Samantha Power

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.

You, me and Obama’s Speech on Race

More and more, I am confounded by the human race. We are all so similar and yet find it so hard to see the world through each others’ eyes. I wonder why that is. I don’t know. I have a lot of ideas and theories, but the truth is, I don’t really know.

What I do know is that Barack took the more difficult path in trying to help his complicated world see things from different perspectives. It was a very honest, courageous speech. If nothing else, it will hopefully lead to a little more honest dialogue. I hope it does a little more. I hope it helps us all at least try to imagine being in another’s shoes. I respect the fact that Obama behaved like a human being with a heart rather than a politician bent on getting elected.

On days like this, I hate politics. The world and all our issues are so much simpler than many politicians make them seem. The solutions to our issues are simpler than they would have us believe.

St Patrick’s Day

Shamrock painted on my wifeceltic dancer during paradePaddy’s day parade on Eyre square

Today is St Patrick’s Day in Ireland. It’s a big deal and people take it really seriously. My wife and I watched the parade in Galway and had an absolute blast! I can’t wait for next year’s.

The photos are of my wife having a shamrock painted on her, a flame thrower, and a celtic dancer. I took all of them. Pretty cool day so far. Off to the local pub now (with my camera) to check out what St Paddy’s eve is like.

The Birds and the Bees

Marriage. I am very old school so to me it seems as though the world has gone crazy when it comes to family life. In Europe at least, people don’t get married anymore. They have partners that they live with. I don’t get it.

 

I’ve only been married for a couple of years, but I can tell you this, it’s the way to go. Marriage isn’t bliss by any stretch of the imagination. There are days when it straight up sucks. And unlike living with someone, you lose your rights and space and individuality. But what you get in return (provided you picked the right person) is loyalty, companionship, a shoulder and ‘thereness’. Commitment costs, but it is so worth it.

 

This business of living together….maybe I’m just a backward African, but I know a recipe for disaster when I see one. Why people feel the need to cheat life’s fundamentals is beyond me. That’s my unsolicited 2 cents.

 

If I have offended you, please think of it as a loving friend telling it like he sees it.

Breakthrough

I’ve been struggling these last few days. I got my first cheque from my writing not too long ago and it felt great! It was only a few hundred Euros, but it felt good to be earning again. The only thing is that I now felt quite a bit of pressure to at least maintain that income. Coincidentally, that was the time I seemed to hit a brick wall in terms of creative inspiration. It never rains…

So I was getting pretty worked up. I’ve even neglected this blog a bit. I was too preoccupied to keep this going at full pace. It was all a little much and I was wondering whether I really had a future as a writer. Reading about Mbeki’s writing prowess and general brilliance didn’t help either. It left me feeling more than a little jealous and a bit pathetic. I know, a little over the top.

Anyway, I was in the library today to do a little reading. Being the great procrastinator that I am, I decided to start by going through the newspaper. I found an article there I disagreed with so strongly that I whipped out my laptop and in about three quarters of an hour had my first draft done. I’ll polish it up over the weekend and email it to the boss on Sunday evening.

I literally feel like there’s a weight that has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I can deal with all the things I’ve let slide. And in a couple of days, I can start to worry about the next article. My life certainly isn’t boring!

Thabo Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki 

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…

Homesick

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.