Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black History Month - Mandela's jail release announced

Fire can soften iron. (Zaire)

1990 - The 30-year ban on leading anti-apartheid group, the African National Congress (ANC) was lifted. Jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela’s release was announced.

The ANC was founded in 1912. For many years, it worked within the law, using strikes and boycotts to end racial oppression in South Africa. However, the Sharpeville Massacre ended peaceful protest. Pass laws had restricted the movement of Black people in South Africa, and in 1960 the AND declared a campaign against pass laws. A large crowd gathered outside a police station offering themselves for arrest since they were not carrying passes. Apparently the crowd was orderly and even festive, but the police fired on the people. Most of the killed and wounded were shot in the back.

The massacre of these 69 unarmed persons marked the change for the ANC from non-violent resistance to armed resistance. The ANC was banned, but the organization continued to function underground and in exile.

The South African people, supported by the international community including Jamaica, , continued to demand political power. By 1976, the apartheid government introduced reforms for the first time, and these attempts at reform led to greater resistance.

In 1994, the then South African government removed the ban on the ANC, and ANC leaders entered negotiations that resulted in the 1994 democratic elections in South Africa. Today, the ANC is the dominant political party in South Africa.

Also on this day in:

1897 – Alfred Cralle, inventor and businessman, patented the ice cream scoop

1948 - Musician Al McKay (Earth, Wind, and Fire) was born.

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When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at