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It was a joyfull moment for Ted Sams (78) and his family when he finally walked on stage to receive his high school diploma sixty years after he missed his 1962 graduation because of some teenage mischief and $4.80 (E3.40) overdue library fine he owed at his former school.
During his high school days, Ted and a friend were in a photography class when they were caught by the vice principal for photographing people without their consent and Ted was later suspended, leading to him missing the final exam and graduation. While he tried keeping up with his studies by attending summer school, Ted then found that he couldn't get his diploma because of the overdue library fine book.
“So I just walked away from it and said, 'Forget it',” he says.
In 2022, after much persuasion from his family Ted joined San Gabriel California High school in Los Angeles and got his high school diploma
Sams says he never expected to be back in high school 60 years later after he dropped out. He recounted how he would repeatedly complain to his children how a meagre $4.80 kept him from having a degree.
His daughter Sherry then suprised him by asking San Gabriel High in Los Angeles for a reprint of his diploma so he can attend graduation.
Luckily for him, the school hasn't thrown away the diploma and It was kept in a box, in senior archives.
In 27 May, Ted received an invitation from the school to be part of the graduation ceremony. The ceremony was attended by his wife and five children.
Even though it has been a long hard road, Ted says attaining his diploma has been a great achievement for him and the graduation was one of the highlights of his life.
“Actually, when he walked and got his diploma, every person on that stage hugged him and then the whole class applauded for him,” Sherry says.
Although the $4.80 fine hasn't been paid, Ted is now a graduate of San Gabriel High School's class of 2022.
MLAWULA CAMPFIRE LAUNCH: Let's Adopt a Green Lifestyle for Nature to Continue Sustaining Us- Minister
The Ministry of Tourism and Environmental affairs of Eswatini Moses Vilakati says in order for people to live sustainably and in peace with nature, they should adopt and promote a greener lifestyle.
Vilakati was speaking during the launch of the 3rd edition of the Mlawula Campfire festival on Thursday, while the real event is scheduled to take place from the 28th to 30th of October 2022 at Siphiso Campsite, which is located within the Mlawula nature reserve.
The Minister says as a ministry, it is of paramount importance to them that they monitor the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. "The Ministry has a responsibility, amongst others to oveeseer conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, which is delegated to the Eswatini National Trust Commission" he said.
The launch tabbed, 'Only One Earth' occurred during the World Environmental Month and aims to promote activities that support the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources such as water, land and minerals which also tend not only to bolsters the people's lives but also attracts tourists in a country thus it's economy.
According to Vilakati, tourism is one of the pillars in the country's economic development agenda. He says the government had a wakeup call from the COVID-19 pandemic because it forced it to expand the country's domestic tourism initiatives througn enhanced product development while introducing different adventure promotions.
Vilakati further urged companies and institutions to partner with the government in hosting the event which he described as a perfect epitome of the 'Only One Earth' theme of the environmental month.
He went on saying, "This will provide an opportunity for most companies and institutions to partner with us in hosting a successful event. It is worth mentioning that the intended objectives of such an initiative can only be achieved with your participation and support, as well as inviting others from across the spectrum to enjoy the one of a kind experience. In this way, the tourism economy will increase and enable extended sharing of benefits."
Abuse of power has led to conflicts which have divided a nation's people..Human greed has brought enmity and hatred between leaders and the grassroot people in my country. Violence now reigns supreme.
Our people have crossed the Rubicon of tolerance. Corruption has divided our people into two camps. Only wholesale changes in leadership and the ushering of democratic changes can save my country from anarchy and civil war.
Swaziland, my country, beg the world to pray for us!
I have recently started a book about a young woman in Eswatini whose personal journey depicts the hardships faced by almost every woman in the country. Below is an excerpt...
EXILED: Losing Thabo
"Don't tell me you have never wanted to see justice done for all the injustices you have suffered! That you haven't wished for your baby's killer to be tried in a fair court of law, instead of roaming free as if he is innocent while we know he's not. That you haven't longed for retribution against your employees who fired you for your political views just because they don't align with theirs. This is our time sis', to right the wrongs done to us by this unjust system. It's time we fought for what is rightfully ours! We can't be governed by a bunch of individuals who priorities money over the people's welfare. Government officials who accept bribes and look the other way while someone is being killed. It's time we take back the power because it belongs to us. Time has run out for this cruel regime which silences us by using guns and brutality and if you do not join the fight now, who will fight for you when they do come for you, because they will?"
Tears trickled down Lindiwe's cheek as she listened to her brothers passionate please. She hung her head in defeat as the inevitability of the situation struck her, she could feel it in her bones that this was it. With her life stripped bare of all possibilities of a bright future she had no other option but to fight
It's far from over... 2 critically wounded as Eswatini Warders trade fire with unknown men at Kwaluseni OK Foods
An unidentified boy was critically injured when a stray bullet meant hit him in the stomach during a gunfight between Warders and unknown men at Kwaluseni OK Foods on Friday, 18th February evening.
It is said the Warders were parked outside the food supermarket when the unknown men approached the vehicle and opened fire on them, which the Warders returned. The gunfight injured the boy and another man was also shot on the leg.
Eswatini is a tiny Kingdom marred by violence and riots as the people demand democratic reforms from the current government led by King Mswati lll
A month back, a colleague who later became a friend quoted a common phrase, but I could feel it resonating deep in my heart and leaving a cold chill slithering down my spine. He said, "Gender Based Violence is the face of a woman".
I remember trying to push it to the back of my mind but to this day my attempts are still in vain; for i still bear sleepless nights because of the nightmarish ordeals I have suffered in the hands of men (the lovers, friends, relatives). I don't think I will ever feel completely safe while in the presence of men. I don't think I could ever love nor trust so deeply because of men. Yes! You say there are not all monsters; but how are we as women suppose to differentiate cause the monsters start as promising lovers, brothers & relatives.
Honestly though, I despair that I was born in such a country where the marginalisation of women has been standardised such that even the women themselves have accepted it as a norm.
Eswatini, my country; women are much more than broodmares, cooks, victims of abuse. Our presence equals that of a thousand men. If you pay my bride price, that doesn't mean you own me. If I submit under you, that doesn't mean I am yours to do as you will... I am much more than just a woman; I am your future
As parents, it is important that we exhibit moral values to our children. Children copy what we do as parents. If we constantly have marital problems for example, which culminate in violent confrontations, it doesn't escape the attention of our offsprings. In their adult life, somehow what we sowed will manifest itself in our children's behaviours.
Even with our spiritual proclivity, it is important that we behave in a manner that will rub off our children. Worshipping God in truth and in spirit attracts blessings for our families. The opposite attracts curses, which God puts in no uncertain terms that, He will visit the sins of the father to the children up to certain generations.
We need to take an introspective stance as parents, and honestly weigh our behaviours to see if they are still in sync with biblical statutes.
Our children are exposed to many evil spiritual influences. These should not come from within the family. Teach your child in the way he should go because you practice it - true, Godly principles. Yes..were not perfect..but we can try. Don't fool yourself, the devil hates with a passion the family structure. He will use every weapon in his arsenal to disrupt it. Happy Thursday!
Each day comes with its own bouts of joys and/or disappointments. One minute you're happy, the next minute, who knows? Life is very unpredictable. It constantly throws a lot of sh..t at us and it depends how street savvy, positive-minded, and thick skinned you're, to avoid throwing in the towel.
I've walked through numerous valleys full of shadows of death.. We've all faced problems of mammoth proportions such that giving up was the only available option.
But somehow, we summoned those remnants of resilience...and made it. I always never fail to give glory to the Living God for always coming to my rescue in the nick of time..To Him, it is never too late. He controls time, chance, space, our destined futures, All He requires is FAITH...the rest, He takes over. On second thoughts, he tells Paul that His power "is manifested during our weakness".
We may be facing insurmountable problems right now, during this infamous, January month. No light might be flickering at the end of the tunnel. Friends may disappear when we need them most..the cat might be *sleeping on the oven*...no help might forthcoming..we trust in men, when the One who controls the future is only a prayer away.
Let's give glory to God, trust in the Son He sent as atonement for our sins. To the oppressed by life's problems and those who want to give up, including me. DON'T. Let's look up to the heavens..He is forever ready to help. Happy Sabbath!
The oppressive nature of our system of government in Swaziland, has just gone too far. I'm a columnist and the communication I receive from a motley group of people who read my articles which are critical of the injustices of the system, is very saddening.
Swazis are not silent. The silence is induced...sometimes brutally.They need an outlet where they cannot only cough out their frustration, but need bold, grassroot leadership that can push their frustration into a juggernaut of a democratic movement that would give the status quo sleepless nights, and induce them to come to the people and engage them in dialogue.
Today, a reader who called me, sounding very emotional, after reading yesterday's article, implored every oppressed Swazi to stand up for their rights, not only for the present generation, but for the future generations, as well.. He said something that triggered a deep introspection, mentioning that if as the oppressed, we could not position ourselves, but hope and wait for a Miracle to come from God..then we might as well applaud the enemy for oppressing us. Position ourselves... act..that gave me food for thought.
The people out there are at the precipice of their tolerance. They are an angry lot..ranting with sheer frustration. The stagnant economy is wreaking havoc on their lives. They are living from hand to mouth. Prices of basic food commodities have doubled..even tripled. The wages they receive are enough to buy bread. What irks many is that they pay taxes, and receive nada in return.
Poor service delivery has become normal. Families of the oligarchs, who have never toiled for a living in their whole life, are beneficiaries of their taxes. The poverty-stricken live on less than a dollar per day, while those who loot public funds with impunity, live filthy opulent lifestyles. It calls for a charismatic voice..a Movement.. An organization..or whatever, to properly channel the divergent frustrations of the people, making the people s united, and one formidable force - remember the Sudan and Arab Spring protest?
As a columnist, I sometimes fear for my well-being for identifying with the suffering of the people, and putting into paper their sheer frustration.
May the progressives find success in their quest to turn things around.
Or else, I fear..if the simmering anger boils over..
Power gets into your head, makes you heady, and you rarely listen to voices of reason, or take advice from those in the lower rungs of power, when you stray, and abuse those powers vested in you. In numerous, cases those who abuse power, and allow it to corrupt them absolutely, began their stint in power as sheep, but the trappings, and allurement of power, changed them into ravenous wolves.
History is bloated with records of leaders who failed to contain themselves, allowed the tentacles of power to strangle, and corrupt their consciences, turning them into power-hungry oligarchs, who became a nemesis to those under their authority.
As the governed, we at times create the Frankenstein monster in leaders, regarding, hailing them as gods.
Lesson: Never venerate, elevate leaders into godly status...lest they turn into dangerous autocrats..
I'm just a simple man..a run-off-the- mill guy, from the tiny kingdom of Swaziland, ruled by an absolute Monarch, King Mswati III. I am a commoner, who happens to be a writer, and following my childhood passion of writing..
I'm sorry, but I abhor any form of injustice, irrespective from whom it comes from - be it from a friend, relative, ruling authorities, etc. I am an advocate, a proponent, a protagonist of peace, and harmony. I will defend with my back against the wall, the underprivileged, the oppressed, and those whose voices are not heard as they cry for justice.
What is happening in this hell-hole of a country..this animal farm, led by oligarchs who only care about power, money and oppressing the people who reluctantly sponsor their opulent lifestyles, is diabolical. It has no place in a modern society, and belongs in medieval times.
The Living God created us all equal, and it is Him and Him alone, we should worship..not mortal man, who was taken from the dust and shall return to dust.
When the Living and Loving God created Man, He commanded, "Subjue the Earth.." He never commanded Man to subdue Man, oppressing him, like what leaders of this wretched country are doing to such a peace loving people, as Swazis.
I hear there is a coming dialogue which has the propensity to make or break our political future. I believe in dialogue.
I believe that when in conflict, human decency demands that we sit down and thrash out our differences, agree to disagree, and ferociously work on reaching a consensus.
I've more or less, studied the mentality of this government, and its leaders. What I have no doubts about is that there is just no way they will negotiate or dialogue in good faith. They have been in power for more than a jubilee of years. They know the perks and benefits of being in power. We all know what power does. It corrupts...
When you're in power, you feel like a god..you command those under you to jump..and they eagerly ask, "how high your Honour".
The wise say, "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts.. ABSOLUTELY"
It remains to be seen if change will finally come in my country..but the will of the people, and good shall triumph over evil in the end...
Why is everyone I know so broken?
They are holding on to expired love tokens
the days and nights her previous crumpled her’s aside
Sat her down with a hefty pound.
Am I a magnet to love that turns to gray?
To feelings turning the tide,
and hearts stumbling away?
Will they ever be free
from past moments shared and cherished?
Do I really have to see past the eye?
Mend and nature their broken hearts?
While the next better man,
Tears them in pieces apart?
don’t term it a calling
I can’t be the middle man falling
Like a river bound to its doom
Am sure to run dry.
to this quest, well I bid goodbye.
Often, we christians beat ourselves up when tables stop turning the clockwise way, when terrible terrors sing tunes of sorrow in our spiritualities. We often overlook that God has a greater influence on us when we are feeling down. Truly, it is then that we should seek his grace. In 2 nd Corinthians 12 verse 9, God says through Paul, “... my grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak...”. He who planned our lives long before we existed (Jeremiah 1 verse 5), to Him we should pledge our loyalty for eternity because the solid foundation that he has laid cannot be shaken( 2 nd Timothy 2 verse 19).
I know there are people who have suffered the threats of a longed suffering. People whom have lost the faith to praise God; their hearts have started to believe and adapt to the darkness that seems eternal even during the day. My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, there are some things that time can never mend, some hurts that go too deep that they take hold, but God’s grace can wipe the tears that have rolled down your chicks as Billie’s “ocean of tears”. It is time you change your constant prayers. 1 st John 3 verse 22 says, “we receive from Him what we ask because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him...”. You may have prayed for His grace that He may make your plans prosperous every year, but got no immediate responses. I say to you today, start praying to God for a plan, ask of the wisdom to get a prosperous plan, for through God given plans only can you emerge victoriously. He came that we may have life and have it in abundance (John 10 verse 10.) Even through your trials, listen and live by His
commands, for in 1 st Corinthians 10 verses 12-13, He says, “whoever thinks he is standing firm better be careful that he does not fall. Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps His promise,
and He will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time of the test, He will give you strength to endure it and so provide you with a way out...”
Brothers and sisters, let us seek first the kingdom of God and all the good things shall be granted to us, let us bring forth the love of God before everything. The bible says, happy are the eyes that see what we have seen in Jesus, for many Kings and Knights desire to see what we observe but cannot and to hear that which we have heard, but did not (Luke 10 verse 23). Be sure to always show your faith because as the body is dead without the spirit, also faith without actions is dead (James 2 verse 26). Know that loving God is a personal task. It is not just inherited from family, friends or religions. You have got to stand to that faith from winter through summer. Stick by the word, hold on to the word and you shall see him (Hosea 4 verse 5).
Add effort into your salvation, least you want to lose it. Desire more spiritual doings. Submit to God all your sins. Well, you will never succeed in life if you hide your sins. Confess them and give them up, then God will show mercy to you (Proverbs 28 verse 13). Be sure to refrain from the use of hard words. The book of James 3 verse 10 reveals that, “ words of thanksgiving and cursing pour out from the same mouth. My brothers, this should not happen!” . We often take this issue of the tongue very lightly, this should not happen. Sweet springs do not give salty water, nor does a fig tree bear olives. The mouth speaks that which the heart is full of. The time to ask God’s complete
guidance is now. You do not need to be flashy to show Him loyalty. You do not need to be famous for the significance of the Lord’s power to elevate through you! He is always the missing part of the puzzle and a fortune treasures await your journey of life, on one condition; you make God your mentor, love your neighbour as you love yourselves and lean not to your own understandings.
To be continued...
Siphesihle Moses Shabangu
two decades of fluffy sweet years
a false fairy-tale tickled ears
from dust to dawn,
winter through summer
smiles widened through their faces
a golden spoon and a silver platter,
a blazing sunrise and a beautiful sunset,
a Shining Amour and a Royal highness...
oh! what a remorseful loss
to the noble garden of daffodils;
you left mystical Black Rose
along with the hope that flowed
in xylem as mineral salts.
you set off as the sunset
and never rose to glow again!
completely, explicitly and profusely
you vanquished love seared in their hearts
as your petals fell slow
and your stem wilted dry.
your existence faded right in summer
with no aid of frost and blizzards from winter.
you left amazing pure souls
vulnerable and prone to slumber.
you left mystical Rose
with no sick Rose time in quarantine
left all hearts pumping real low
and eyes dripping oceans of tears.
but all ain't lost, Daffodils
there's always a new summer;
there's always a next eclipse;
Solar or Lunar
celestial bodies shall align again
for that is how you came about;
as King among Daffodils.
My name is Sphelele Zulu and am a part-time writer.Today I wish to share my life with you.With the Corona virus disrupting a lot of events and moments in oyr lives,I have taken an initiative to publish my work to the public. I hope to uplift and inspire others to face the pandemic like it is a breeze.I hope everyone will hold onto their hearts lest I blow them away with my writing