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Things you didn’t know about Mandela… or ‘World Soil Day’

AS the world roller-coasters towards a wealth of festivities during this year’s Christmastide that is already looming on the horizon, I thought of how to lighten life’s burden all-round.

So, I browsed the ubiquitous Internet for something light, amusing, bemusing– or out-of-the-ordinary, even... Then, lo-and-behold: here was this headline about ‘50 things you probably didn’t know about Nelson Mandela… ’ https://www.boomsbeat. com › People> ] .

Compiled and published on January 13, 2014 by < The Daily Boomsbeat> , the roughly 1,4 00-word long document lists what the compilers think worth knowing regarding the iconic African leader Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibhuna ‘Madiba’ Mandela–which in the X hosa lingo roughly means a ‘troublemaker’ every which way one looks at the fellow.

Oh, I don’t know… But, it suddenly dawned upon me as I was idling the time away at the computer that it was on a date like today’s a short five years ago–on December 5, 2013, to be ex act– when Mr Mandela went back to his Maker on the back of the beyond! B

orn on July 18, 1918 to the Thembu Royal Family in Mvezo Cape Province, our Mandela reportedly died at the ripe old age of 95 years from ‘respiratory infection’ in Johannesburg on December 5, 2013.

There surely cannot be that many people in Africa and across much of the (civiliz ed/politicized) world who haven’t/hadn’t heard of Nelson Mandela.

But then again, not that many people know that, for instance, Scientists named a prehistoric woodpecker after Mandela in 2012: Namely the ‘ Australopicus nelsonmandelai!’

That was at a time when the man was perhaps too sick to care about the honour – only to die early in the following year. He also had a nuclear particle named after him by Leeds University in 197 3– as well as an orchid: ‘ Paravanda Nelson Mandela.’

Oh, there are more of those goody-goodies… In 2009 , the United Nations declared the man’s birthdate, July 18, to be ‘Nelson Mandela International Day, apparently “ to honor Mandela’s legacy and promote community service… ”

Also, Robben Island where Mandela spent most of his incarceration was named ‘ World Heritage Site.’ After 27 years in jail, Mandela was released –and finally became the first Black President of South Africa for a single 4 -year term that begun in May 1994

. But, he had declined offers six times by the apartheid Government to be released from custody on condition that he would renounce violence in the struggle for ‘liberté , é galité , fraternité’ ( French for ‘liberty, equality, fraternity/ brotherhood’) .

Mandela refused, insisting that he would only lay down arms when the country’s ‘ White’ Government did the same. Named an honorary citiz en of Canada – and an honorary member of the England Premier Soccer League Club Manchester United – Nelson Mandela shared the 199 3 Nobel Peace Prize with the South Africa’s last apartheid President, Frederik Willem de Klerk.

In any case, Mandela is reputed to have received more than 250 Awards, including honorary degrees from more than 50 Universities worldwide. Oh… there is so much on Mandela which is in the public domain that one has only to hit the Q WERTY arrangements on a computer keyboard to access the juicy info.

So much, then, on Nelson Mandela, who aroused this much interest only because he died peacefully in Johannesburg on a day like today’s five years ago.

Other topics of interest today are that December 5 is both ‘World Soil Day,’ and ‘ International V olunteer Day for Economic and Social Development.’

The Resolution on ‘World Soil Day’ was adopted in 2002 by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) to declare December 5th the day on which “to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system, and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing.”

Noting that “soil is a finite natural resource that is non-renewable on a human time-scale,” IUSS laments that “ there is a worldwide increase in degradation of soil resources due to inappropriate management practices, population pressure driving unsustainable intensification, and inadequate governance over this essential resource.”

Hence the need to have a ‘World Soil Day’ (December 5) as a global awarenessraising platform regarding soil as a critical component of the natural system.

A vital contributor to the humanities’ food, water, and energy security, and as a mitigator of biodiversity loss and climate change.’ Then there is this thing about ‘International V olunteer Day (IV D) for Economic and Social Development.’

They tell us that this was “ mandated by the UN General Assembly as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations ( NGOs), UN Agencies, government authorities and the private sector.”

Honestly, I don’t quite cotton onto this! But, never mind that… let’s move on to other things; life must go on… Cheers!

israellyimo@ gmail.com

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Author: Karl Lyimo

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