I am an African

I am an African
Today marked Heritage Day, a public holiday on which South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their heritage, their culture, who they are and where they've come from.

It seems today appropriate to quote a few words from soon-to-be ex-president Thabo Mbeki's most cherished speech, "I am an African" :-

I am an African.

I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land.

My body has frozen in our frosts and in our latter day snows. It has thawed in the warmth of our sunshine and melted in the heat of the midday sun. The crack and the rumble of the summer thunders, lashed by startling lightening, have been a cause both of trembling and of hope.

The fragrances of nature have been as pleasant to us as the sight of the wild blooms of the citizens of the veld.

The dramatic shapes of the Drakensberg, the soil-coloured waters of the Lekoa, iGqili noThukela, and the sands of the Kgalagadi, have all been panels of the set on the natural stage on which we act out the foolish deeds of the theatre of our day.

At times, and in fear, I have wondered whether I should concede equal citizenship of our country to the leopard and the lion, the elephant and the springbok, the hyena, the black mamba and the pestilential mosquito.

A human presence among all these, a feature on the face of our native land thus defined, I know that none dare challenge me when I say - I am an African!

If you have a moment, and if you're not afraid to shed a tear, take time to read the full speech here, or watch a short excerpt from the address to the nation here.

The photo was taken at Evita se Perron in Darling. The sign is a genuine relic from the apartheid era, and has been put on display to remind us of where we've come from and to where we should not return.

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