Wednesday, September 26, 2007

On September 26, ...

... 2007 (today), celebrate the 7th annual European Day of Languages. The Council of Europe set aside the day to "alert the public to the importance of language learning," "increase awareness and appreciation of all languages," and "encourage lifelong language learning" -- goals that ought to extend beyond that 1 continent. Indeed, they do: counted among the 307 languages of the European Community ("20 of which have over 2000 speakers") are languages like "Japanese which for a majority of students may, in fact, be second rather than first languages." Join the festivities, perhaps by taking this Council quiz, or curling up with a copy of An Béal Bocht, Saga af bláum sumri, or the like.
... 1936, Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela was born in a village in what was then called Transkei and is now the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. She received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Upon becoming politically active in the anti-apartheid movement, she was 1st detained in 1958, the same year she married African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela (left). Thereafter she was frequently subjected to detention and banning orders, as well as 5 years' imprisonment. After her husband's release from prison in 1990, allegations of misconduct by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela surfaced. The couple were divorced in 1996; thereafter, she was convicted of fraud, though a 4-year prison sentence was suspended in 2004.

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