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"Practice Makes Perfect"

24 April, 2017

Term LVA – Title to find : …….

Filed under: Literature — csa1 @ 12:27

Find a title for this text

 There was a simple spare bed in the back of the shack made out of straw, and I slept there almost as comfortably and happily as if I was in my own bed. The railway worker had mentioned that he knew someone who might be able to help me, and that he had arranged for this man to visit. I was overwhelmed with relief—already it seemed like the whole experience was a bad dream. Soon I would be home. I spent the day in the shack after the men headed off to work waiting for my savior.

As promised, the next day another man turned up, and he also spoke carefully in plain terms that I understood. He was well dressed in a neat suit, and he laughed when I pointed at his distinctive mustache and said, “Kapil Dev,” referring to India’s cricket captain at the time, whom he looked like. He sat down on my bed and said, “Come over here and tell me where you are from.” So I did as he asked and told him what had happened to me. He wanted to know as much as possible about where I was from so that he could help me find the place, and as I tried my best to explain everything, he lay down on the bed and had me lie down beside him.

Many lucky and unlucky things happened to me on my journey, and I made good and bad decisions. My instincts weren’t always sound, but they had been sharpened by weeks of living on the streets making conscious and unconscious decisions based on a perceived cost/benefit analysis. When we survive, we learn to trust our instincts. Perhaps any five-year-old would have begun to feel uneasy lying beside a strange man on a bed. Nothing untoward happened, and the man didn’t lay a hand on me, but despite the marvelous, intoxicating promises I was being made about finding my home, I knew something wasn’t right. I also knew that I shouldn’t show him that I didn’t trust him, that I should play along instead. While he was saying that the next day we would go together to a place he knew and try to get me back home, I nodded and agreed. At the same time, I knew beyond question that I should have nothing to do with this man, and that I had to make a plan to get away.

That night after dinner, I washed the dishes in a worn old tub in the corner near the door, as I’d done the previous two nights. The men went into their usual huddle for their chai and a smoke, and were soon completely distracted by their conversation and jokes. This was my chance. I picked the best moment I could and bolted out the door. I ran as if my life depended on it, which in retrospect I fear it did. I hoped that by taking them by surprise, I’d get enough of a head start to escape pursuit. Once more I was fleeing into the night past the railway tracks and down streets I did not know, with no idea where to go, no thought but escape.

 I was quickly exhausted and slowed down once I was in crowded streets—maybe they wouldn’t even care that I was gone, and even if they did, surely they couldn’t have followed me this far. Then I heard someone call out my name from quite close behind. That sent a jolt through my body like an electric shock. Immediately, I ducked down, although I was already much shorter than the people all around me, and headed for the most crowded parts of the narrow street, near the bustling stalls hawking food along the curb. When I looked around, I could glimpse a couple of men who looked like they might be following me—grim, hard-faced men looking around and moving fast. Then I realized one of them was the railway worker I’d first met, who no longer looked much like the kind man who’d taken me in. I hurried away from them, but the street soon became so crowded it was hard to move fast, and I felt that the men were getting closer. I had to hide. I found a small gap between two houses and ducked into it, crawling back as far as I could before I came to a leaking sewage pipe large enough for me to hide in. I backed into it on all fours until I couldn’t be seen from the street, ignoring the cobwebs and the foul-smelling water running over my hands. I was much more scared of what was out there than I was of the dark pipe. If they found me, there was no way out.


Saroo Brierley, LionA Long Way Home, 2013



Imagine what happened to the narrator next. (300 words)

21 March, 2017

A legendary prisoner (Missions p. 63)

Filed under: Non classé — csa1 @ 7:31

A legendary prisoner 

This text entitled a legendary prisoner is the foreword of Nelson Mandela’s book « Conversations with Myself » written by Barack Obama and published in 2010.

It is illustrated by a red and black stencil-painted poster showing Mandela with his right arm and his fist up in the air as a sign of protest and power. Decades earlier, the raised fist was a signal of resistance associated with the Black Power movement. Black activists often raised their fists to claim equal rights for their people. Here, though, there is a difference : Mandela’s fist is not empty but he is waving a piece of barbed wire in a sign of courage and determination leading to freedom. With his eyes closed, he is not smiling but frowning. He seems to be more than sixty years old. In fact, he was 76 when he became president of South Africa, the climax of his non-violent struggle. This photo shows him after his release from prison and at the peak of success. So, the colour red prevailing here represents a symbol of victory over the dark forces of Apartheid which lasted 46 years and ended with the election of Mandela in 1994 as the president of South Africa. This poster has probably been created and designed by an artist or a member of Mandela’s political party, the ANC (The African National Congress).

 ”Conversations with Myself” is a book Mandela wrote when he was in jail in Robben Island during 27 years. Barack Obama, who has read his book project before having the honour of being asked to write the foreword, reports about his relationship with Nelson Mandela.

In the first part, we learn that he visited his cell when he was a young U.S. senator (l.7-8) and  how he was moved by this famous character who has become a legend (l.21). Therefore, we can say that  Mandela is a hero whose name has now taken a mythical dimension (this document can also be studied in reference to the notion “Myths and heroes”). He is so admired all over the world, he is such a myth that his prison has been turned into a museum: the narrator used the word “monument” (l.10) to show its historical dimension. The words “transformed” (l.9) and “transformation”(l.13) or “change” (l.21) are key-words that could be applied not only to his cell, his prison but to  his whole country that he contributed to change owing to his access to power. After fighting for so many years, he became the first black president  of South Africa.The year before, he was awarded the the Nobel Peace Prize for his fight against racial oppression in South Africa. 

How did black South-Africans achieve such a recognition?

The narrator focuses on the notion of sacrifice (l.11) and (l.23): not only Mandela sacrificed his life to this struggle (l.18, l.48 and 53), moreover, he did not give up hope during his imprisonment but he went on fighting in the shade, studying and writing about the main steps leading to the liberation of his people. The title of his autobiography is mentioned l.35 Long Walk to Freedom. The notion of sacrifices also appears in the barbed wire of the poster resembling the thorn crown and making him look like a Christlike figure. The thorns are no longer on his head but flapping in the air in a sign of liberation, of resurrection for his country, South Africa. During Apartheid, South Africans opponents have been killed, tortured and imprisoned by the white governments of the Afrikaners (settlers from Holland who arrived in South Africa in the 17th century) from 1948 to 1994.

The narrator draws a quite detailed portrait of the South African leader with his strengths as well as his weaknesses showing him as a role-model everyone can identify with: “like all of us, he has his flaws” (l.43); “his imperfections that should inspire each and everyone of us” (l. 46)

On the one hand, Mandela is portrayed as a honest man (l.47), a scholar, that is to say a learned man, a family man (he was married with six children). For him, love and friendship were meaningful (l.32) for, to access power, one has to put forward moral values and be surrounded by a caring and united team sharing the same goals. On the other hand, he is seen as an extraordinary character (l.25), a charismatic leader: Barack Obama uses the terms “visionary and pragmatic leader” (l.33) which can be attributed to great prophets and give Mandela a spiritual dimension also referred to by the word “forgive” (l.54).

To answer the central question, we might say that, in order to achieve recognition, black people and their leaders had to be determined and confident, believe in the future,  they had to take risks (l.57), work  a lot (l.52) (l.58), struggle hard and overcome fear and doubt (l.51).

By expressing himself in Mandela’s book foreword, barack Obama draws a parallel between segregation and apartheid which have both ended the weight of racist laws and enabled their numerous activists to reach success, triumph (l.56) and give  freedom to their respective peoples. He concludes this foreword  with a hint at one of Michael Jackson’s songs “Heal the world, make it a better place”, which is what true power should lead to.




Nelson Mandela’s Biography

President of South Africa and Activist Born:

July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa

Died: December 5, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Best known for: Serving 27 years in prison as a protest against apartheid



Nelson Mandela was a civil rights leader in South Africa. He fought against apartheid, a system where non-white citizens were segregated from whites and did not have equal rights. He served a good portion of his life in prison for his protests, but became a symbol for his people.

He became president of South Africa in 1994.

Where did Nelson Mandela grow up?

Nelson Mandela was born on July 18, 1918 in Mvezo, South Africa. His birth name is Rolihlahla. He got the nickname Nelson from a teacher in school. Nelson was a member of Thimbu royalty and his father was chief of the city of Mvezo. He attended school and later college at the College of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand. At Witwatersrand, Mandela got his law degree and would meet some of his fellow activists against apartheid.

What did Nelson Mandela do?

Nelson Mandela became a leader in the African National Congress (ANC). At first he pushed hard for the congress and the protesters to follow Mohandas Gandhi’s non-violence approach. At one point he started to doubt that this approach would work and started up an armed branch of the ANC. He planned to bomb certain buildings, but only the buildings. He wanted to make sure that no one would be hurt. He was classified as a terrorist by the South African government and sent to prison.

Mandela would spend the next 27 years in prison. His prison sentence brought international visibility to the anti-apartheid movement. He was finally released through international pressure in 1990.

Once released from prison, Nelson continued his campaign to end apartheid. His hard work and life long effort paid off when all races were allowed to vote in the 1994 election.

Nelson Mandela won the election and became president of South Africa. There were several times during the process where violence threatened to break out. Nelson was a strong force in keeping the calm and preventing a major civil war.

How long was Nelson Mandela in prison? He spent 27 years in prison. He refused to bend on his principals in order to be released and stated that he would die for his ideals. He wanted all people of all races to have equal rights in South Africa.

Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

July 18th is Nelson Mandela day. People are asked to devote 67 minutes to helping others. The 67 minutes represents the 67 years Mandela spent serving his country.

Invictus was a 2009 movie about Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team.

He had six children and twenty grandchildren.



Apartheid : It lasted 46 years. Beginning in 1948, the white elected National Party government initiated a process which turned over 20 million people into 2nd class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse. Their liberation in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela, the prisoner who became president.

16 September, 2011

I introduce myself

Filed under: I introduce myself — csa1 @ 23:33


You start a new school year

The teacher will probably ask you to introduce yourself:

My name is …

I’m sixteen …

I live in …

My home phone number is …

I’ve got … brothers and … sisters/ I’m an only child

My father is  a…/an engineer; he works in …

He drives me to school every day

and tells me about his own experience.

He is very strict with me and teaches me to respect myself

and respect others.

He wants me to have ambition and good school results.


My mother is a nurse…/… unemployed but she does plenty of housework

She is a super mum: she cooks delicious dishes,

I love her tasty cooking, particularly her brownies.

I ‘m crazy about music, especially reggae  and gospel music.

I play the guitar and I try to practise every day.

I love bèlè rhythms too because they are part of our tradition.

I enjoy drawing and painting every now and then.

I belong to a basket-ball club called the “Lucky Fellows” and we have won our last three matches.

I do not like school, I find it a little boring.

I would have preferred more cultural activities such as making a film, a music hall or a play

we would perform at the end of the school year.

  I’m crazy about films : I go to the cinema with my mates

every fortnight at Madiana.

The last movie I saw was “Case Départ”,

it’s about a serious issue : slavery, but the film-maker

presented it in a very humorous way;

which has never been seen before, since some people think

you shouldn’t laugh   with such an important topic.

I’m fond of reading too

and right now, I’m reading a book about

Sept.11th written by a historian,

Nicole Bacharan entitled :

September 11th, the Day of Chaos.

She is a specialist of  U.S. politics

and she wrote that book with a journalist, writer and  chief editor

called Dominique Simmonet.

They give a detailed account of the tragic events

that almost shattered the very heart of the power.

At school, my favourite subject is English/Spanish… because …

I dislike  Mathematics/Literature … because …

I have/don’t have lunch at the school canteen/ at home.

In the morning,…

I usually go to school by car/I sometimes walk to school when…

In the evening, …

I go home by bus…/ I walk home…

My best friend is …/ He …/him / She …/her…/ We … together… Our … Us …Each other …

  I’ve got a pet. It’s a dog/puppy/cat/kitten/tortoise/rabbit/horse/mare …

I don’t have a pet / I haven’t got a pet.

I fancy travelling/ I’ve been to St-Lucia / Dominica / Trinidad and Tobago …

But I’ve never been to Australia /…

I’m sure you can find plenty of other topics to deal with




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