Books essential for freedom - Ramaphosa

Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said that reading was essential for freedom and a better future.

"Books are essential for freedom... For a nation reading is a gateway to a different, better future," he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Youth Engagement Harare Library in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

"[Books] allow a person to break free from the chains of ignorance and intolerance... Literature is a powerful tool for social dialogue, cohesion and nation building."

Although the country had many good libraries and writers, only 14% of South…

Read more: Books essential for freedom - Ramaphosa

Teaching in an Islamic school

This is an edited version of an article that was originally printed in the October 2010 print edition of Teacher.

Coming from a non-Islamic background, Andrew Turcinovich was a little apprehensive when he got a teaching job in an Islamic school. Here, he explains why he needn’t have been worried.

I’m no expert or scholar in cultural and religious matters; neither am I a Muslim, but I do teach in an Islamic school, where I work with extremely generous and kind-hearted staff and students, so it baffles me when I hear anti-Muslim sentiments being expressed.

Having lived…

Read more: Teaching in an Islamic school: A Non Muslim's Perspective

TEACHER: How old were you on your last birthday?
STUDENT: Seven.
TEACHER: How old will you be on your next birthday?
STUDENT: Nine.
TEACHER: That's impossible.
STUDENT: No, it isn't, Teacher. I'm eight today.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
TEACHER: George, go to the map and find North America.
GEORGE: Here it is!
TEACHER: Correct. Now, class, who discovered America?
CLASS: George!
--------------------------------------------------------------------
TEACHER: Willy, name one important thing we have today that we didn't
have ten years ago.
WILLY: Me!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
SUBSTITUTE TEACHER: Are you chewing gum?
BILLY: No, I'm Billy Anderson.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
TEACHER: Alfred, how can one person make so many stupid mistakes in
one day?
ALFRED: I…

Read more: Teaching is an interesting career

During one of his visits to Madinah, the Umayyid Khalifah Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik (54 - 99 A.H.) wanted to meet someone who had lived with a Companion of the Prophet if such a man was still alive. Sulayman's most meritorious act may have been that he had nominated Syedna Umar bin Abdul Aziz as the next Khalifah. His worst was the killing of Muhammad bin Qasim as he took revenge from the relatives of Hajjaj bin Yusuf. Overall because of his good character he was known as Miftahul Khair (Key to goodness). On being informed that Abu…

Read more: The Scholar and the Ruler

There was once a man who was going to travel to a dangerous land.  He goes to the house of a man, well known for his honesty.  He knocks the door and tells him: " I'm giving you $1440 to keep with you as I am travelling to a dangerous place.  When I get back, I only want $17 back." The honest man stood their perplexed but agreed.

The next day, the traveller comes back to the honest man's house and asks him for $17.  The honest man tells him that he forgot and that he had spent it all.…

Read more: SOMETHING TO PONDER OVER