Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Human Spirit by Carole Eglash-Kosoff

The Human Spirit:  Apartheid's Unheralded Heroes is a book of human compassion and hope.

Inside these pages you will find the determination of many people who work together to bring awareness and solutions to the human decay that has been occurring in Africa for many generations.

Millie, Tutu, Zora, Helen, Penelope and Linda are but a few people who share their stories with the reader.  Each of these people have stood up against the odds to change the thoughts and actions of those that are around them.

In Africa it is a sign of respect to call an older woman "Mama" and we are shown how some of these women have created goals and tenets to better further the African people.

We are shared their triumphs and their heartaches as we read about their sheer determination to make matters better.  They listen to the people and then they try to incorporate the ideas into everyday living.  After listening to a group of young people, mainly men, about their hopes and dreams, a group of people set about making their dreams come true.  They create a basketball court, a chess club to name a few to better instill positive influences into their daily lives.

Millie, the white, Jewish, middle class woman who sets out to bring attention to the plight of Africans, soon gains the respect of the people she is trying to help.  At one time her young son asks her if she is giving his clothes away again and she explains he has more than enough.  He states that its okay to give his clothes to those less fortunate, as long as she leaves his red underwear, for they are his favourite.  It is these charming and delightful anecdotes that encourage you to read on.

There is much progress being made but many have no food, nor education and many lack proper medical attention as HIV/AIDS is rampant throughout many neighbourhoods in Africa.  Children are often left as homeless orphans, not enough facilities available to house nor help them all.

I thought this book was very thought provoking.  It instills a sense of the need to help those less fortunate.   The message is sound and sometimes disturbing.  I could really feel for these people are they strived to make a difference.  I sometimes am bewildered why more people don't help to clean up their own backyard.  I found Millie to be a very commendable person as well as being brave.  It takes a lot of moxey to stand up to the common norm and walk the other path.

Every person involved with this story is to be thanked for their honest efforts to bring awareness and to lend themselves to the problems at hand.  They opened creches which supported families in the area with food and clothing, dodged police surveillance and continued to keep their heads high even when the odds seemed against them.  If everyone would take stock of their own neighbourhoods and begin to clean up there first, this world could be a enriching and caring planet to reside upon.

Apartheid in South Africa has now been gone more than fifteen years but the heroes of their struggle to achieve a Black majority-run democracy are still being revealed. Some individuals toiled publicly, but most worked tirelessly in the shadows to improve the welfare of the Black and Coloured populations that had been so neglected. Nelson Mandela was still in prison; clean water and sanitation barely existed; AIDS was beginning to orphan an entire generation. Meanwhile a white, Jewish, middle class woman, joined with Tutu, Millie, Ivy, Zora and other concerned Black women, respectfully called Mamas, to help those most in need, often being beaten and arrested by white security police. This book tells the story of these women and others who have spent their adult lives making South Africa a better place for those who were the country's most disadvantaged.

** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by me..as I see it~!! **