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May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou

She's gone. One of my all time favourite women. 86 years of dynamite. Maya Angelou is among  the most celebrated and influential women of recent times. In farewell, it seems appropriate to quote her own words:
When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I will no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors.

I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else.

I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country of no return.

Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake.

I answer the heroic question 'Death, where is thy sting? ' with ' it is here in my heart and mind and memories.'
Maya Angelou  in 1970
"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song."

Her voice and her words have resonated in the US and globally. Raised in the deep South she imbibed and retained strong African American values. A champion of civil rights, she was closely associated with Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X. In the seventies her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings made her famous. In her lifetime she has published 30 best-selling titles of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Combined with a flair for poetry and a passion for the performing arts, she was internationally acclaimed.

No matter what she undertook, she became a trailblazer. Author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist.  Her biography The Global Renaissance Woman ends thus: "Dr. Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts."


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