Today, Zimbabweans are voting in presidential and parliamentary elections. It is true that the country is now on its knees and few would disagree that a radical change of direction is one of the few things that can turn things around. Withought a very significant change in government, I don’t see how that can happen.
Again, given the reality of Zimbabwe’s current political climate, there is no way this can be called a fair election. So far it is more fair than previous ones, but that’s not saying much. I don’t know… I hope it all goes well and there isn’t any violence.
At the end of the day, the Mugabe regime has shamed the entire continent. They have come to represent the very worst of Zimbabwe and Africa. Shame on you
I’m still digesting Obama’s speech on race and the comments that have come in its aftermath. I am filled by so many strong, sometimes conflicting emotions that I am not yet able to put it all on paper coherently.
Having said that, it is such an important issue and it would be a shame if we all didn’t take this opportunity to thrash out the issue of race. I think this article by Roger Cohen is fantastic.
I really like Samantha Power. Why? Well, we have some things in common. She was born and spent her early childhood in Ireland. I guess that makes me feel like I can sort of relate to her.
More importantly though, she’s really, really smart, and she is an incredibly impressive person. She’s one of those people whose sheer intellect hits you the moment she says just about anything. There is a sense gravity about her I respect. She is one of those people you want to listen to because you know they are going to say something important.
What draws me most to this lady though is that she is obviously dedicated to bringing about social change and making the world a better place. She has chosen academia and her writing (Pulitzer Prize winner) as her platforms, and from what I can tell, has used them to great effect.
There’s something special about people who decide that they are going to live for something more than just their own material comfort. There is something even more special about those who through hard work make the most of their talents and gifts. This lady seems to do both.
Although I don’t agree with all of her views, she is very definitely someone I look up to. As soon as I am done with my Mbeki book, I am going to start reading her latest book, Chasing the Flame.
I’m about a third of the way through Thabo Mbeki’s biography, The Dream Deferred, and I’m riveted!
I’m in awe of Mbeki. It’s more than how much he gave up that strikes me. He was so totally committed to his cause and worked tirelessly towards his role. He is obviously brilliant in so many ways. Everyone who knew him well, friend or foe, acknowledge his charm and intelligence. In his early twenties he was leading anti-aparteid initiatives and meeting world leaders.
There’s a sense of gravity and purpose to him that I envy. He seems to have known his destiny from early childhood, and more impressive, how to attain it. Granted, his heritage was such that he always had incredible mentors around him, but they wouldn’t have taken him on were it not for the potential they saw in him. Neither Mandela nor Tambo’s children got the kind of attention that Mbeki received because they didn’t have the qualities he had.
Why has Thabo Mbeki struck such a chord in me? I want my life to have the kind of meaning his has had. I want to help build my country and continent as he has tried to do. I want to spend time with leaders and future leaders and discuss ideas on governance, society, justice and how to make the world a better place. And I want to have a mentor.
Thabo had Oliver Tambo. What I would give for a little time and some direction from Thabo Mbeki…
My wife and I had some friends from Botswana over for dinner this weekend. Before long, we were going on and on about how wonderful life back home is. Nostalgia is a funny thing. It allows you to break free from reality just long enough for you to protect your heart and memory.
Anyway, our guests left in the early hours of the morning but the thoughts of home stayed with me. I had really good times. The thing I miss the most is the feeling of belonging. I could walk down a street and be totally random and anonymous. Having said that, I was always comfortable in the fact that I belonged there, connected to my country.
And then there was the fact that Zimbabwe is still a very communal place. Most people are more than just individuals. You almost always belong to something bigger than yourself. There’s your family, then their family then your local community. I had two local communities, work and church.
My workmates weren’t just people I worked with either. Although I was a doctor, there was more than one nurse that didn’t realise that I wasn’t their son. But I didn’t complain too often because you can’t ever have too many mums. When I was broke and hungry, my work mates fed and supported me. When I got married, I had workmates support me financially and emotionally.
I miss the bunch of clowns at UBH who called themselves doctors. If there has ever been a group of unsung heroes it is the staff at that hospital. Daily they put themselves at risk, caring for and treating people with HIV. Paid next to nothing, literally, working under trying circumstances yet doing the best job possible with an incredible sense of humour.
Then there was the church crew. Throughout college I had people from church pray for me, cry with me, help me with money, clothe and feed me. When in the space of a couple of years my mother lost her mother, sister and niece, her church community helped carry her emotionally and practically.
I don’t so much miss the place as I do the people. The place has record braking inflation, food, water and cash shortages, and all sorts of other issues. But it is home in a way that you could only understand had you experienced it. I really miss home.
Posted in life, people
Tagged belonging, Botswana, church, community, doctor, family, home, homesick, nurse, UBH, Zimbabwe
I’ve found lately that my opinion of people changes drastically when I find out a little more about them. It happened with Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and now, Thabo Mbeki.
Mark Gevisser’s The Dream Deferred is a fantastic book. It’s a pretty in depth look into Thabo Mbeki’s soul. More than just following the life of South Africa’s president, Gevisser tries to see and understand who he is as a person. Although I’ve only read a small part of the book, I am engrossed.
There is something about being a black man. It is as though at birth your identity is stolen and you have one of two choices, spend your life seeking it, or claim another. There is such an assault on us by the media and public perception. There’s an incredible pressure to conform to an identity created by mass media. So much so, that trying to figure out and then just being who you are will at the very least get you marked out as a non-conformist at best.
In reading Mandela and Obama’s autobiographies, I was stuck by the recurring theme of the search for identity. Mark Gevisser’s perception of the same struggle in Mbeki really has really impressed me. I am a little jealous of him. I would have loved to have spent that much time researching, distilling and then putting one of my fathers’ lives onto paper. It might have helped me on my pilgrimage. Maybe one day.
Already, I have a new found respect, as well as compassion and maybe even a little affection for President Mbeki.
Posted in books, identity, life, people, Reviews
Tagged Barack Obama, biography, black, books, identity, man, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki
(Roland During Sunset by AdventDawn)
What’s in a name? A friend from medical school recently reminded me about my bitterness toward him over a name.
Most medical students are geeks. It’s very easy to start thinking you are cool in an anatomy class. It gets even worse in your clinical years when you’re in hospitals surrounded by people who are comfortable with their lack of coolness. Hospitals force most people to grow up.
Not me. I had finally found my chance to be cool with the standard so low. All I needed to complete the act was the right nickname. Bryan (my real name) didn’t quite cut it. After some searching, I found the perfect one, only people were using it on Bernard! Bernard? Bernard. A name even geekier than Bryan! But it was Bernard, not Bryan, who was being called Gunfighter, or Gun/Guns for short.
Believe it or not, I really was upset at my guys for not coming up with a name like that for me. I tried to get them to call me Rain for a while but Farai thought it was too cool for me. He had a habit of being more honest than was required. In any case, the name I really wanted was Gunfighter and I wasn’t willing to push Bernard onto oncoming traffic to get it. So I remained without a nickname.
Until now. Henceforth, I will be known online as Bryan “Gunfighter” Tsuro (not my real last name).
What do you think?