06 July, 2011

Maya Angelou- Poet and Historian

She was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on the 4th of April 1928 in St Louis, Missouri United States of America. Maya experienced the racial discrimination at the implemented way of life. She credits her grandmother for instilling in her the values at a very early age; these values informed her later stage of life. At the age of seven she was molested by her mother’s live in boyfriend and felt silent and did not speak for five years. She conceived her son Guy while merely sixteen; this did not impede her aspirations. She worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s.On the day of her birthday in 1968 Martin Luther was assassinated that was when she found solace in writing. Her first book titled Caged Bird Sings was published in 1970.Maya was awarded the highest civilian honour by President Barack Obama-Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Maya is my heroine because of the enormous role she played especially as a woman in movements which were in opposition to the American government. This was at a point were women were constrained from the corporate world, Even though she faced many barriers in life that almost discontinued her dreams they otherwise made her stronger. In Maya I have learnt that the worthiness of a person is not determined by the colour of their skin or by their status in life rather by the values they instil in any person.

“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.”-Is my personal favourite. Maya’s other quote- “U may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated”

She is not only a living legend but a mother of all nations.

By: Khutso Mabokela

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