Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014
I know a lot’s been said about her in the last day or so, but it would be a huge injustice if I did not take some time to pay tribute to our dear Dr Maya Angelou.
It was with a heavy heart that I read the news of her passing, having been the one woman who made me want to write in the first place.
I have always been an avid reader, but it was not until, at 15 when I did an English class project on Maya Angelou, that I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing. I remember standing in front of the class, reciting “Still I Rise” with a certain Miss Dionne Song, and recognizing for the first time, the immense power that words have in our world…recognizing their magic working in and through me, and I have never looked back since.
It was easy to be inspired and motivated with a mentor like Maya, a woman who lived her life to the absolute fullest. She was, after all, an extraordinary human being who managed to touch the lives of millions worldwide through her almost ethereal command of language. Works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays, all textured with depth and wisdom and peppered with her youthful sense of humour. She was unconventional, confident, fearless, graceful, brilliant and a phenomenal woman.
“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present… Gratefully.”
During her exemplary life, she breezed in like a breath of fresh air, inspiring millions, teaching the multitudes, trying to help whomever she could and stealing accolade after accolade from those who, unsuspectingly, had underestimated her. Until one day she was able to look back and see titles such as Author, Poet, Singer, Dancer, Director, Playwright, three-time Grammy Award winner, Civil rights activist, Mother & Teacher.
The epitome of what is means to be a real woman, with every facet celebrated and loved, she has inspired me to bolder routes, comforted me in darker times, uplifted my spirits in sorrow, and provided words of wisdom galore.
You will be sorely missed Dr Angelou.
Be inspired to be great.
Be blessed to be a blessing.