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Muguette Crozier
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My blood runs Africa

10 December 2013, 09:46

'There's a dream, I feel.
So rare, but so real
All the world in Union
The world as one!
We face high mountains
Must cross rough seas
We must take our place in history
And live with dignity!'- World in Union Rugby World Cup 1995.

 This is the first song I listen to when I hear the news that Nelson Mandela has passed away.

I was born before he became president, before Appartheid, and grew up in the aftermath of the struggle with racism in South Africa. I grew up knowing the wonderful animals, the music that moves your heart to beat with the drums, the "vibe", the friendly faces. South Africa is a wonderfully diverse country. I mean no country in the world can boast the fact that their national anthem is sung in four languages, that they have wild animals in parks, that they have eleven official languages and that they were on the brink of a civil war and yet walked away.

I am not so ignorant so as to ignore the bad things. Yes there is corruption, there is pride among the different races, there is anger, hateful words. But there is one thing that holds us together.... Africa runs in our blood, it is engraved in our bones.

I remember when my father came back from climbing Kilimanjaro. He was quiet and reserved. He always said: "Your head stays up there on the summit, up in the clouds". He still says it. He also says other wonderful and true things like "Africa is not a place for sissies". I feel the same about Africa as my dad feels about Kilimanjaro. Even when you go away, be it travel or immigrate, your heart longs for Africa, your head wonders back to it constantly.  Your blood pumps African sun, - vibe, -drums and -culture. It is the one thing all Africans have in common. The love for the country. We fight over it with great passion, we wish for it to prosper.

And here Europe (Rotterdam, Netherlands, on my year away from home) I can see the small things that we kept from Western Civilization, but I can also see that not all the grass is greener on the other side. We do things differently, but that is what makes us so great. So listening to the beautiful sounds of Miriam Makeba's clicks in Xhosa I think of these lyrics:

" It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from You (Africa).
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.
I bless the rains down in Africa"

R.I.P Madiba. Forever you have changed the world I now live in. May we, South Africans, always strive to better our understanding of each other. May we forgive each others' shortcomings and embrace our shared love for this marvelous country we call home.

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Up close and personal with a Zebra. He very nearly kissed my camera lens.

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