in the neighborhood with a similar marking. When
the forty Thieves return that night, they cannot identify the correct house
and their leader in a furious rage, kills the unsuccessful Thief. The next
day, another Thief revisits Baba Mustafa and tries again, only this time, a
chunk is chipped out of the stone step at Ali Baba's front door. Again
Morgiana foils the plan by making similar chips in all the other doorsteps.
The second Thief is killed for his failure as well. At last, the leader of the
Thieves goes and looks for himself. This time, he memorizes every detail he
can of the exterior of Ali Baba's house.
The Chief of the Thieves pretends to be an oil merchant in need of Ali Baba's
hospitality, bringing with him mules loaded with thirty-eight oil jars, one filled
with oil, the other thirty-seven hiding the other remaining thieves. Once Ali
Baba is asleep, the Thieves plan to kill him. Again, Morgiana discovers and
foils the plan, killing the thirty-seven Thieves in their oil jars by pouring
boiling oil on them. When their leader comes to rouse his men, he discovers
that they are all dead, and escapes. The next morning Morgiana tells Ali
Baba about the thieves in the jars, they bury them and Ali Baba shows his
gratitude by giving Morgiana her freedom.
To exact revenge, after some time the Chief of Thieves establishes himself as a
merchant, befriends Ali Baba's son (who is now in charge of the late
Cassim's business), and is invited to dinner at Ali Baba's house. However
the Thief is recognized by Morgiana, who performs a dance with a dagger
for the diners and plunges it into his heart when he is off his guard. Ali Baba
is at first angry with Morgiana, but when he finds out the Thief tried to kill
him, he is extremely grateful and rewards Morgiana by marrying her to his
son. Ali Baba is then left as the only one knowing the secret of the treasure
in the cave and how to access it. Thus, the story ends happily for everyone
except Cassim and the forty Thieves.
THE STORY OF RUTH
The book of Ruth contains an interesting story about a Moabite woman
who was redeemed into a Hebrew family. The book may have been written
by Samuel and was probably penned during the time of David.
A Dreadful Time in a Strange Country
Because of a famine in Israel, a Hebrew family moved to Moab. This was a
country not far from Israel on the east side of the Dead Sea. The family was
from the city of Bethlehem-judah in Israel. Elimelech and his wife Naomi
had two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Each of them married a wife from Moab.
In time Elimelech and his two sons died which left the three widows in
A new beginning
After her husband‘s death, Naomi planned to return to Bethlehem-judah to
be with family. She prepared to leave her two daughters-in-law.
However, they begged to be able to go with her. She said that she had no
more children and even if she were to marry again and bear sons that the
two daughters would not be able to wait for them to grow up. She planned
to return to Israel alone and empty.
True love and selfless giving
One of the daughters-in-law, Orpah, returned to her people in Moab. The
other daughter-in-law, Ruth, said that she would stay with Naomi. It was
during this conversation that Ruth said these words which have become the
basis for many Christian wedding vows: ―Intreat me not to leave thee, or to
return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where
thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my
God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to
me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.‖
Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem-judah together. Naomi was
financially and emotionally despondent, but her family and friends accepted
her with joy.
One land owner Boaz, notices Ruth and asked his workers to be kind to her
and leave plenty of grain for her and her mother-in-law.
As they had no money and no men to take care of them, Ruth went into the
fields to gather whatever grain she could. One land owner, Boaz, noticed
Ruth and asked his workers to be kind to her and leave plenty of grain for
her and her mother-in-law. He did not know at the time who Ruth was, but
out of kindness he chose to care for the new stranger in their land.
Ruth returned to Naomi and told her about the generous landowner. Naomi
asked about the man and was pleased to learn that it was Boaz. Boaz was
a near family member of Elimelech, her late husband. This meant that Boaz
had the opportunity to take Naomi and Ruth into his care as well as free
them from their financial debt.
A husband for Ruth
Naomi instructed Ruth on how to ask for Boaz‘s help in the matter. She
approached Boaz and asked him to become the kinsman-redeemer for
them. Before Boaz could accept the care of these two ladies he had to
negotiate with another kinsman for the privilege. This other man was closer
to Elimelech and therefore had the responsibility to care for the ladies. This
man chose not to exercise his duty for their care which left Boaz with the
opportunity to buy them out of their debt and take Ruth as his wife.
Boaz and Ruth were married and became the great-grandparents of King
Arabic poetry is based largely on harmonies of sound and striking turns of
phrasing. A poet's fame depended upon a few brilliant couplets rather than
on any sustained melody or long-continued flight of noble thought. One
distinguished philosophical poem of some length is the well-known "Lament
of the Vizier Abu Ismael." This we give in full at the conclusion of this
section; but mainly we must illustrate the finest flowering of Arabic verse by
selecting specimens of characteristic brevity. Many of the Arab caliphs
inclined to the gaieties of life rather than to their religious duties, and kept
many poets around them. Indeed some of the caliphs themselves were
poets: The Caliph Walid composed music as well as verse; and was hailed
by his immediate companions as a great artist. His neglect of
religion, however, was so reckless as to rouse the resentment of his
people, and he lost his throne and life.
THE SONG OF MAISUNA
The russet suit of camel's hair,
With spirits light, and eye serene,
Is dearer to my bosom far
Than all the trappings of a queen.
The humble tent and murmuring breeze
That whistles thro' its fluttering wall,
My unaspiring fancy please
Better than towers and splendid halls.
Th' attendant colts that bounding fly
And frolic by the litter's side,
Are dearer in Maisuna's eye
Than gorgeous mules in all their pride.
The watch-dog's voice that bays whene'er
A stranger seeks his master's cot,
Sounds sweeter in Maisuna's ear
Than yonder trumpet's long-drawn note.
The rustic youth unspoilt by art,
Son of my kindred, poor but free,
Will ever to Maisuna's heart
Be dearer, pamper'd fool, than thee.
---Maisuna, Wife to the Caliph Mowiah
Not always wealth, not always
A splendid destiny commands;
The lordly vulture gnaws the
That rots upon yon barren
Nor want, nor weakness still
To bind us to a sordid state;
The fly that with a touch expires
Sips honey from the royal plate.
----The Holy Imam Shafay
PRAYER FOR BURMA
Do you recall the land of golden spires?
Where morning bells are answered with murmurs of saffron
And the silence of bare feet echoing their innocence
In a land overwhelmed by evilness and greed
A message of hope for hearts in deepest despair
In a language of love for a people enduring only callousness
As their Meta Sutra chants rose high up above
Reflecting in the stillness of their gaze
You can see great courage and dignity in the eyes of
I remember the summer a lifetime ago
When your soft hair was shaved and the first time you wore
Thin-gann the novice monk‘s robe
And your beautiful boyish face was full of determination
With serene downcast eyes
After shedding Shinlaung‘s ceremonial finery
You remained a Buddhist monk
To devote your life to your people and your religion
I also remember the dark winter nights
When you stayed up late studying Buddha‘s
scripture, poetry and politics
Looking to find answers for your people‘s suffering
Since last September
The war against evil has only just begun
And I know that you will fight on
I am quite sure that
Your prayer will be answered
Your hopes will come true
And your fight will be won
Your anger is fiercer
And your power mightier
Or their hatred more bitter
Your cause is just
Your prayers are sincere
Your wishes are true
Your hopes are pure
And your love for Burma is right
You will win in the end
There is nothing to stop your spirit and your hope
No one can silence your prayers for peace and freedom in
We shall never forget our monks who were at the forefront
of our march for freedom.
THE COUNTRY‘S GOOD SON
MINN NEW THEIN
Lin Aung‘s mother had a shop in the Mingaladon market, where she
sold slippers. Lin Aung helped his mother in the shop during his school
holidays. As the Mingaladon market was an army market, soldiers could be
seen shopping there daily. It was more crowded on Sundays. Many
soldiers could be seen moving about busily.
It was Sunday, and Lin Aung was sitting in front of the shop;
―Younger Brother, do you have real ‗Sin-kye‘ No. 9?‖ A young man, wearing
trousers, entered and asked him. Quickly Lin Aung took a pair of ‗Sinkye‘
No. 9 slippers and showed them. ―How much are these slippers, Young
Brother?‖ Twenty -one Kyats, Elder Brother.‖ ―Can I take only the right
side slipper and pay you ten Kyats and fifty pyas?‖
The young man‘s question made Lin Aung‘s eyes become wide. If he
sold only the right side, how could he sell the left side? And why did he
want only one slipper? ―You can‘t do that. If I sell only the right side, the
one left in the shop will become useless. ―Yes, but I want only the right
side. But wait, I‘ll go and look for a partner.‖ Lin Aung was left behind,
looking at the back of the young man, who walked away, limping.
Soon, the young man came back. He had another young man withhim. The first young man asked
Ling Aung for the slippers, and gave the
left side slipper to the young man who had come with him. He lifted the leg
of his trouser and put on the slipper. Then he nodded with satisfaction.
Only then did Lin Aung understand. They were buying and sharing
one pair of slippers. The first young man had a false left leg, and second
young man had a false right leg. So everything was all right because there
was one who wanted only the right side, and another who wanted only the
Lin Aung was sorry to see the condition of the two young men. They
were quite young, and they each had a leg missing. ―Don‘t you feel sad
that you have only one leg?‖ Lin Aung as inquisitive and asked them. ―Why
should we be sad?‖ the first young man smiled. ―We are soldiers who
offered even our own lives for our country. We are proud to lose a leg in
protecting our country.‖
When Lin Aung heard the first young man‘s answer, he respected
them. They were very different from the young drug addicts about whom
he had often read in the newspapers. They were wasting their lives and
These young men were the country‘s good sons who were protecting
the country from its enemies. Their aims and intentions were as different
from those of the addicts as east from west, north from south. Although
these young men had one leg missing, they still wanted to serve their
country. The two young soldiers told Lin Aung that they planned to work in
the disabled soldiers‘ cooperative shop.
―I respect you and honor you. You good sons of the country are the
jewels of our country. When I grow up, I will try to be a good son of the
country like you.‖
The two young soldiers smiled to hear Lin Aung‘s words. ―We admire
your intention. Our country‘s future will really be bright if there were more
young people in our country with the same aim and intention as yours. All
right, we will go now.‖
The two young soldiers said goodbye to Lin Aung and went away. Lin
Aung was filled with the desire to become a good son of the country.
Nelson Mandela was born at Qunu, near Umtata on 18 July 1918. His
father was chief councilor to Thembuland‘s acting chief David Dalindyebo.
When his father died, Mandela was groomed for becoming chief of his
local tribe. However Mandela would never be able to make this
Whilst at the university, Nelson Mandela became increasingly aware of the
unjust nature of South African Society. The majority of Black South
Africans had little opportunities either Economic or Political. Much to the
disappointment of his family, Mandela became involved in politics, and
along with his good friend and comrade Oliver Tambo was expelled from
Fort Hare for organizing a student strike. However, Mandela was able to
finish his degree and qualified as a Lawyer. In 1952, Mandela and Tambo
opened the first Black Law firm in South Africa. The Transvaal Law
Society tried to have it closed down, although this was blocked by the
South African Supreme Court.
In 1944 Mandela helped found the ANC Youth League, whose
Programme of Action was adopted by the ANC in 1949. Mandela was
instrumental in pushing the ANC into more direct action such as the 1952
Defiance Campaign and later Acts of Sabotage.
By the late 50s the S.A. state had become increasingly repressive making
it more difficult for the ANC to operate. Mandela had to resign from the
ANC and work underground. In the late 50s there was an extremely
lengthy Treason Trial in which Mandela and several others were charged
with treason. Conducting their own defence they eventually proved to be
victorious. Mandela noted in his autobiography the judiciary were one of
the least repressive parts of the South African State and in theory sought
to follow the rule of law.
However in 1960 the Sharpeville massacre of 63 black South Africans
changed the whole political climate. South Africa was increasingly isolated
on the international scene and the government banned the ANC. This led
Mandela to advocate armed struggle through the Umkhonto we Sizwe
However by 1962 Mandela had been arrested and sentenced to life
imprisonment in the notorious Robben Island prison. Life at the prison was
tough and uncompromising. However in his autobiography Mandela
reveals how he sought to make the best use of his time there. He helped
to keep other men‘s spirits high and never compromised his political
principles when offered early release. Towards the end of his prison spell
his treatment improved as the South African establishment increasingly
looked to negotiation, in the face of international isolation. Although
negotiations were painfully slow and difficult, they eventually led to
Mandela‘s release in 1990. It was an emotional moment watched by
millions around the globe.
The next four years were also difficult as South African society suffered
inter cultural violence between ANC and Inkarta supporters, in addition to
slow progress on a new constitution.
However on 10 May 1994 Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first
democratically elected State President of South Africa on and was
President until June 1999. As president, Mandela presided over the
transition from minority rule and apartheid. His advocacy of reconciliation
led to international acclaim and importantly the trust of the White African
population. Despite the initial euphoria of winning the election the ANC
faced a difficult challenge to improve the lives of the black population. This
was made more difficult by the HIV epidemic, which continues to cause
grave problems. (Nelson Mandela recently lost his eldest son to this
disease and Mandela has worked hard to campaign on this issue.)
Since retiring from office Nelson Mandela has continued to be an
international figure of great stature. He is one of the few politicians who
have gone beyond a political role; he is widely admired and has received
many prestigious awards. Nelson Mandela is also associated with many
educational programs and initiatives such as Make Poverty History
In 1993 Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with
F.W. De Klerk
THE AFRICAN WORLD-VIEW
(EXCERPT FROM A SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR. KOFI A. BUSIA AT A
CONFERENCE ON THE CHRISTIAN
FAITH AND AFRICAN CULTURE IN 1955 IN GHANA.)
My subject is the African worldview, but I should say at once that though
there are religious ideas and social values that are widespread in
Africa, there are also diversities. For there are many and not one African
community. There are numerous communities on the vast continent of
Africa which have lived in self-contained isolation, under the varying
conditions of life and experience.
Certain beliefs, nevertheless, such as animism, the concept of
ghosts and spirits, polytheism and magic, are common patterns which
afford valuable guides for understanding particular communities in Africa.
When we think of people‘s world view, we consider their concept of
the supernatural, of nature, of man, of society, and of the way in which
these concepts form a system that gives meaning to men‘s lives and
Africans believe in a Supreme Being, the Creator of the world and
all the things in it. The ideas as to the attributes of the Creator vary, but all
believe that He is charged with power, both beneficent and dangerous.
This belief in a Supreme Being who is omnipotent is held along with belief
in lesser deities who are also charged with power, both beneficent and
dangerous. These supernatural entities or gods are not always held to
have bodies like men, but their values, attitudes, and thoughts, that
is, their personalities are like those of men.
I may digress to point out that the problem of evil so often
discussed in Western philosophy and Christian theology does not arise in
the African concept of deity. It is when a God who is not only powerful and
omniscient but also perfect and loving is postulated that the problem of
evil becomes an intellectual and philosophical hurdle. The Supreme Being
of the African is the Creator, the source of life, but between Him and man
lie many powers and principalities good and bad, gods, spirits, magical
forces, witches, to account for the strange happenings in the world.
Nature, too, can have power, and even spirits. It must be noted that
in farming, fishing, livestock raising, and other economic activities the
African shows knowledge of natural causes. The difference with Europe
lies in the fact that the control that Europe has gained over nature is
greater and therefore Europeans can give naturalistic or scientific
explanations to a greater range of happenings than Africans. But there are
theories of reality in Africa just as in Europe. When the African offers an
egg to a tree, or food to a dead ancestor, he is not expressing ignorance
of material substance, or natural causes, but he is expressing in conduct a
theory of reality, namely that behind the visible substance of things lies
essences, or powers which constitute their true nature. Those who have
read Western philosophy are familiar with such formulations, but because
the African does not formulate his problems in terms familiar to the
Europeans, or may not even be able to express his awareness in
words, its conduct is often grossly misinterpreted.
With regard to man himself, there is a widespread belief in Africa
that he is compound of material and immaterial substances; man is a
biological and spiritual being. Physical death is not the end of men. The
soul concepts of African peoples are many and elaborate. Among the
Ashanti, for example, as I have shown elsewhere, ―Man as a biological
being inherits his blood from his mother, this gives him his status and
membership within the lineage, clan, and the tribe, and his obligations as
citizens… As a spiritual being, a man receives a two-fold gift of the spirit:
that which determines his character and individuality he receives through
his father; but his soul, the undying part of him, he receives direct from the
Among the Dahomey, as Herskovits tells us, ―all persons have three
souls and adult males have four. One is inherited from the ancestor, and
is the ‗guardian spirit‘ of the individual. The second is the personal
soul, while the third is the small bit of the Creator that lives in every
person‘s body. The first in Euro-American thought is to be conceived as
the biological aspect of man; the second, his personality, and the third his
intellect and intuition. The fourth soul of adult males is associated with
little concept of destiny. This soul occupies itself not only with the affairs of
this world, but also with the collective destiny of his household, since the
Daho mean reasons that when a man reaches maturity, his own life
cannot know fulfillment apart from the lives of those who share that life
Kabana saw his father and other elders from his village get off the red bus, take
down their suitcases from the top of the carriage, and look up at the gate. After
looking at the poster with approval, they noticed the boys standing in white
shirts, ties and khaki shorts and hurried through the gate in the compound.
When the parents were seated on chairs under the trees, and the boys on the
ground, the headmaster made a short speech welcoming the parents to open
day at the school. He invited the elders to have tea with him and the staff in the
common room after they examined the exhibits.
Kabana and Yagunga ran to their fathers and elders as soon as the headmaster
dismissed the meeting. They dropped to one knee before the elders, whereas
the elders placed hands on their shoulders and greeted them. Kabana
remembered the courtesy of greeting the elders first, so he came to greet his
father last of all.
―Kaije – It has been long,‖ his father said.
―Ego – Yes,‖ Kabana answered.
―Buhoero – It has been very long.‖
―Agandi? – What is the news?‖
―Nimarungi‖ – It is good, Agandi?‖
―Nimarungi‖ – His father said.
―Oraiegyo sebo‖ – How did you spend the night?
―Kurungi – Well.‖
Mulangu smiled upon his son, but Kabana knew his father well and he looked
hurriedly away, for he did not see the one thing in his father‘s eye that he looked
for. He wanted his father to be proud of him, but that was the one thing missing.
His father always seemed to be saying ―Prove yourself first.‖
―The people at home greet you,― Mulangu said.
The people at home greet you – Olewa, Rugaya, Totesie. He
could see the smiling faces of his mother, sister, and little brother as they
moved about the compound in Ruti Village. His mother was such a wonderful
mother and a good cook, and Rugaya such a beautiful and thoughtful sister that
it almost broke his heart not to tell them so. But it was not the habit to show
much emotion, for life was a hard challenge every day and the thing you love so
dearly today might disappoint you tomorrow. And it seemed to him he was
failing them all – especially Rugaya. Lately his father had chided him on his
softness of manner, and one day during the last holiday, Kabana forgot one
basket of coffee and it remained in the coffee field all night.
―Why don‘t you use your head for something more than
stuffing it with all that book knowledge?‖ Mulangu had asked.
But today was Open House of Kisumbu Secondary School.
Perhaps his father had changed in his opinion of his son.
The leaders from the different villages had lingered behind
him when the other parents and visitors left the school and went back to their
villages. After the conference with the headmaster, they went outside and sat in
a circle near the compound under the jacaranda tree. They smoked their pipes,
talked and nodded their heads for a while before they sent for Kabana,
Yagunga, and Biraro.
When the boys had taken the place offered them in the
circle, the oldest elder slowly refilled his pipe and lit it. The ebony walking stick,
his rod of authority, lay across his lap. When he‘d taken several puffs on his
pipe, he began to speak. He did not hurry but looked straight at the boys with
deep lines of seriousness in his kind face.
―Mwebare munenga emirime – thank you very much for the
work you‘re doing here,‖ he said. ―You have made the hearts of your forefathers
happy. They and we rejoice in your success.‖
Then slowly, and with pride, he sketched a history of their
tribe, telling about the hardships and demands of life in their village, how
through hard work, daring, and attention to the ways of their fathers and
Ruhanga, their God, who lighted and guarded the fires of the Omugabo and
protected the drum of Banyankero, they had always triumphed. The faces of the
other elders beamed with pleasure as his words, in the Bantu language, rolled
out of him in a tone and rhythm not unlike the emotional beat of the drum.
Yagunga, Kabana, and Biraro sat in the circle of men
underneath the jacaranda tree and felt the stares of boys of other tribes like hot
sun on their necks. Kabana was ashamed. This talk was for the village and had
no place here at school. He wished the elder would hurry so they could catch
the bus. If they stayed longer, they would hear some of the things Kabana had
said to the other boys, and the other boys would get a chance to see that his
father couldn‘t eat with a fork and that he ate too fast.
Still the musical voice of the elder went on, and Kabana felt
compelled to listen to it although his legs cramped, for it was a long time since
he had sat on the ground.
―Now,‖ the elder went on, ―you have gained a book
education. We will also see that you have your tribal education. You, three boys,
Yagunga, Biraro, and Kabana,‖ he nodded at them as he spoke, ―will soon be
made men. You are of age, now.‖
―They are of age,‖ said another elder with enormous ears
and a black beard.
―Soon you must come home for studies and trials and you
will learn everything about the joy and the dangers of living. We shall spread
your story in the village of our clansmen, and sing of it in our kraals. We greet
you, we salute you, and now as our journey is long, we take leave of you.‖ After
a moment, all men rose together and started toward the bus, leaving the boys
sitting in the broken circle.
When they had gone a short distance, Mulangu turned and
called Kabana to him. As always, now, when in his father‘s company, Kabana
felt a tightening in his throat. He had mixed feelings about his father. He was
ashamed of his crudeness, his inability to speak good English, his long hair, but
at the same time he felt pride in his strength and his ability to take care of his
family and play a leading role in village affairs. His chest rose high. He felt
proud to have a father so strong, so brave, and so successful. He was
respected by both villagers and Europeans for his bravery and his ability as a
farmer and trader, and Kabana always felt that he‘d never be able to live up to
his father‘s expectations. Mulangu touched Kabana‘s shoulder and nodded to
where Yagunga and Biraro sat in a broken circle.
―You have done well here in your studies and in your special
callings as drummer but your life is incomplete. It is like that circle, broken
because things valuable are left from it. Do you like this school?‖
Kabana nodded. ―Yes, Sir.‖ But it was the question that he
knew to be coming next that he dreaded.
―And the village, what can you say about it?‖
―It is my home, father. My mother, my brother, my sister, and
my friends are there,‖ he tried to be tactful.
―You love them but no longer love their ways?‖ His father
looked straight at him.
All right he would tell the truth. ―I used to love the village, but
now things are different, I don‘t know where I belong. Do I belong to where I fail
or where I succeed?‖
Mulangu‘s face clouded. ―So, this is what I sent you to school
for. To forget your own people – to despise our ways. Your failure is your own
doing. With effort you could do what is expected of you.‖ Kabana didn‘t want his
father to be angry, but now he thought of old men who sat around doing nothing
but drinking beer, of with doctors with rattling gourds, and poison taken from
snake heads and the dried entrails of goats. The very worst of the village
flashed into his mind. His father was talking to him. ―You hate the village, don‘t
―You sent me to school, father.‖ Before the words came from
him Kabana regretted them, but still he spoke them.
Mulangu stiffened. He almost struck Kabana, but he looked
around hurriedly and saw the other elders watching them.
―You‘ll never be a man. At the initiation you will surely
disgrace me. You are always acting like a baby. Night and day your head is in
your mother‘s kitchen or bowed to your sister. Do you know these are not the
ways of men?‖
―I shall improve,‖ Kabana repented.
―You say so, but you won‘t. I noticed you in our village. You
no longer joke, tell stories with the other boys, or dance. Are you a European?‖
Kabana bowed his head, and Mulangu felt the guilty sting of his last remark.
―Very well, the elders think the boys here will vote to come
for the initiation but having a son like you, I doubt it. So as soon as school is out,
you come home and I shall try to do a father‘s duty by you.‖ He looked closer at
Kabana and tried to be pleasant. ―We have been both made unhappy, father
and son, but this time we shall talk to each other and in our village, we‘ll laugh
and be happy.‖
―Oh, that will be wonderful, father,‖ Kabana said, hopefully.
‗Don‘t be late. The coffee is ripe and there are many goats to
herd. Osibegye omwana wangye – Goodbye, my son.‖
―Osibegye omukawa wanye – Goodbye, my father.
Obandamukize – Greet those at home for me.‖
THE DARK CONTINENT
'Africa my beginning, Africa my end.
I was born here and I will die here,
Africa you bear my hopes and fears
Poverty, famine, crime and AIDS are words
which plague Mother Africa's name
These demons bring me shame
While people try to make Africa better,
a few let the hardship overpower them
Shame on them
They give up hope and go
about their knavish ways
Even though there's hope on the horizon,
be that as it may
They continue to destroy what little Mother Africa has
Africa is no longer what she was
'Mother Africa is weeping'
Yet a new dawn may be creeping
Mother Africa and her children are beautiful,
they know their place in nature
Even though hardship may corrupt good nature
In the name of ALL that is good,
I hope Africa will rise one day
And we'll stop the suffering before she frays
The words upon a famous poet, I hear
'Africa my beginning, Africa my end.
I was born here and I will die here.'
Kunta was born free. His parents, Omoro and Binta Kinte, offsprings of a
distinguished family tree, were Allah-fearing, freedom loving, and respectable tribe members of
tradition-steeped Juffure, a small but prosperous village on the coast of Gambia in West Africa. Like
all African tribespeople, their most prized possession was their freedom – a faithfully secured and
vigilantly guarded legacy from their forefathers. Every man, woman, and child learned not only to
keep out of the way of the white men who kidnapped African natives for the slave market but also to
be prepared to fight with their lives for their freedom when caught.
According to tradition, a boy who was a first-born foretold of Allah‘s special
blessings upon the parents and their kin. With the birth of Kunta, who was named after a free and
noble ancestor, a great hunter and warrior, was born the pride and the great expectation that the
tribe of Kinte would indeed prosper. Hence, it was expected of Kunta to bring credit, pride, and
many children to his family tree and to his village; to bring honor to the name of Kinte and to dignify
further the nobility of the tribe. Hovering protectively over Kunta‘s crib, his father would talk of the
brave deeds his son would do when he grew up. Thus, Kunta‘s boyhood, his adolescence, all his
life with his parents in Juffure, were dedicated to the fulfillment of the great expectation.
As a boy Kunta roamed freely, happily, and fearlessly through the virgin forests of his tribal
village, inhaling the deep musky fragrance of the
mangroves, romping with baboons, and thrilling to the shrill cries of kingfishers and pelicans. He
hunted wild pigs, pursued the fleet-footed deer, fished in the rippling waters, set traps for the forest
fowls, swam in the streams, and chased schools and winnows. In these happy, peaceful, and free
surroundings Kunta learned ―to treat of Allah‘s creatures as he himself wished to be treated: with
Kunta‘s happiness and freedom were short-lived. Falling a victim of a white
slave trader, he was transported to America, sold in the slave market, and he remained a slave to
his death. It took his progenies, several generations later, to regain the freedom Kunta lost.
Kunta finally reached the head-high grass surrounding the grove where he was going to pick out
and chop a section of a tree trunk just the right size for the body of his drum. As he stepped into
groove, Kunta saw a hidden movement from the corner of his eyes. It was a hare, and the dog was
after it in a flash as t raced for cover in the tall grass.
The excerpt reveals a significant fact in the life of Kunta – his capture, which
marked the beginning of his life as a slave. It shows the tenacity and the violence with which he
fought to keep his freedom.
Kunta finally reached the head-high grass surrounding the grove where he was
going to pick out and chop a section of a tree trunk just the right size for the body of his drum. As he
stepped into the grove, Kunta saw a hidden movement from the corner of his eyes. It was a
hare, and the dog was after it in a flash as it raced for cover in the tall grass.
He was bending over a likely prospect when he heard the sharp crack of
twig, followed quickly by the squawk of a parrot overheard. It was
probably the dog returning, he thought in the back of his mind. But no grown dog ever cracked a
twig, he flashed, whirling in the same instant.
In a blur, rushing at him, he saw a white face, a club upraised; heard heavy footfalls behind him.
Toubob! His foot lashed up and caught the man in the belly –it was soft and he heard a grunt – just
as something hard and heavy grazed the back of Kunta‘s head and landed like a tree trunk on his
shoulder. Sagging under the pain, Kunta spun – turning his back on the man who lay doubled over
the ground at his feet – and pounded with his fists on the faces of two black men who were lunging
at him with a big sack, and at another toubob swinging a short, thick club.
His brain screaming for any weapon, Kunta leaped into them clawing, butting, kneeing, gouging –
hardly feeling the club that was pounding against his back. As three of them went down with
him, sinking to the ground under their combined weight, a knee smashed into Kunta‘s lower
back, rocking him with such pain that he gasped. His open mouth meeting flesh, his teeth
clamped, cut, tore. His numb fingers finding a face he clawed deeply into an eye, hearing its owner
howl as again the heavy club met Kunta‘s head.
Dazed, he heard a dog snarling, a toubob screaming, then a sudden piteous
yelp. Scrambling to his feet, wildly twisting, dodging, ducking to escape more clubbing, with blood
streaming from his split head, he saw one black cupping his eye, a toubob holding a bloody
arm, standing over the body of the dog, and the remaining pair circling him with raised clubs.
Screaming his rage, Kunta went for the second toubob, his fists meeting and breaking the force of
the descending club. Almost choking with the awful toubob stink, he tried desperately to wrench
away the club. Why had he not heard them, sensed them, smelled them?
Just then the black‘s club smashed into Kunta, once again, sending him
staggering to his knees, and the toubob sprang loose. His head ready to explode, his body
reeling, raging at his own weakness, Kunta reared up and roared, flailing blindly at the
air, everything blurred with tears and sweat. He was fighting for more than his life now. Omoro!
Binta! Suwadi! Madi!. The toubob‘s heavy club crashed against his temple. And all went black
FREE AT LAST
(SPEECH OF NELSON MANDELA, MAY 2, 1994)
My fellow South Africans - the people of South Africa:
This is indeed a joyous night. Although not yet final, we have received the
provisional results of the election, and are delighted by the overwhelming
support for the African National Congress.
To all those in the African National Congress and the democratic
movement who worked so hard these last few days and through these
many decades, I thank you and honor you.
To the people of South Africa and the world who are watching: this a
joyous night for the human spirit. This is your victory too. You helped end
apartheid, you stood with us through the transition.
I watched, along with all of you, as the tens of thousands of our people
stood patiently in long queues for many hours, some sleeping on the open
ground overnight waiting to cast this momentous vote.
South Africa's heroes are legend across the generations. But it is you, the
people, who are our true heroes. This is one of the most important
moments in the life of our country.
I stand before you filled with deep pride and joy. Pride in the
ordinary, humble people of this country. You have shown such a
calm, patient determination to reclaim this country as your own. And joy
that we can loudly proclaim from the rooftops - Free at Last!
I stand before you humbled by your courage, with a heart full of love for all
of you. I regard it as the highest honor to lead the ANC at this moment in
our history, and that we have been chosen to lead our country into the
I pledge to use all my strength and ability to live up to your expectations of
me as well as of the ANC.
I am personally indebted and pay tribute to some of South Africa's
greatest leaders including John Dube, Josiah Gumede, GM Naicker, Dr
Abduraman, Chief Lutuli, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Yusuf
Dadoo, Moses Kotane, Chris Hani, and Oliver Tambo. They should have
been here to celebrate with us, for this is their achievement too.
Tomorrow, the entire ANC leadership and I will be back at our desks. We
are rolling up our sleeves to begin tackling the problems our country
faces. We ask you all to join us. Go back to your jobs in the morning. Let's
get South Africa working.
For we must, together and without delay, begin to build a better life for all
South Africans. This means creating jobs, building houses, providing
education and bringing peace and security for all.
The calm and tolerant atmosphere that prevailed during the elections
depicts the type of South Africa we can build. It set the tone for the future.
We might have our differences, but we are one people with a common
destiny in our rich variety of culture, race and tradition.
People have voted for the party of their choice and we respect that. This is
I hold out a hand of friendship to the leaders of all parties and their
members, and ask all of them to join us in working together to tackle the
problems we face as a nation. An ANC government will serve all the
people of South Africa, not just ANC members.
We also commend the security forces for the sterling work done. This has
laid a solid foundation for a truly professional security force, committed to
the service of the people and loyalty to the new constitution.
Now is the time for celebration, for South Africans to join together to
celebrate the birth of democracy. I raise a glass to you all for working so
hard to achieve what can only be called a small miracle. Let our
celebrations be in keeping with the mood set in the
elections, peaceful, respectful and disciplined, showing we are a people
ready to assume the responsibilities of government.
I promise that I will do my best to be worthy of the faith and confidence
you have placed in me and my organization, the African National
Congress. Let us build the future together, and toast a better life for all