Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Learning to Laugh: A Sign of Hope and Victory

Published: March 15, 2008, Author: MHirch

When did you laugh for the first time in your life? Probably you were too small to even remember. Can you imagine what it must feel like to have to learn how to laugh when almost thirty years of age?
What to babies is a very natural instinct and one of our basic necessities of life to others is part of a long and strenous learning process. Having grown up in South Africa’s townships it takes him more than ten years now Yazir Henri (Direct Action Center for Peace and Memory, Cape Town, South Africa) explained during a presentation on his current tour to Europe. Still he says oftentimes it does not come easily to simply smile. He has to teach himself but knows he is getting better.
Humour helps him overcome his frustration with the apartheid system which led him to join Umkontho We Sizwe (spear of the nation), the military wing of the ANC (African National Congress) and to later imprisonment.
Being able to laugh stands for a lot to the former combatants and other survivors of apartheid violence. It is against depression and death- the symbol of hope. A great sign of victory in which lies all the courage and strength and dignity of the men who went through the most cruel experiences of violence. Despite all their traumas and the lack of education during their child- and early adulthood they have incredible courage, are picking up their pens and send out their voices as warriors for peace.

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Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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