Authors birthday: August

Kateb Yacine ((August 2, 1929 or August 6, 1929 – October 28, 1989) was an Algerian writer notable for his novels and plays, both in French and Algerian Arabic dialect, and his advocacy of the Berber cause.

He was born into a scholarly maraboutic  Berber family from Sedrata in western Souk Ahras. His maternal grandfather was the ‘bach adel’, or deputy judge of the qadi in Condé Smendou (Zirout Youcef). His father was a lawyer, and the family followed him through his various assignments in different parts of the country. Young Kateb (which means ‘writer’), attended the Sedrata Quran school in 1937, then in 1938 the French school in Lafayette (Bougaa) in Little Kabylie, where the family had moved. In 1941 he enrolled in the colonial ‘collège’ (secondary school) of Setif as a boarder.

Between 1972 and 1975 Kateb went with on tour performing the plays ‘Mohamed prends ta valise’ and ‘La Guerre de deux mille ans’ to France and to the German Democratic Republic. The Algerian government in Sidi-Bel-Abbes more or less sentenced him to direct the city’s regional theatre as a kind of exile. Having been forbidden to appear on television, Yacine staged his plays in schools or businesses. He was often criticized for his emphasis on Berber tradition and the ‘Tamazight’ language, as well as for his liberal positions on issues of gender equality such as his position against women being required to wear a headscarf.

In 1986 Kateb Yacine circulated an excerpt of a play about Nelson Mandela, and in 1987 he received the Grand prix national des Lettres in France.

In 1988 the Avignon Festival staged ‘Le Bourgeois sans culotte ou le spectre du parc Monceau’, a play about Robespierre that Yacine wrote at the request of the Arras Cultural Center for the bicentennial commemoration of the French Revolution. Yacine settled in Verscheny in Drôme, traveled often to the United States and continued to make frequent trips to Algeria. At his death he left an unfinished work on the Algerian riots of October 1988. In 2003 his works were admitted to the Comédie-Française.

Taught in the language of the colonizer, Kateb Yacine considered the French language the Algerians’ spoil of the war for independence. He declared in 1966 that “La Francophonie is a neocolonial political machine, which only perpetuates our alienation, but the usage of the French language does not mean that one is an agent of a foreign power, and I write in French to tell the French that I am not French”. Trilingual, Kateb Yacine also wrote and supervised the translation of his texts into the Berber language. His work manifests his multicultural country’s search for identity and the aspirations of its people.

Kateb Yacine is the father of three children, Hans, Nadia and Amazigh Kateb, singer for the band Gnawa Diffusion.

  • Francisco Esaú Cossa – 1 August 1957
  • Kateb Yacine – 2 August 1929 – died 28 October 1989
  • Russell Smith – 2 August 1963
  • James Arthur Baldwin – 2 August 1924 –died 1 December 1987
  • Maguy (Margaret) Rashidi Kabamba -3 August 1960
  • Antwone Quenton Fisher – 3 August 1959
  • Edward Wilmot Blyden – 3 August 1832 – died 7 February 1912
  • Christiaan Bakkes –  3 August 1965
  • Marvel Jackson Cooke – 4 April 1903 –died 29 November 2000
  • Robert Beck – 4 August 1918 –died 28 April 1992
  • Robert Hayden – 4 August 1913 – died 25 February 1980
  • Ramona Lofton – 4 August 1950
  • William Kamkwamba – 5 August 1987
  • Rochelle Alers – 7 August 1963

Authors birthdays: July

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary,politician, and philanthropist, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country’s first black chief executive, and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Politically an African nationalist and democratic socialist, he served as President of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.

A Xhosa born to the Thembu royal family, Mandela attended the University of Fort Hare and the University of the Witwatersrand, where he studied law. Living in Johannesburg, he became involved in anti-colonial politics, joining the ANC and becoming a founding member of its Youth League. After the Afrikaner minority government of the National Party established apartheid – a system of racial segregation that privileged whites – in 1948 he rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 anti-apartheid Defiance Campaign, was appointed President of the organisation’s Transvaal branch, and co-organised the 1955 Congress of the People.

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Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Influenced by Marxism, he secretly joined the South African Communist Party (SACP). Although initially committed to non-violent protest, in association with the SACP he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961, leading a sabotage campaign against the government. In 1962, he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the state, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. Amid international pressure and growing fear of a racial civil war, President F. W. de Klerk released him in 1990. Mandela and de Klerk negotiated an end to apartheid and organised the 1994 multiracial elections, in which Mandela led the ANC to victory and became president. Leading a broad coalition government, which promulgated a new constitution, Mandela emphasised reconciliation between the country’s racial groups and created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses.

While continuing with the former government’s economic liberalism, his administration introduced measures to encourage land reform, combat poverty, and expand healthcare services. Internationally, he acted as mediator in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial and served as Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998–99. Declining a second presidential term, he was succeeded by his deputy, Thabo Mbeki. Mandela became an elder statesman, focusing on charitable work in combating poverty and HIV/AIDS through the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his life. Critics on the right denounced him as a communist terrorist, while those on the radical left deemed him too eager to negotiate and reconcile with apartheid’s supporters. Conversely, he gained international acclaim for his activism, having received more than 250 honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Soviet Lenin Peace Prize. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Xhosa clan name, Madiba, or as Tata (“Father”), and described as the “Father of the Nation”.

  • Nathaniel Kolawole Onadipe – 14 July 1922 – died 4 December 1988
  • Mari Evans – 16 July 1923
  • Ida Bell Wells-Barnett – 16 July 1862 –died 25 March 1931
  • Paul Lomami Tshibamba – 17 July 1914 – died  1985
  • Marie-Thérèse Humbert – 17 July 1940
  • Nelson Mandela – 18 July 1918 – died 5 December 2013
  • Lynn Freed – 18 July 1945
  • James David Rubadiri – 19 July 1930
  • Echezonachukwu Chinedu Nduka –  19 July 1989
  • Alice Ruth Moore Dunbar Nelson – 19 July 1875 –died 18 September 1935
  • Abdourahman Waberi -20 July 1965
  • Henry Dumas – 20 July 1934 –died 23 May 1968
  • Fran13.Buchi Emecheta – 21 July 1944cis Ray – 20 July 1944 – died 3 July 2013
  • Véronique Tadjo 21 July 1955
  • Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa –  21 July 1921
  • Josué Yoroba Guébo – 21 July 1972
  • Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr. – 22 July 1939
  • Stuart Cloete – 23 July 1897 – died 19 March 1976
  • James Percy FitzPatrick – 24 July 1862 – died 24 January 1931
  • Ekwueme Michael Thelwell – 25 July 1939
  • Shenaz Patel – 29 July 1966
  • Whyghtone Kamthunzi – 31 July 1956 –died  18 May 2000
  • Norbert Zongo – July 1949 – died December 13, 1998







2016 Africa Spelling Bee

Mzansi Spelling Bee Team would like to congratulate once more 2016 First Annual Africa Spelling Bee Champions.

1st place went to Zameer Dada (14 years old) from South Africa.

2nd place went to Alma Wanjiku (12 years old)  from Kenya and Bethlehem Kidane Tedla (14 years old) from Ethipia

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The Africa Spelling Bee Championship is jointly being organized by the Africa Spelling Bee, a consortium of like minded Spelling Bee Organisations from across Africa.

Nine (9) Spelling Bee organizations from across the African Continent have come together to host the first ever African Spelling Bee Championships that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa 16 July 2016.

Word of the day: Pschent 

Say it:p-skent

Part of speech: Noun

Definition: The headdress of the later Egyptian pharaohs formed of the two crowns worn by the respective pharaohs of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt before the union of the country under one rule.

Etymology: Greek

Synonyms: Crown

Use in a sentence:What colossal statues, hewn out of one block of stone and towering to the sky, with the pschent crowns of their diadems.