Since my book You’re Awesome, Living a Fulfilled Life appeared, everything has been a bit more frantic in the Smith home in Pietermaritzburg.
Besides our normal business and social activities, we have had to make room for this other “child”. The birth of “The Book” is only the start of the life of this new member in our midst – we now need to see it through to maturity by introducing it to the public.
My resolve to bring about change in this country is confirmed every day by the positive responses that I receive about You’re Awesome. I am humbled by people whom I hold in high regard who connect to the essence of what I believe, written into the pages of my book – a simple 52 step practical manual towards a more significant life.
Cape Town Launch of You’re Awesome
This week I received this amazing message from Motivational Speaker, Ingrid Roberts who apologised for not being able to attend the Cape Town launch of my book You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life being held at The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cape Town on Tuesday 6th September. See invitation on Facebook
“You are TRULY awesome Di! I watch with such pride in my heart as your book rises into our collective consciousness … and think how proud I am to know you and to have felt your magic personally – the same magic that is imbued clearly on every page of this book. Well done – well done and well done again – wonderful lady. May you go from strength to strength with your God-given gift to inspire those around you.”
“My baboon-like medley dancing , is likely to unsettle the dogs, so I will proceed cautiously” – Chris James
“We dropped off Dave at the airport on Saturday and I was delighted to find a copy of Di’s remarkable book, which I secured. Jo and I look forward very much to reading it although I anticipate week 43 in the veggie patch being a little easier for me than the daily dancing in week 19. You will recall your very accurate comments on my baboon-like dancing medley, which is likely to unsettle the dogs, so I will proceed cautiously. It is a wonderful book and we will definitely get several more copies for family and friends, and you must indeed be very proud of Di.”
Guy (my husband) and I have a friend of long time standing who wrote a letter to Guy of which I have taken the extract above regarding my book. Chris James should write a book. He has achieved a great command of the English language, writes with humour and has a wonderful turn of phrase.
You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life with photographs by Terrence (Mzi) Mtola will be launched at The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cape Town on Tuesday 6th September – 5 for 5.30pm. Archbishop Desmond Tutu will be the guest speaker at this launch.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, has been a source of inspiration in the writing of my book. He has repeatedly called for people to practice ubuntu. He says that the highest praise that can be given to someone is “Yu, u nobuntu”, an acknowledgement that he or she has this wonderful quality, ubuntu.
The more I learnt about Ubuntu, the more I came to realise that by living with this philosophy it would soften the often hostile human relationship between people. Ubuntu honours human relationships and how people relate to one another. It was for this reason that the philosophy of Ubuntu threads its way through the chapters of my book.
After my quiet time one morning, not long after I started writing You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life, an inspiration came to me to ask Archbishop Desmond Tutu to write the Foreword for the book. At that time Archbishop Tutu was travelling the world calling for reconciliation and peace so it took me close to eighteen months to set up a meeting with Father Tutu. I had by then also met with Terrence (Mzi) Mtola and was thrilled when Mzi agreed to be the photographer for the book. Terrence’s photographs depict the beauty of our people and the magnificence of our country.
Derryn Campbell, (co-founder of Awesome SA and author of the book Awesome South Africa) Terrence Mtola, his wife Zinzi and I made the trip to Cape Town where we were able to show Father Tutu a draft copy of my book. On the strength of this Father Tutu agreed to write the Foreword.
Father Tutu has the most wonderful sense of humour and when we thanked him for finding the time to meet with us, his reply was “I don’t know why everyone wants to come and see me. I think it is because they want to look at my big nose.”
By Moray Combrink, Guest Blogger
A friend recently posted a line from a popular movie as a comment on Facebook: “Behind every great man, there’s a woman…rolling her eyes”. It’s a comic take on the familiar idea that men need the support of their female partners in order to achieve fame.
That’s probably true, but what about women who are prominent themselves, perhaps with the backing of the men in their lives but often without it? Winnie Madikizela-Mandela stood alone through the long years when her husband was in prison and she was incessantly harassed by the forces of the apartheid regime, she did all she could to ensure that the freedom struggle remained in the international spotlight.
Also banned, detained and attacked, the late Fatima Meer was a fearless activist for political rights. Harassed in a different way, but similarly undaunted in her determination to stand up against racism and injustice, Helen Suzman was for years the lone representative of her party in parliament and a thorn in the side of the apartheid government. Today the names in the forefront of opposition politics are Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille.
These names spring to mind, perhaps, because politics is the most public arena in the nation’s affairs, but there are many other women – in business, in the arts, in sport and in every sector of society – whose leadership is leaving its mark. And, while the harassment of political activists may be more obvious, these women often need great courage to hold firm to what they believe is right. Not only do they sometimes lack the support of their male associates, they often have to confront actual opposition.
In fact, in spite of our enlightened constitution, male chauvinism continues to plague this society. We have one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, much of it domestic violence. While women in high places may face harassment and hostility, it is those who every day face abuse in their own homes, physical or verbal, who need to be bravest. There are agencies that offer help, but many women are scared to contact them for fear of even worse assaults. To do what is necessary and right, even when one is dreadfully afraid, takes the greatest courage of all – and these women need all the support they can get.
“The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think.” – James McCosh. (Taken from Chapter 28 of my book called You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life.)
Once again Gcina Mhlophe wove her magic at the Willowfontein and Muzi Thusi schools recently with her storytelling.
I felt privileged to be included in travelling out to these two schools , one in Imbali and the other near Edendale hospital to hand out books. The cherry on the top for me always is to hear Gcina weave her magic as her stories unfold. I watched as the children listened spellbound to Gcina’s stories. If there is anyone who can inspire the children of South Africa to become a reading nation it is Gcina. Her listeners become totally absorbed in the content of the story as Gcina impersonates, sings and lives her stories. She begins each session with a song….”Kwazulu-Natal, the province that reads. Kwazulu-Natal, the province that reads….”
The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize, in his address at both these schools, highlighted the importance of reading to the learners. I was inspired to see that Gcina’s work is being supported by local government. The books she handed out to these two schools were donated by a French company who supports her Nozincwadi Reading Initiative.
It is through reading and understanding the content of that which you read which relates directly to knowledge. Through knowledge you have a wonderful opportunity to grow by educating yourself and can achieve great things during your life by following in the footsteps of Gcina.
Gcina has pulled herself out of poverty through reading. In Gcina’s words “Reading inspired me to think and dream big.”
Books can instruct, inform, entertain, motivate and inspire. Drawing on the wisdom of the ages, books cover every subject you can imagine. It was Nelson Mandela who said, “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become head of the mines, that the child of a farm worker can become the president of a great nation.”
Guest Blogger Candice Smith
This year I had the good fortune of attending a Women’s Day celebration with my mother. It was organized by, the magnificent storyteller Gcina Mhlophe under the auspices of her literacy NGO, Nozincwadi.
It was small – under a hundred people. In contrast the celebration was abundant. The people and ideas worth celebrating filled the room to overflow.
Japanese artist, Kyoko Kimura, shared Origami skills so we could fold our prayers for South Africa into boats and swans and set them sail on the ocean.
Dr Thandeka Mazibuko, one of around 10 black female SA oncologists, shared with such passion, love and humour the importance of loving and caring for our bodies. There were men too. They helped us celebrate women and the men who cherish, respect and love them – son’s, father’s, brothers and friends. There was poetry – beautiful poetry. Voices both young and old sang us songs of South Africa and songs shared with them by mothers of foreign lands.
There was Shoprite/Checker’s Education Women of the Year Molly Zulu teacher and headmistress.
Mom, Di Smith, the author shared her dream of You’re Awesome and a South Africa where everyone can work and live with dignity. The generations ranged from 2 to 78 years old. And of course, what celebration in South Africa would be complete without African dancers. These women (including many women in their 60’s) set the room on fire with their rhythm and had everyone out of their chairs ’shaking what their Mama’s gave them’.
This warm fuzzy feeling I had got me thinking on all this celebrating. It felt so good to be part of this community of people sharing joy together. I felt honoured to be there. Touched and uplifted by these words. Encouraged how every message was about the richness and success we can only receive when we share. Share what we have, know or care about. It reminded me of photographer Dewitt Jones who says: “Focus on the things worth celebrating. When you focus on what is right with the world it will give you the energy to fix what is wrong.”
South Africa keep on celebrating. We have so much to celebrate. There is no doubt that if we collectively focus on all that is right then we’ll have plenty of energy to fix the rest.