south africa

16th December – On This Day In History

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Born:

1770 Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

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Died:

1980 Colonel Sanders (founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken)

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On This Day:

1838 Battle of Blood River (Zulu armies defeated by the Voortrekkers in Natal, South Africa)

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Have a good Sunday, 16th December

5th December – On This Day In History

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Born:

1901 Walt Disney (animator, co-founder of Walt Disney Company)

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Died:

2013 Nelson Mandela (South African president and inspirational statesman)

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On This Day:

1872 The Mary Celeste is found – her crew mysteriously missing

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Have a good Wednesday, 5th December

 

Isandlwana

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Scarlet coats, and crash o’ the band,
The grey of a pauper’s gown,
A soldier’s grave in Zululand,
And a woman in Brecon Town.

My little lad for a soldier boy,
(Mothers o’ Brecon Town!)
My eyes for tears and his for joy
When he went from Brecon Town,
His for the flags and the gallant sights
His for the medals and his for the fights,
And mine for the dreary, rainy nights
At home in Brecon Town.

They say he’s laid beneath a tree,
(Come back to Brecon Town!)
Shouldn’t I know? — I was there to see:
(It’s far to Brecon Town!)
It’s me that keeps it trim and drest
With a briar there and a rose by his breast —
The English flowers he likes the best
That I bring from Brecon Town.

And I sit beside him — him and me,
(We’re back to Brecon Town.)
To talk of the things that used to be
(Grey ghosts of Brecon Town);
I know the look o’ the land and sky,
And the bird that builds in the tree near by,
And times I hear the jackals cry,
And me in Brecon Town.

Golden grey on miles of sand
The dawn comes creeping down;
It’s day in far off Zululand
And night in Brecon Town.

 

– John McCrae

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22nd November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1986 Oscar Pistorius (paralympic athlete, convicted for shooting his girlfriend)

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Died:

1916 Jack London (author – Call Of The Wild)

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On This Day:

1976 Algeria puts its constitution into effect

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Have a good Sunday, 22nd November

20th November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1923 Nadine Gordimer (author & Nobel Prize winner)

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Died:

1910 Leo Trotsky (author – War And Peace)

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On This Day:

1917 Ukraine declares itself a republic 

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Have a good Tuesday, 20th November

1st November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1935 Gary Player (Golfer – 9 times majors winner)

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Died:

1972 Ezra Pound (poet)

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On This Day:

1939 The first jet fighter (Heinkel HE 178) is demonstrated, to the German War Ministry 

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Have a good Thursday, 1st November

7th October – On This Day In History

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Born:

1931 Desmond Tutu (South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner)

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Died:

1849 Edgar Allan Poe (poet)

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On This Day:

1919 KLM, the worlds oldest still operating airline, is established

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Have a good Sunday, 7th October

2nd October – On This Day In History

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Born:

1869 Mahatma Ghandi (Indian pacifist and activist for peace, independence and equality) 

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Died:

2017 Tom Petty (singer – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers)

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On This Day:

2002 The Beltway Sniper attacks begin and continue for three weeks

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Have a good Tuesday, 2nd October

In A Burning Sea

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how often were we wrapped in coolness on the floor
the smell of turpentine and fire
the canvases white to our empty eyes
night’s indifference
and the moon a smile somewhere outside
out of sight
days decompose like seasons beyond the panes
leaves of rain, a face, a cloud, this poem
I wanted to leave my imprint on you
to brand you with the flaming hour
of being alone
no fire sings as clear
as the silver ashes of your movements
and your melancholy body
I wanted to draw that sadness from you
so that you might be revealed
the way a city opens
on a bright landscape
filled with pigeons and the fire of trees
and silver crows also out of sight in the night
and the moon a mouth that one can ignite
and then I wished that you could laugh
and your body bitter
my hands of porcelain on your hips
your breath such a dark-dark pain
a sword at my ear
how often were we here
where only silver shadows stir
only through you I had to deny myself
through you alone I knew I had no harbor
in a burning sea

 

– Breyton Breytonbach

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This Is The Season

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this is the season when the dreamer,
swathed in dark remembrances
like an infant swaddled in the weavings of night,
often sobs in his sleep

this is the season when he finds a copper coin
under stripped trees in the lane,
the bankrupt moon, a rusted leaf,
the barking dog,
and precipitously the heart tumbles
and memory brings back
widgeons in the reed-bush,
crackling evenings,
waves combed in tresses on the beach,
your beautiful hips
a violin with a scroll at heaven’s door
for the tongue to enter your bliss

awareness is a boat nosing for the open sea
and life a body slithering over its side,
sinking like a sob
to wash up tomorrow among rocks
for the postmortem opening-up
in search of meaning

when the moon is full of rot
I shall go to Santiago de Cuba
I shall go to Santiago
in a carriage of black water

this is the season when church bells peal
and snow must slip over towers and spires and peaks
silence shroud the hollows of the city
like cold come from heaven

Estos dias, iguales a otros dias de otros años:
these days exactly like the days of earlier years
with people exactly like those of then
with the same hours and the dead
with similar desires
and the old-old restlessness of before
is here

nothing happens
you’re not alone
with the sleepless cold, you come
you go, you don’t know where
or why

put on angel wings, love,
and I’ll suck my tongue
while playing the violin
in a carriage of black water

 

– Breyton Breytonbach

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