Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black History Month - Rex Nettleford's birthday


Peace and injustice are like night and day, they can't stay together. (Nigeria)

1933 – Rex Nettleford born

Ralston Milton "Rex" Nettleford, rose from humble beginnings to become Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies. He was born in Falmouth, attending Cornwall College and the then University College of the West Indies before being admitted to Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship.

Rex was a scholar, political analyst, artistic director, choreographer, trade union educator, and social/political historian. His major achievements were in education, culture, and the performing arts.

As an advocate of higher education, he was director of UWI’s School of Continuing Studies. He also founded the Trade Union Education Institute to bridge gaps between academics and workers.

In 1962, he co-founded the National Dance Theatre Company, incoroporating traditional Jamaican dance such as Myal, Kumina, and Pocomania. He was also the artistic director of the UWI's University Singers.

He has received awards such as the Order of Merit, the Gold Musgrave Medal, and the Living Legend Award from the Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rex died four hours before his 77th birthday: "One's name remains above the grave." (Ethiopian proverb)

Since 1975 - Heroes Day celebrated in Mozambique

Eduardo Mondlane and Samora Machel are the heroes celebrated in Mozambique today.

He was a shepherd till he was 12 years old. He then attended primary school in Mozambique, and enrolled at secondary school in South Africa. He was expelled from the country after a year, but persisted in his education till he received a first degree from Oberlin College and a doctorate from Northwestern University, both in the USA.

When he returned to Mozambique, he became president of a movement fighting for independence as well as social change.

In 1969, he was killed when a bomb exploded in a book sent to him.

Samora Machel was a military commander and revolutionary who led Mozambique to independence in 1975. His grand parents and great grand parents had fought against Portuguese colonial rule. He trained as a nurse and protested against the difference between pay for white and Black nurses. In 1962, he joined the Mozambique liberation struggle. He became leader of the independence movement after Mondlane was assassinated. His organization successfully engaged the Portuguese army and in 1975 Portugal handed over power to the Mozambicans.

In 1986, he died in a plane crash.

Mozambicans believe that their heroes laid down their lives for the dignity and freedom of the people.

Also on this day in:

1870 - Fifteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified

1945: First African American Press Correspondent in Congress: Percival Prattis became the first African American news correspondent allowed in the United States House and Senate press gallery.

1990: Sean Kingston, singer/rapper was born of Jamaican heritage

No comments:


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