From Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela:
“What Sundays were to the rest of the week, Christmas was to the rest of the year. It was the one day when the authorities showed any goodwill toward men. We did not have to go to the quarry on Christmas Day, and we were permitted to purchase a small quantity of sweets. We did not have a traditional Christmas meal, but we were given an extra mug of coffee for supper.
The authorities permitted us to organize a concert, hold competitions, and put on a play. The concert was the centerpiece. . . . The concert took place on Christmas morning in the courtyard. We would mix in traditional English Christmas songs with African ones, and include a few protest songs—the authorities did not seem to mind or perhaps know the difference. The warders were our audience, and they enjoyed our singing much as we did.”
Today’s Gifts from Semicolon:
A song: Soweto Gospel Choir sings Amen.
A birthday: Ann Nolan Clark, b.1896, author of Secret of the Andes, a story about a South American Incan boy which won the 1953 Newbery Medal.
Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.