Still I Rise … By Maya Angelou






You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

This is probably Maya Angelou’s best-known poem, and for good reason. It is a wonderfully defiant, human, uplifting cry from the deep heart of America, which tells a story that I’m sure speaks to us all.

The poem roots itself in the history of the African-American people, with it’s talk of slavery, and that gorgeous image of the “black ocean, leaping and wide” — such a powerful metaphor for overcoming oppression. But the poem’s scope is not limited to one people; it speaks of the universal notion of the defiance of the downtrodden. Angelou’s voice is resounding and sensually rhythmic, and carries so beautifully her message of strength and positivity.

Still I rise contains so many images that I love. In the first stanza, Angelou writes that although she may be trod into the very dirt, she will still rise like dust (“like dust, I’ll rise”). This idea, coupled with the soulful rhythm, creates a palpable atmosphere of unstoppable defiance. The dust rising, for me, delivers the image of a ghost — perhaps even the ghosts of slaves — that no oppressor or murderer can escape.

The recurring questions in the piece are brilliantly provocative: “Does my sassiness upset you?” “Does my haughtiness offend you?” and “Does my sexiness offend you?” she asks. I love this. It seems to overcome sexism and the oppression of women in particular. This is something that Maya Angelou overcame in her own life, and she speaks with such inspiring strength here. Another phrase that gives a great symbol bash to all of that is “Does it come as a surprise/ That I dance/ Like I’ve got diamonds/ At the meeting of my thighs?” This gives me goosebumps every time I read it. By specifically talking about the “meeting of [her] thighs” Angelou gives the ultimate defiance of a woman; she owns and loves every part of herself, and rises up, dazzling and sexy.

Another couple of images I love, and that I want to talk about, are the “oil wells” and the “gold mines” mentioned in the second and fifth stanzas. The poet writes that she walks “like I’ve got oil wells/ Pumping in my living room” and that she laughs “like I’ve got gold mines/ Diggin’ in my own back yard”. Again, her defiance is brilliant. Though her oppressors might think they have ended her by subjecting her to poverty, still, she walks like she has all the wealth in the world. I love the tone, here. It’s as though she knows her oppressors are so materialistic and mercenary, that the only way they can describe her joy and sexiness is to say she looks like she has a lot of money. The images of the oil wells “pumping” and the gold mines “Diggin’” are so strongly evocative; I just love it.

 Listen to Maya Angelou by clicking here:

Reunion Time

7 years 8 months ill …
Physical: Advantage Ed / Mental: Advantage Ed

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I remember …

… Reunion weeks come round annually in May at Grey PE. This year the Matric class of 1989 celebrates their 25th year out of school. I left teaching at the end of 1988, so I taught them for four years from Std 6 to Std 9. The only class that I taught for five years, the Matric class of 1984, celebrate their 30th this year! I organised their 25th reunion 5 years ago in 2009.

Evernote Camera Roll 20140527 110545… Last Wednesday we attended a splendid Selley concert in the Feathermarket Hall. Afterwards, I met up with a few ex-pupils at the Old Grey Club.

… Thursday was my day in the pool at Aurora, Isaac’s visit and the formal dinner at the Club.

Evernote Camera Roll 20140527 110544 [2]… Friday commenced with the Boarding House breakfast, then Assembly, then lunch at the rectory, then the Parade, then the Yacht Club with the 30 year group and finished off at Arkenstone with the 25 year group.

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… Saturday is rugby day! Sean blew Seconds and blew the game 5 minutes short when a fight erupted. We beat Wynberg! Then the Long Room and then the after party at the Club.

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… Sunday was a rest day at home with a braai attended by Kemps, Terblanches, Westcotts and the boys and the girls! Lunch time turned supper time!

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… Monday was real rest day and commenced plans for HHH reunion of 40 years – my very own Matric class!


Evernote Camera Roll 20140527 110545 [4]… Tuesday was Hospice Day, Ophthalmologists Day, lunch with Ben, visit to Anton at St Georges Hospital and …

The Grey

Read this :

And especially this

In 1859, the very first year that classes were taught at the brand new Grey Institute on The Hill, the Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Grey, was recalled to London. The Staff and boys of the school wrote to him expressing their regret at his departure and “gratitude for the benefits he had conferred upon them”.

He replied to them as follows:

Gentlemen and Students

Your letter at expressing your regret at my departure is one of the most gratifying which I have received. Every man desires to aid in blessing others, and in doing good; but it is not given to many men to see such early fruits springing from those labours in which they themselves and others have engaged. God has, in the case of the Institution from which you write, given me this pleasure, and has allowed me to hear that, from the Grey Institute, and from amongst yourselves, good and able men have come forth.

If any of you who have done credit to the Institution, require a friend in Europe, remember that you are, in some sort, children of mine, and have a claim upon my sympathy and aid which I shall not overlook.

From your affectionate friend

G. Grey


Jeepers! What a Round Road Trip

7 years 8 months ill …
Physical: Advantage ED / Mental: Advantage ED


I Remember …

… Two weeks ago, Sean mentioned that he may need to deliver a Jeep to a client in Johannesburg (there and back, some 2000 km and twenty hours travelling away from Port Elizabeth)

… My overseas friends: Johannesburg is to Africa what New York is to North America – our powerhouse and economic hub. It’s the City of Gold – both literally and figuratively. Situated on the Witwatersrand ( white waters ridge), it even lends it’s name to our currency, the rand!

… I offered to go with Sean for two reasons: everyone knows my penchant for travelling by now; but, more importantly, he has never driven to Johannesburg nor in Johannesburg ( and I couldn’t imagine my booytjie doing it by himself!) He, of course, turns 22 today, so a very happy birthday son!

… The arrangements for the trip changed by the minute. Then it was on, then it was off, then there were holdups at the bank, then unsigned documents, then a change of heart by the customer, then problems with the delivery time, then time constraints, then … then … then …

… Each time the change in arrangements necessitated a change in the logistical arrangements for travel and sleep overs. Phone calls and BBM’s and WhatsApp’s and and and. The help of friends and family all over the country was called in! Thanks so much for all the assistance!

… Eventually, last Friday was departure scheduled for 4am, then 9am, then 1pm, then off, then on, then postponed till Saturday 9am. Each change brought a change in delivery time to the client and a change in route, change in sleep over arrangements, etc etc.

… We left Port Elizabeth at 9am Saturday morning and Rory Duncan, ironically, was in the lane next to us as we left the City.

… From PE, we travelled via Cradock, Hofmeyer, Steynsburg, Venterstad (not to be confused with Ventersburg or Ventersdorp!) and the Gariep Dam to Bloemfontein, arriving at 4pm Saturday afternoon.


… Then at 6pm, thanks to Rory, we went to watch the Cheetahs play the Brumbies at Free State Stadium. Cheetahs won 27 – 21! Afterwards, we visited the Castle Corner, then the Players Den (where the players relax post match) and then the local night club Barbas and The Office ( just a drive by as it was getting late in the morning!)


… At 8am Sunday, after a gourmet Rory Breakfast, we left for Johannesburg via the N1, leaving the Free State behind and entering Gauteng Provnce, the land of the big smoke, at about 11am. We had the car washed in Cedar Road, Four Ways, and delivered it in Broadacres at the agreed time of 12h30 … okay 1 minute late because of a holdup at the security gate of the gated complex.


… Fifteen minutes later, we had delivered the new and collected the old car.

… At 1h15pm, we were at the Ocean Basket in Modderfontein had lunch (fish from the coast!) at the Ocean Basket with friend and erstwhile colleague Graeme Gathmann.


… We finished lunch at 3pm, completed the ring road around Johannesburg on the N3 and then headed back south on the N1 to the Free State, with thunder cracking and lightning flashing and rain pouring all around us.

… A pit stop at Kroonstad, and another in Bloemfontein (to pick up a friend returning to Port Elizabeth) took place before we reached Springfontein at 8pm, where we stayed overnight with friend Sandra Staples at the Kuilfontein B&B.


… After breakfast on Monday morning, we headed for PE at 9am, via Colesberg ( pitstop), Middleburg and Graaff-Reinet (pitstop), arriving home at 2pm.


… From the Friendly City to the City of Gold, we had completed 3 days, 2000 kms, 53 hours, driven two vehicles through four of the nation’s provinces (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State and Gauteng), gone through 6 toll gates (there and back), paid R200 in tolls, (and who knows how many e-toll collection gantries and e-toll fines!)

… ED is in tirED!


What Happens to the Toilet Door?


And so, as it all draws to a close and the end is in sight, the other Big Question remains: what happens to the toilet door?

Is there another life, another purpose, another house, another destination?

Does this door have another use in a different world? Is it hung (hanged?) again, rising up in glory; or does it end up in a fire – from dust to dust, from ashes to ashes?

It has had its life, and weathered the storm. It has served its purpose. Some would say well, others not!

Most doors just hang. Others make a difference – they leave a legacy.

Like the holes in His hands, this door has four holes to remind mankind of the fickleness of Life. There are so many questions and so few answers.

Yes, the door has been open and shut, moved back and forth, locked and unlocked. It has had its life.

It is battered and bruised. It has scars to tell the tales. It has A story to tell.

If only doors could talk!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.

The Merry Month of May

7 years 8 months on …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental Advantage: Ed

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I remember …

We left Kimberley last Wednesday at three in the afternoon. I navigated the bus through places that I have never seen before: Phillopolis, Phillipstown and the Boerestaat enclave of Orania. Sunset over Hanover was spectacular, and we arrived back in PE at 11pm.

I remember …

Since getting back, it’s been a whirlwind of activity. Braai at Kerry Botha, then off to St Francis for the weekend with Jenny and Mike Rishworth.

I remember …

Our trip to Patensie was fun. We stayed at the Ferreiras, braaied there on Tuesday night, I addressed the Gamtoos Tourism Bureau on Wednesday morning and broadcast via phone and Skype ED is in wED on AlgoaFM. later in the day we returned to PE and had lunch with the Southwoods. Then we voted.

I remember …

Election Days. This one and the ones before and the one in 1994 – the first democratic election in our country. It was a time of happiness and fear. We were concerned that things would go wrong, and yet it all turned out fine. We have had twenty years of democracy, and our elections are an example to the world. And then there was our Old/New South Africa party … a time to celebrate, indeed!

I remember …

Friday I spoke to Global Business Solutions.

I remember …

Sunday was Mother’s Day. Sean took us out for supper at Angelo’s on Saturday. Family time! Sunday, the Southwoods visited us.

I remember …

My mother, Doris. She and Dad married on 3 May 1952 and Mom passed away 28 years ago at the age of 55!

I remember …

It was back to a normal five day work week this week, after all the holidays. Everyone returned to their normal things, and I returned to The Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel – Days 29, 30 and 31!

I remember …

Physically, these days are becoming more difficult for me. Mentally, I’m ahead of the game. It’s an effort! On top of it all, the roof is being repaired. I’m stressed by all this activity!