Maya Angelou: Leader of the Brave and Defiant

It’s hard to believe after a lifetime of inspiring others, Maya Angelou will now always be discussed in the past tense. When I discovered she died today at the age of 86, my heart sank. She is (was) a shining diamond – roughly hewn from hardship and the tough early beginnings into a multi-faceted, timeless gem, an inspiration to millions. She possessed an indefatigable shining light that streamed out of her eyes and out of her rich husky voice.


Perfect in her humanness and imperfection, she was a survivor, a status quo challenger and global agenda-setter, a wordsmith, erudite academic and a freedom fighter. A feminist with a marshmallow centre full of love and joy.

I’ve written about ten amazing life lessons that we can learn from Maya Angelou before. Although that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Here are more of her glittering quotes and a poem she wrote for the 50th anniverary of the United Nations.

Maya transcended all barriers put in her path about race, age and gender. People of all backgrounds came upon her writing as though she was a familiar long estranged friend. As individuals we were given the honour of sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of tea for a long long chat.

In 1995 she addressed the United Nations on its 50th anniversary. She recited this poem, which speaks to the very essence of the United Nations. Click on the first photo on the top left to go through the sequence…




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