by Gibran Kahlil Gibran

I believe in you, and I believe in your destiny.

I believe that you are contributors to this new civilization.

I believe that you have inherited from your forefathers an ancient dream,
a song of prophecy, which you can proudly lay as a gift of gratitude upon the lap of Africa.

I believe that you can say to the founders of this great South African nation,
"Here I am, a youth, a young tree whose roots were plucked from the hills of Lebanon,
yet I am deeply rooted here, and I would be fruitful".

And I believe that you can say to the founders of the nation, the blessed Jesus of Nazareth touched your lips when you spoke, and guided your hand when you wrote;
and I shall uphold all that you have said, and all that you have written in the constitution.

I believe that you can say, "In my veins runs the blood of the poets and wise men of old,
and it is my desire to come to you and receive, but I shall not come with empty hands".

I believe that even as your fathers came to this land to produce riches, you were born here to produce riches by intelligence, by hard work.

I believe that it is in you to become good citizens.

And what is it to be a good citizen ?

It is to acknowledge the other person's rights before asserting your own, but always to be conscious of your own.

It is to be free in word and deed, but it is also to know that your freedom is subject to the other person's freedom.

It is to create the useful and the beautiful with your own hands, and to admire what others have created in love and faith.

It is to produce by labour and only by labour, and to spend less than you have produced that your children may not be dependent upon the state for support when you are no more.

It is to stand before the towers of Egoli and mightly Table Mountain, Durban and Port Elizabeth, saying in your heart, "I am the desendant of a people that built Damascus and Byblos, and Tyre and Sidon, and Antioch, and now I am here to build with you, and with a will".

You should be proud of being an African, but you should also be proud that your fathers and mothers came from a land upon which God laid His gracious hand and raised His messengers.

Young South Africans of Lebanese origin, I believe in you.


Sent in by Cedar Leaf, with thanks.

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave,
eats a bread it does not harvest,
and drinks a wine that flows not from its own wine-press.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.
Pity the nation that rises not its voice save when it walks in a funeral
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid between the sword and the block.
Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.
Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpetings,
and farewells him with hootings,
only to welcome another with trumpetings again.
Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years
and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.
Pity the nation divided into fragments,
each fragment deeming itself a nation.

Kahlil Gibran - The Garden of the Prophet (1934)