I Wish I Were In Paris

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mandela, You're Alive!!

I don't believe my eyes. They must be deceiving me!! Mandela's alive!! But how could that be? Just last week, George Bush declared that Mandela was dead. Not only that, but it was also made known that Saddam (a dead man) killed him and all of the Mandelas.

Mandela opens shopping mall in Soweto

SOWETO, South Africa - Former President Nelson Mandela opened the largest shopping center in Soweto on Thursday, more evidence of the business boom that is transforming South Africa's most famous township.

The 699,654-square-foot, $86 million Maponya Mall is the latest venture by Richard Maponya, a close associate of Mandela and one of Soweto's oldest entrepreneurs.

"With this action, we declare this mall open," said a beaming Mandela after cutting a large gold ribbon.

Soweto, the sprawling township in the southwest of Johannesburg, was envisioned by apartheid's architects as merely a warehouse for workers. Since the end of apartheid more than a decade ago, it has increasingly established itself as a community — where people live, work and shop, and where business sees opportunity.

Shopping malls, once chiefly associated with Johannesburg's wealthy northern suburbs, are sprouting up across Soweto, as black South Africans reap the benefits of a growing economy.

"There are big changes in Soweto," Sowetan Cecile Daubanes said at Maponya Mall's opening, struggling to push a shopping trolley loaded with groceries.

Soweto is the most populous black urban residential area in the country with about 1 million people, nearly a third of Johannesburg's total population.

It was at the center of the anti-apartheid struggle and home to the country's most important political figures, such as Mandela and fellow Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Today, its cosmopolitan residents continue to define black urban style in South Africa.

"I have been one of the sons of this town for a very long time. I have seen it grow," Maponya said at the opening, standing in front of a statue inspired by an iconic photograph of a dying Hector Pieterson, the youngest victim of the 1976 Soweto student uprising against apartheid.

Maponya, dubbed the "father of black retail," spoke about how he battled to access business financing as he tried to build up a career as an entrepreneur.

"I refused to listen and kept on knocking on doors. Today, I deliver to you my dream of 28 years," he said as people poured into the mall, eager to take advantage of the many opening sales.

Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo said a 2004 study showed that Sowetans spent $611 million on retail goods, but only 25 percent of this was spent in the township due to a lack of retail outlets. Since then, there has been an "explosion" of new shops in Soweto, including the Maponya Mall, he said.

"Soweto is not just undergoing a face lift," he said. "It is undergoing a radical reconstruction and the mood is one of excitement."

Sowetan Susan Lebitso, laden with sheets and pillows at Maponya Mall Thursday, embodied that mood.

She said: "The mall has come to us."

Oh my God, it is truly a miracle!! He lives!! Perhaps he rose from the dead like "Jesus"!!

God, the Boy King is such a moron!!



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