Daily Archives: January 3, 2018


JOHANNESBURG, The year 2017 ended on a positive note for South Africa when its national anthem, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”, was voted the world’s best national anthem in a poll conducted among readers of the respected international magazine, The Economist.

The magazine noted that the lyrics were taken mainly from the classic struggle hymn in Xhosa, Zulu and Sesotho, but combined them with Afrikaans and English from the country’s previous national anthem in an act of musical healing for the Rainbow nation.

Two national anthems, one country, the then official anthem and a representation of an oppressive system of governance, apartheid. Initially written as an Afrikaans poem Die Stem was composed by the Reverend Marthinus de Villiers in 1921.

It was sung in both English and Afrikaans and was adopted as the official national anthem from 1957.

The other Nkosi Sikelela was a symbol of independence and resistance to apartheid, sung by the majority black population and at all anti-apartheid rallies and gatherings.

In 1897 a Methodist reverend, Enoch Sontonga, composed the hymn, Nkosi Sikelel’ I Afrika.

The song became a pan-African liberation anthem and was later adopted as the national anthem of five countries in Africa including Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia and Zimbabwe after independence.

Zimbabwe and Namibia have since adopted new national anthems.

The dawn of democracy in 1994, saw a fusion of certain parts of the two anthems, as a symbol of unity in a country that was once segregated.

Last week, ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’, was voted the world’s best national anthem in a poll conducted among readers of The Economist.

However, South Africans have mixed reactions to the news. Many will not forget Raas Dumisane’s worst performance of the national anthem during a rugby match in France in 2009.


In Uganda, Dogs Comfort Victims of War

GULU TOWN, UGANDA Eleven years since the end of the civil war in Uganda, which pitted Lord’s Resistance Army rebels against the government, tens of thousands of people still struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mental health practitioners estimate that seven in 10 people in Northern Uganda were traumatically affected by the war.

At the age of 12, Francis Okello Oloya was blinded by a bomb blast as he dug in the family garden. In a boarding school for the blind, Okello found it difficult to ask people for help, especially in getting to the toilet at night. Now a 29-year-old community psychologist, that childhood experience led to the birth of a project involving what he calls comfort dogs.

“I had to navigate my way from the sleeping quarter to latrine and that was not easy,” he said. “And these dogs came to know that I needed help. And they began the practice of helping me from the sleeping quarters to the latrine. Being a person of visual impairment, you normally feel that you are going to burden people a lot.”

Dogs are mainly used for hunting in Uganda, with a few people warming up to the idea of owning dogs at home, mostly for security. But Okello began collecting street dogs, which were handed over to guardians with training in dog handling.

In 2015, Okello started The Comfort Dog Project to help people in Gulu town, especially those who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

Philda Akum, 35, is one of the 29 beneficiaries of the project. In 1997, she and her four brothers were abducted by the LRA and taken to Sudan.

One of her brothers tried to escape.

That brother was captured and killed, Akum says. Another brother was selected to go to the battlefront; he was shot dead. Two days later, her youngest brother contracted cholera and died. The horrors have left her traumatized, she says. She returned home and joined group therapy, which is how she got her dog, Lok Oroma.

Lucy Adok, 39, spent five years fighting in the bush.

“I was in combat and saw many people being killed,” she said. “I was destroyed. When I returned home, I experienced flashbacks and any loud sound sounded like a bullet. When I learned that I could get a dog as a friend, I took on Sadiq.

“I now spend a lot of time with Sadiq. I have dreams of our games during the day and slowly Sadiq has replaced the bad memories from the war.”

The dogs find a home, and the guardians find life companions.

Source: Voice of America

Acts of vigilantism condemned

The Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has condemned acts of mob-attacks and vigilantism which erupted in Ga-Mphahlele area outside Lebowakgomo.

This condemnation follows the incident which occurred yesterday afternoon, 02 January 2018, at Maijane village in the Ga-Mphahlele area of the Lebowakgomo Policing area outside Polokwane.

It is alleged that the local community members stoned four (04) taxis and burnt one to ashes after a group of taxi people forced one resident to use the taxi instead of hiking near Seleteng taxi rank.

The Police were notified, reacted swiftly and the situation was then brought back to normal and cases of malicious damage to property and assault were then opened.

There is no arrest yet but the Police investigations including the identification of those involved are still continuing.

Members of the Community must at all times resort to the legal processes in case of any situation or conflict rather than engaging in violence acts which is totally uncalled for and all perpetrators involved in this incident, are going to be dealt with mercilessly and without compromise, concluded General Ledwaba.

Source: South African Police Service