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Raymond Sheppard: My nomination for Person of the Year within the African Nova Scotian community

Nhlanhla Dlamini with his father at a rally in Halifax. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – I am of course in no position to select who might be Person of the Year for the year 2019 within the African Nova Scotian community. That being said, I would like to acknowledge someone who certainly would quality if the African Nova Scotian community had such a thing.

See also: Raymond Sheppard: The top eight African Nova Scotian stories of 2019

Before I introduce this young man, I would like to highlight some of his demonstrated qualities. 

He has shown courage in the face of adversity, he tries at all costs to avoid confrontation, and he has spoken truth to power and privilege. He is a silence breaker while sending a clear message. He is gentle, loving, caring and respecting. As a young man he has become a role model to other young people and to those not so young.

Nhlanhla Dlamini, is an African youth directly from the Motherland and now an African Canadian. He is 22 years old and resides in New Glasgow Nova Scotia. On September 19, 2018, Nhlanhla Dlamini sustained a life threatening injury when he was deliberately shot in the back with a high velocity nail gun.

This senseless on the job violence punctured his lung resulting in an emergency operation and decreased his lung functioning capacity by three percent. Nhlanhla alleges that racial bullying, racist taunts and slights led to this heinous crime by Shaun Wade Hynes a white co-worker employed with PQ Properties Limited of New Glasgow Nova Scotia.

It is always hard beyond our imagination to leave your own country for another country with the hope of a new life, free from pain and suffering.

You excel in carpentry, you are law abiding, and you contribute to the tax base. But instead of being able to enjoy the good life you so rightly deserve, you are faced with jealousy, racism and harassment resulting in a severe physical injury.

Shaun Wade Hynes was convicted in 2019, and will be sentenced on February 6, 2020 during African Heritage Month. If the extent of the Canadian Criminal code is truly applied, he should receive up to ten years of incarceration. That said, crimes against African people never receive the full weight of the law.

During the trial of Shaun Wade Hynes, when it was Nhlanhla’s turn to take the stand, he was honest, dignified, articulate, cooperative, knowledgeable, positive, sincere, composed and confident in telling the truth. He answered questions about carpentry with ease and grace, which I cannot say for the other witnesses.  

Nhlanhla never showed any anger or negativity toward the perpetrator yet stood his ground and told the truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. I was in tears.

To this young man and those that help him most, like his family, Angie Bowden and members of the African Nova Scotian Family, I say well done and stay strong.

See also: Assailant of Nhlanhla Dlamini found guilty of criminal negligence and assault with a weapon

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