Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alice Walker - Coming to See You Since I was Five Years Old: An American Poet's Connection to the South African Soul

“Today, when I write about Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, Burma, or visit Gaza to see the devastation caused by the Israeli assault on a people under present-day Apartheid laws, it’s as if a tiny recording of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika is lodged in my brain. And because it is there and never ceases – just as your desire to be free never stops – I know that whatever disaster I am witnessing will have an end. The people of Palestine, like the people of South Africa, have a right to their land; their resources; their freedom. I know from the world’s gradual embracing of the South African struggle that the same will be the fate of the Palestinians. And the ‘why’ of it is so simple: No lie will live forever. And when a lie is exposed – that Africans are merely savages; that Palestinians are merely terrorists; that women are basically servants of men or whores – there, in the bright glare of our collective awareness, it dies. The lie dies. And when lies die, people live.

Excerpt from Coming To See You Since I Was Five Years Old – An American Poet’s Connection To The South African Soul , Alice Walker’s speech for this year’s Steve Biko Memorial Lecture held at the University of Cape Town.

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