SO LONG A LETTER

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Written by award-winning African novelist Mariama Ba and translated from the original French, So Long a Letter has been recognized as one of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. The brief narrative, written as an extended letter, is a sequence of reminiscences—some wistful, some bitter—recounted by recently widowed Senegalese schoolteacher Ramatoulaye Fall. Addressed to a lifelong friend, Aissatou, it is a record of Ramatoulaye’s emotional struggle for survival after her husband betrayed their marriage by taking a second wife.

This semi-autobiographical account is a perceptive testimony to the plight of educated and articulate Muslim women. Angered by the traditions that allow polygyny, they inhabit a social milieu dominated by attitudes and values that deny them status equal to men. Ramatoulaye hopes for a world where the best of old customs and new freedom can be combined.

Considered a classic of contemporary African women’s literature, So Long a Letter is a must-read for anyone interested in African literature and the passage from colonialism to modernism in a Muslim country.

Winner of the prestigious Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.

The Author

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Mariama Bâ (April 17, 1929–August 17, 1981) was a Senegalese author and feminist, who wrote in French. Born in Dakar, she was raised a Muslim, but at an early age came to criticise what she perceived as inequalities between the sexes resulting from African traditions. Raised by her traditional grandparents, she had to struggle even to gain an education, because they did not believe that girls should be taught. Bâ later married a Senegalese member of Parliament, Obèye Diop, but divorced him and was left to care for their nine children.

Her frustration with the fate of African women—as well as her ultimate acceptance of it—is expressed in her first novel, So Long a Letter. In it she depicts the sorrow and resignation of a woman who must share the mourning for her late husband with his second, younger wife. Abiola Irele called it “the most deeply felt presentation of the female condition in African fiction.” This short book was awarded the first Noma Prize for Publishing in Africa in 1980.

Bâ died a year later after a protracted illness, before her second novel, Scarlet Song, which describes the hardships a woman faces when her husband abandons her for a younger woman he knew at youth, was published.

The historian Nzegwu has contended that Bâ’s life was rich in events. Bâ was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1929, into an educated and well-to-do Senegalese family where she grew up. Her father was a career civil servant who became one of the first ministers of state. He was the Minister of Health in 1956 while her grand father was an interpreter in the French occupation regime.

After her mother’s death, Bâ was largely raised in the traditional manner by her maternal grandparents. She received her early education in French, while at the same time attending Koranic school.

Bâ was a prominent law student at school. During the colonial revolution period and later, girls faced numerous obstacles when they wanted to have a higher education. Bâ’s grandparents did not plan to educate her beyond primary school. However, her father’s insistence on giving her an opportunity to continue her studies eventually persuaded them.

In a teacher training college based in Rufisque (a suburb in Dakar), she won the first prize in the entrance examination and entered the École Normale. In this institution, she was prepared for later career as a school teacher. The school’s principal began to prepare her for the 1943 entrance examination to a teaching career after he noticed Bâ’s intellect and capacity. She taught from 1947 to 1959, before transferring to the Regional Inspectorate of teaching as an educational inspector.

Bâ was a novelist, teacher and feminist, active from 1979 to 1981 in Senegal, West Africa. Bâ’s source of determination and commitment to the feminist cause stemmed from her background, her parents’ life and her schooling. Indeed, her contribution is of absolute importance in modern African studies since she was among the first to illustrate the disadvantaged position of women in African society. Bâ’s work focused on the grandmother, the mother, the sister, the daughter, the cousin and the friend, how they all deserve the title “mother of Africa”, and how important they are for the society.

Mariama Bâ felt the failure of African liberation struggles and movements. Her earliest works were essays she wrote while at the École Normale. Some of her works have now been published. Her first work constitutes essentially a useful method of rejection of the “so-called French assimilationist policy”.

Bâ advocated urgent consideration and reinvigoration of African life.

This consideration and reinvigoration is essentially founded on the social construct of the relationship between man and woman. Indeed, there is an unequal and unbalanced power in the male/female relationship. According to her, these facts can help us become aware of Africa’s needs for societal change, a change more political than merely making speeches.

As a divorcee and “a modern Muslim woman” as she characterized herself, Bâ was active in women’s associations. She also ardently promoted education. She defended women’s rights, delivered speeches, and wrote articles in local newspapers. Thus, her contribution is significant because she explained and described the disadvantaged position of women in general and especially married women.

Bâ also had vision and determined commitment. She felt African people should reduce the deleterious impact of their culture. Women are plunged both psychologically and financially in a sensual indulgence and complete lack of regard for the consequences of men’s actions on families. They are completely blind. These facts led Bâ to believe in her mission to expose and critique the rationalisations employed to justify established power structures.

She thought that distortions of cultural thought and institutions are made to demonstrate masquerades as “tradition” and “culture”. Men and Women have been seduced into accepting the continuation of these “customs”. People should be “persuaded of the inevitable and necessary complementarity of man and woman”.

Bâ wrote many books openly sharing her thoughts and feelings, including: So Long a Letter (1981), Scarlet Songs (1986), and La fonction politique des littératures Africaines écrites (The Political Function of African Written Literatures) (1981).

http://www.amazon.com/Mariama-Ba/e/B000AP5I02

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UNDER THE DOWNPOUR: Oil Painting On Canvas By Leonid Afremov

DownpourColorful portrait painting – modern way to decorate your room

When we hear the word portrait, we imagine magnificent pictures of historical figures painted centuries ago. Keeping the noble face of a glorified political leader or great musician alive for future generations used to be the main goal of this genre – but not anymore. In our times, artists like Leonid Afremov try to find inspiration in everyday life.

An unintentionally observed scene, two strange girls in the street, a common situation repeating itself over and over again as long as the world exists – but the artist’s vivid imagination is capable of depicting it in fantastically bright colors and making it meaningful and dear to our hearts. Light up your room with this cheerful portrait painting sparkling with all shades of the spectrum!

Friendship under umbrella

It’s no secret that Leonid Afremov is fascinated by the rain. But we can rarely see it so bright and vigorous on his paintings! The rain is falling down in colorful streams painted with quick large strokes densely covering the entire canvas. Surrounded by these rainbow-colored cascades of water, the two heroines of the picture are walking barefoot under the same umbrella admiring the beauty of smeared reflections on the wet asphalt. Who are they? Old friends coming back from school?

Two sisters taking a walk together? Or maybe they just met a few minutes ago because one of them was too absent-minded to take her umbrella and the other was too kind-hearted not to offer hers? We don’t know, but they both seem to be rather delighted by this pastime. The girl on the left is painted in warm yellow shades, while the girl on the right with cold blue ones. If you look at the sidewalk on both sides, you’ll see that their silhouettes divide the canvas in two color zones.

The faces of the girls are blurred and we can’t see their expressions, but we can easily guess their mood in every centimeter of the painting. Bright, emotional and full of life, this portrait will light up the walls of your room and give it a new colorful look!

Who might be interested in buying it?

http://afremov.com/UNDER-THE-DOWNPOUR-PALETTE-KNIFE-Oil-Painting-On-Canvas-By-Leonid-Afremov-Size-24-x30.html

Can We Rise Above Negative Attitudes And Hurtful Feelings?

Have faith and depend on Jesus

People pray during a mass held outside the public school where 12 children were killed by a gunman last week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In the community, your neighbour can be your enemy, your brother can be your enemy and your sister can be your enemy. When two people have a difference, both often become angry. The reason we see sons rise against fathers, daughters against mothers, brother against brother and sister against sister.

Some of the painful and hurtful things in life, is when you don’t know where you went wrong, or the mistake you did, but someone hates you. You try to reason with the person, making efforts to settle, but since he has bad intentions, he isn’t prepared to make peace with you. Perhaps you have experienced a similar situation.

There are people who take other people’s quiet nature, submissiveness, and humbleness, as stupid or foolishness. Before you start hating someone, probably your close friend or relative, sit down with him, face to face, to let him or her know what the problem is. You can’t just begin calling the person a liar, fool and going far to tell your brother or sister of stealing your money to wed his wife or her husband, by writing letters.

Some people like to live a simple life, even though they can afford everything, including a car, yet he or she prefers to use a bicycle to work. That doesn’t mean that the person is stupid or has failed in life. If you live with pride and arrogance and wants to advertise your wealth, go on, because not everyone is interested in what you do.

People who live with pride feel very intelligent in their own eyes. When they are talking to you, they try to make you understand or believe they are the most intelligent people on earth. But the more you remain silent, to listen or read whatever they write, the more you see how stupid and foolish they are. Even the ten foolish virgins are all intelligent.

Most people often never think of how pride can be destructive. There was once a man who lives in Amsterdam. He was very famous, because of the way he lives and boastful nature. Anytime he travels to Africa, he demolishes part of the house he was building, suggesting to the builders to build a modern house, even though the plan of the house they were following was a modern plan. He was never satisfied with any modern house since he changes his mind frequently anytime he sees a beautiful house.

Unfortunately, he was involved in a serious crime. After serving his prison sentence, he was deported to Africa. He now lives in an uncompleted building over a decade. As human beings, we need to be careful of the words that come from our mouth. There are words once spoken, they will come back to hurt or haunt you. You can’t reject something, then later want it back. You can’t take your brother to court when he asked you to sit down with him to solve the problem amicably.

Your uncontrollable anger and pride, are driving you to execute devilish plans against your brother, but nothing is working.That brother you are fighting against is using his precious time, seeking the intervention of Jesus, to give him the patience to endure the pain and temptations he is going through. And it works. Once you read your Bible each day or go to church to worship each Sunday, you learn certain practical principles, which will help you to overcome the hardest obstacles ahead of you.

I posted this article to encourage everyone facing any difficulties in life, to trust and believe in God. Try Jah’s love when everything fails. Seek the face of Jah in the world’s most widely read book: The Bible. It encourages us to cultivate qualities, such as discernment, love, kindness, insight and patience. Above all the Bible can help you to promote peace and heal emotional wounds.

Bullying: How Can We Protect Our Children From This Aggressive Behaviour?

 

Bullying 1Every child deserves to be happy at home and at school, but many times that happiness they are looking for eludes them. At school and on play grounds, it’s very common for a child to experience bullying from other boys, because he or she looks different.

Physical bullying, taunts and calling one funny names happen every day at school and after school, without the knowledge of teachers or parents. The reason is many children wouldn’t like to speak out to the authorities or parents, because they are scared to talk about it. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, about 160,000 students in the United States, daily refuse to go to school because of bullying.

A married woman with six children, once told me that in her teens at school, she nearly committed suicide. According to her, she was bullied everyday because of her ginger-coloured hair and many called her ugly girl, because she had freckles on her face. Her story was emotional and sad, as she claimed her own brother was part of her misery. He called her ugly too. Despite her ordeal, she summoned up courage to study psychology at the university. That’s one of the best ways to ignore bullying, but how many children have the strength to stand this psychological torture?

On his way to school, a mother kissed her son, without knowing that’s her last kiss to the son, who is being bullied every day at school without her knowledge, because her child never told her. When the child reached a bridge over a busy street, he jumped to his death. Every newspaper in Belgium published this sad story for the government to do something about it. Today the fight against bully is very active in the country.

Children who intimidate or bully other children enjoy doing that. They never stop until the victim has courage to tell his or her parents or put up resistance. It is very important for parents to ask children often, if they are experiencing problems at school. Talking to your child about school is one of the quickest ways to determine if your child is hiding anything from you, for the parents to take necessary actions.

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How Do You Feel When Your Pet Dies After 22 Years?

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A pet lover

One may find it difficult to understand the reason why the death of a pet, sometimes affects the owner emotionally, physically and psychologically. Pets create special bond between the owner and the animal. That bond even becomes stronger when the animal is the only friend the owner has. The way some animal lovers love their pets is amazing. 

That’s the situation of my work mate. She was twenty-three when she had her first cat, since then they have lived happily as a family for twenty-two years. Her cat was sick and the veterinarian told her that the cat wouldn’t live long, due the poor and fragile condition. I think the sickness has something to do with old age.

The bad news affected Lucy emotionally for almost two weeks after visiting the veterinary. Just last month her cat passed away peacefully in its sleep. She was completely distraught and helpless that her ex-husband is now keeping companionship with her.

According Austrian researchers, the relationship between pet owners and their dogs is very similar to the deep connection between young children and their parents. Some pet owners never recover after the death of their beloved pets. I wasn’t surprised when a woman left a will of $1.5 million dollars for her pet in New Your City, when she has children.

“If You Knew My Father”: A Daughter’s Emotional Poem Dedicated To Father, Hulk Hogan

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Brooke Hogan
On Friday, July 25, 20015, Hulk Hogan was sacked by WWE administration for allegedly making racist remarks that referred to her daughter dating a black man. Following the incidence Hulk’s daughter, Brooke, wrote this emotional and touching poem to defend her father.
        Racism is everywhere including WWE. It’s like an ‘abomination’ to speak about it, the reason WWE seems to be like a place without sin. It’s unfortunate that Hulk Hogan has become a scapegoat, following the dismissal of Alberto Del Rio, over similar incidence.
‘IF YOU KNEW MY FATHER’
If you knew the dad I knew,
you’d know his tender heart.He’d never want to hurt his fans,
or family from the start.If you knew my father,
you would know how hard he fought…and the way it brought a smile to people light, medium and dark.We always fight a battle
that people never see,

and sometimes when you’re hurting, you don’t think logically.

Human isn’t perfect,
and perfect is not he,

but I can tell you one thing, it’s just not what it seems.

Cause If you knew the dad I knew,
you’d know he raised me well.

He taught me folks are so much more
than shades could ever tell.

And If you knew my father,
you would know he’s down to earth.

He may have slammed the giant,
but remembers life’s true worth.

If you knew my father,
if you just walked in his shoes…

then you would know that microscope that comes with yellow boots.

If you knew my father,
you would see your own in mine.

And if he was your father, you could never find divide.

Cause me- I bet your father
or someone that you love

Maybe regrets something
they wish they’d never done.

So if you know my father,
remember he’s a man,

and you would crave relief if people judged everything you did.

The lord says to forgive them,
don’t be the one to stone…

so please remember his strong arms when you were all alone.

The lives he’s changed, the friends he’s made,
the people he’s inspired…

It makes me sad to see my dad
defeated and so tired.

If you knew my father,
you would know just how he’s hurting…

For he loves every one of you, regardless of your story.

And if you met my father,
I know he’d give you love!

He’d lift you up, apologize and give you all a hug.

For those who think you know my father,
remember who you are.

We all can make mistakes and carry ugly scars.

Because I know my father,
I can promise this-

Just like you and I, things we don’t mean can sometimes slip.

We all continue learning.
This life can be so rough…

So if you know my father, please try not to be tough.

My father has a daughter,
and I have feelings too.

And if I knew your father, I would do the same for you.

Where Are You Going This Summer Holiday?

 

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The idiom: ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy’ might be conceived by an ideologist who knows that after working very hard , life needs relaxation, refreshment and holidays, because they provide relief from the monotony of our daily routine and also significant for our mental and emotional well being.

Unlike Africa blessed with continuous nine months of sunshine, summer comes just once a year in Europe and America, and this sunny period is something special which is never wasted. The legs which have been hiding in trousers are suddenly exposed and short skirts hiding in the wardrobes become adorable fashion for the ladies.

How do we enjoy our perfect Summer holidays? People enjoy summer in various ways. Some travel to favourite or tourists’ attraction places to enjoy the beautiful scenery, landscapes and quiet places. Others prefer to stay indoors and enjoy the barbecue events with their families and friends.

Most of the time, I travel to see my mother in Africa, who is now eighty years. But this year, I decided to change the direction of my summer holiday. I chose Barcelona. Why Barcelona? Just some few months ago, I remembered that in 1986, I opened an account in one of the banks in the city.

I deposited an amount of nine thousand pesetas in my account. (I’m not sure how much that amount is in Euros.) After my holidays in Barcelona, I cashed seven thousand pesetas from the account, leaving behind two thousand pesetas. Definitely my account is now a dormant file, but 1986 to 2015, is long enough to generate certain interest.

This sounds crazy, isn’t it? But I mean it, I’m going to the bank to find my account to re-open it once again, to see how much interest my two thousand pesetas have generated. There wasn’t much computer that time, so whatever means they will use to find my account is their own business.

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Sometimes government takes over dormant accounts after certain period. If my account is gone, that’s not going to ruin my vacation at all. It’s stupid to be miserable in a city called Barcelona during summer holidays, when the city smiles, beautiful restaurants invite, miniskirts tempt, and the sight of beautiful people from all walks of life, makes you appreciate the wonders of creation.