Zimbabwe: My rekindled love affair.

“Fellow citizens – Wednesday 6th July 2016, we are shutting down Zimbabwe…we have decided to act. Citizens I want to invite you to do something to help save this country…We love Zimbabwe too much to keep watching it burn…Enough is enough!” – Evan Mawarire

I’m part of the group they call the “born-frees” – everyone who came after the triumphant victory against the ‘pink-noses’. Vasina mabvi. We were born into ‘freedom’. Freedom was supposedly waiting for us outside of the womb, Zimbabwe holding its arms open wide, ready to embrace us and carry us into our bright futures. And so began my love affair with my country. Our generation was to throw whiteness into the pit of Lucifer from whence it came and proudly declare our allegiance to the state and the man who engulfed it, and march into the promised land, singing songs of liberty.

We were the 90s babies. The ones who came out kicking and screaming when the big bad IMF had our economy in the palm of its hands, ‘socialism’ forgotten. The ones that were too young to remember or understand the food riots of ’98, who grew up hearing songs that likened British Prime Ministers to blair toilets and singing the praises of the man who was going to finally get our land back from the evil whites. We were the ones that were too young to remember or truly understand the violence and the politicking until much later. We were the ones that were going to benefit from the land taking and the election rigging (which was for the good of the nation of course), and the ‘cleaning up of the filth’ of the informal economy actors, the constant-loan taking and the DRC war-fighting and the excellent better-than-anywhere education we’d been given. We were going to eat the fruit of the regime that cared for nothing more than our well-being and our ownership of the land and resources they had fought so hard for. Well, supposedly.

“A nation can win freedom without its people being free” – Joshua Nkomo

A few dubious election results, a failed currency and a million march later, and here we are. The born-frees are largely unemployed, either hopelessly apathetic or violently loyal to the ruling party and generally uncertain of their futures. Us 90s babies are babies no more, and we’re faced with the harsh reality of adulthood and a failed relationship with the state. Needless to say, my love affair was short-lived, and it was only recently that the flames of the passion I have for my home were rekindled.

I remember reading about Pastor Evan and seeing a few of the #ThisFlag campaign photos from Zimbabweans around the world. Each photo and video told a story about my country’s flag, and how it represents us all. They told stories of the pain of being led by leaders who cared less for development and more for their personal enrichment. Corruption scandals all around, a collapsing health system, a dying economy and a brutalised people. Zimbabweans were tired of the lies, the cringe-worthy propaganda and the belittling of their struggles. The more tweets and posts I read, the angrier I got. My familial proximity to the violent system of the ruling party didn’t help either. The thick clouds of citizens’ disappointments, exhaustion and frustration finally burst, and it started to rain. What started as a peaceful protest and shutdown in Beitbridge on 1 July following the implementation of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2014, culminated in the razing of a ZIMRA warehouse and the looting of nearby shops. In Harare, kombi operators in Epworth, Ruwa, Zimre Park, Hatfield and Mabvuku/Tafara refused to operate, and barricaded roads leading out of the areas. Riot police officers were deployed in these areas and clashed with the operators and other residents who had joined in. My heart began to open. My anger turned to concern for my people, and my desire to dismantle the system that oppressed us, grew. When Pastor Evan was arrested, my heart broke again. But the scene of scores of Zimbabweans singing, praying and dancing outside the court-house gave me a feeling I can’t fully explain. It was like a release – all the love and admiration I had for my country and people who had been suppressed by decades of violence came gushing out of me. Salty tears streamed down my face as I saw what was the greatest display of unity and love that I’d seen in a long time.

Now we can sit and debate about how effective social media campaigns are in sparking a revolution throughout the country, but what I’m explaining here is the revolution in my heart. I know that there is work to be done and I know that our country needs more than hashtags and struggle songs to fix the myriad of things that have gone wrong. I know it takes dedication and passion and strategising and patience. And I know that I am fully prepared to play my part in fighting for the country that we deserve. A country that was fought for to make everyone’s life better.

My heart is open, my mind tuned in to the sounds of my people’s voices. I love Zimbabwe too much to keep watching it burn. Thank you to #ThisFlag and the wonderful people who have taken ownership of this message.

Now the work begins. Tichakunda. Hatichada, hatichatya.

 

The living dead – A letter to Amos.

You died.

You did the one thing I needed you not to do. You breathed your last breath and heaved your last sigh and blinked your last blink, and slipped into the afterlife, like your life here with us meant nothing. I can still hear your voice, a year after you’ve been gone. I’d give away all I have to see you again. I miss your smile. I miss your terrible jokes and your thoughtfulness. I miss your love. The world is colder without you, and I don’t know where to find my sunshine again. A piece of me died with you that day, and I don’t know how to get it back. I don’t know how to live when a part of me is dead. I don’t know how to breathe when the air you left us is full of questions, conspiracies, politicking and hatred. I don’t know how to breathe when the air is thick with uncertainty and when I breathe in grief and breathe out grief. I wish I had more answers, but you died. You did the one thing I needed you not to do.

You’re no longer with us.

You’re gone, far away and never coming back. Nothing prepared me for your departure. No tickets, no itinerary, no warning. One day we were together and the next we weren’t. You’re not here to see the mess you left behind; your colleagues and frienemies have ran us all into the ground. You’re not here to see the destruction and greed, the lack of urgency and the pain. You’re no longer here to answer tough questions and deal with being on the wrong side of history. You’re no longer with us. You’re not here to hear how they hate(d) you, how they saw you as nothing more but a cog in the machine of a devlish system. But, almost gladly,  you’re not here to perpetuate that system, and maybe that’s for the better. You’re no longer with us, but your actions (and inactions) haunt me daily.

You passed on.

You passed from one life to the next, painfully so. I wish I had known when you were leaving. I wish I had known. It’s been a year since that hot winter’s day when we found you. A year since my heart stopped and my lungs emptied out and my soul left my body for a while. It’s been a year since I saw your face. It’s been a whole year. So why does it feel like it happened yesterday? I can still hear my mother crying, I can still see her pain.

I’d like to celebrate you, but I’m not sure I know how. You did the one thing I needed you not to do. I knew parts of you they’ll never know, and I’ll cherish those forever. But I can’t celebrate you until I find my sunshine again. So for now, while the police investigate, and your frienemies rejoice in your death and wreak havoc on this land, I’ll say a quick prayer for your soul and hope that we’ll meet again. I miss you. Bring back the pieces of my heart when you have a minute.

Love you forever. (And no, you can’t rule from the grave, soz.)

Vimbi.

Bank queue thoughts.

My father had a terrible singing voice. Cringeworthy, deep and without melody, the only song I remember him singing was the national anthem. Yes, the national anthem. He used to belt it out on the days he decided to burden us with his singing, creating strange harmonies and misplaced crescendos. This morning I thought of him as I heard the anthem over the radio, just before the 6AM news. I smiled and cringed – I haven’t forgotten what his voice sounded like. Yet.

Perhaps the feelings towards my country came from the way his singing made me feel. I hated it when he was actually singing, but I somehow found myself humming the anthem, smiling to myself as I went about my daily tasks. Sometimes I’d join him, mostly to improve the quality of the performance. I was much younger when he sang the anthem, and Zimbabwe wasn’t perfect, but it was a much easier country to live in.

Fast forward to this morning. “Kushandira mari kwacho, kunorwadza. Kutora mari yacho, kunorwadza. Nyika yacho yese yaakutorwadza,” says the man in the bank queue in front of me. He has spent the last week queuing for no more than $200, at ungodly hours. According to him, we were headed back to 2008 times, when shop shelves and fuel pumps were empty, our money worthless, our political freedoms stifled, our hearts heavy and our sense of hope wavering. A time when dreams were dashed on the rocks of a callous government and a desperate and trigger happy ruling party. A time of all night prayers, of shady deals, ill-equipped hospitals and dying patients, unpaid workers and late school fees payments. A time much like the present. Pessimism is our ideology, political polarity our bread and butter. Politicians politick and people hurt and hustle. Life is not normal. It hasn’t been for a very long time. Mega deals come and go, corruption makes overweight, potbellied men richer than they can articulate. Morals don’t exist. Every person fends for themselves, just to keep their heads above water. Street children return, begging bowls deeper. Vendors return, fighting for their right for a decent life. Debt collectors take furniture and cars, evict tenants and dare them to take it up with a legal system that bleeds your already empty pockets dry.

The line gets longer and longer, those last in line hoping they’ll make the cut. I keep humming the national anthem, thinking of how we got here. Thinking of the hundreds of doors of opportunity that have since closed for so many citizens. I glance over at the elderly woman a few steps away from me and think of the pensions that were lost and the grandchildren whose parents toil away in foreign lands.

An argument breaks out about a man who tries to jump the queue. Two soldiers join the argument and it ends promptly.

I wonder what it will really take for things to change; for our leaders to care again. For our lives to not be an endless pit of pain. 

I’ve stopped humming.

My Tedx Talk: Writing ourselves into History

On 18th February 2016 I had the pleasure of delivering a Tedx talk entitled “Writing ourselves into history”. My talk was centred around the importance of remembering our various histories as black Africans. I am always amazed at how little I knew about my own history by the time I had started university, and how that limited my understanding of my past, present and how I envisioned my future. Remembering our histories is a political act. It is an act that fights against the violence of erasure and silencing Africans face in mainstream media constantly.

I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

Fighting for air: Life lessons on Women’s Day

My brother taught me how to swim when I was about 6 years old. Water scared me a little so my parents sent me to lessons, though I never felt quite as comfortable around the instructor as I did with brother dearest. Now, when you’re learning to swim, there will be many a time you almost drown – but that’s never a reason to quit. Despite my poor performance, I loved the feel of the water on my skin. One day I begged him to teach me some more, so we went to the pool and he threw me in. I think his hope was that I would float to the top and use the skills I had been learning with the instructor. Well, I didn’t. I was frantically flinging my arms around under water, eyes squeezed shut, my heart pounding hard because I feared I may not make it to the surface. I panicked. What I hadn’t realised is that he had jumped in right after me to see if I would be alright. He saw my panicked reaction under water, grabbed me by the waist and swam to the top with me. Once I could hear again, I heard him say, “You’re alright, I’ve got you. Breathe Vimbai, breathe!”

That is my earliest memory of not being able to breathe easily, while doing something I enjoyed. We take breathing for granted. Unless we’re in a yoga class or running or swimming, we don’t think about our breathing. To breathe is to live, and unless our breathing is threatened by an activity or external stimuli, we breathe fairly easily. But if to breathe is to live, then to live is to breathe. Living in the body of a black African woman however, makes breathing a little more difficult than I had anticipated when I was learning how to swim all those years ago.

I live to breathe easy.

Our society (and many others in the world) is very patriarchal. Patriarchy and misogyny weave their way through our perceptions of beauty and sexuality, our understandings of parenthood and marriage, our experience of spaces of work and education, and the expectations placed on us in cultural settings. Women are hailed as mothers, but only if they’re married, their children are well behaved, they love unconditionally and never complain about the exhausting work that is motherhood. Women are hailed as givers – as people who were born to give and constantly sacrifice their needs for the good of the men or family in their lives. Women are hailed as both sexual objects used to please men, but only in certain spaces and at particular times. Outside of those times and spaces and we’re seen as delinquents or whores. Through all this, it’s difficult to breathe easy; to simply live without negotiating the power dynamics and different forms of violence you face by just walking down the road.

I live to breathe easy, and while I wait for the day this happens, I have learned a few things that act as my proverbial sibling, swimming me towards the surface whenever I feel like I’m drowning in patriarchally-treated water.

On responsibility

From a young age, I’ve been taught how to take care of people around me. I’ve been taught to clean and cook and serve older men and women (mostly men) and to do it all willingly and with a smile on my face. My mother used to tell me that the reason my food wasn’t great growing up was because I didn’t like cooking. I was supposed to enjoy these boring, menial tasks that were primarily for the benefit of others. I have learned to be responsible for my actions, but even for the actions of men around me. If a man harasses me, it’s because my skirt was too tight or my top too low. If a man cheats on me, it’s because I didn’t treat him well enough or my body isn’t banging anymore or I’m boring in bed. If I didn’t get a job it’s because I came across as too forward, or not assertive enough, or my make-up wasn’t quite right, or my hair wasn’t “neat” (read treated) enough. If I’m unlikeable it’s because I don’t smile enough or have enough male friends who can confirm my ‘coolness’ and say things like “I’d hit that” to make me seem sexually appealing and therefore someone worth noticing. I have had to unlearn all of these things. I have chosen to take responsibility for myself and my choices and my dreams and actions, but not for other people’s. I refuse to ‘mother’ every man I date, I refuse to be held solely responsible for the emotional development of a relationship. I have spent too much of my life ‘preparing’ myself for servitude, and I’m changing that slowly. I’m putting myself first, and I’m not apologising for it.

 

On loving my body

For years, I struggled with being a dark skinned black woman in a world where light skin equals beauty automatically, and dark skin has to be qualified in some way in order to be seen as beautiful. I have a pretty athletic body (I still hate the definition of my arms), my hips are almost non-existent, and boobs and ass are pretty average. My nose is slightly bigger than I would have hoped for, and my legs are short and a little stubby. When I decided that it was time to embrace and not shun all these qualities, I made myself a promise. I would stand naked in the mirror (typical) and smile. I would tell myself I was beautiful, no matter what kids at school said about dark skin, and no matter how many times I had tried to lose my thighs. I would laugh and enjoy my nudity, twirl around, dance, brush my teeth, read a book, and just experience being naked and vulnerable and proud of my body. I consumed more media that celebrated my kind of skin tone and body type, and that embraced the sexuality of women as agents. I learned to love myself. And that helps me tremendously in breathing easier.

On Ambition and having “high standards”

I have always been ambitious. I’ve always wanted to have a wildly successful career, to make a difference, to be known for my craft, and to be sought after for my skills. I am never satisfied with one achievement, and I’m always looking for ways to better myself and make myself more marketable. I work hard. I read a lot, I am critical and I am fiercely hungry for more and more knowledge and life experience. Now all of this sounds amazing when coming from a man’s body. From a woman’s body, it comes across as me being stubborn, difficult, having impossibly high standards, not being domestic enough, not being motherly, not caring enough and not being responsible for the well being of those around me. I have been told that I ask too much of the men who enter my life because I expect regular communication, intentional love and unshakable commitment (all of these by the way, that I’m willing to reciprocate). I have been told that I’ll never be able to have a family if I really want to make a difference professionally, despite that that’s bullshit. And to all of this I say, live your truth. My standards may be high, but lowering them means lowering my expectations, which means accepting that I don’t deserve the love, dedication and diligence I give in my work and relationships – I can’t accept that. And so I live in my truth now, as much as I can. And I give out to the world what I would expect the world to give back to me.

I haven’t fully mastered the art of breathing easy. There are days when I hyperventilate and need to call on a proverbial sibling to swim me to the surface. There are days when I’m even tired of breathing, because it should never be this hard. But days like today, when we’re celebrating women from all over the world – these are the days I remember the sacrifices that were made by other women to help us breathe a little easier. Days like these I look back at my journey of womanhood and I smile at the amount I’ve managed to unlearn. It’s days like this that I fiercely demand that we all live to breathe easy in a world that would rather we drown.

Happy Women’s Day, all. It’s alright, I’ve got you. Breathe!

IMG_20150806_181220
Dancing. A little thing I do to help me breathe easy. 🙂

Of presidential birthdays & praise and worship teams.

 

“The 21st February Movement was established in 1986 to encourage Zimbabweans, the youths in particular, to emulate Robert Mugabe’s revolutionary ideas, charismatic leadership and selfless policies.” – Pindula

Believe it or not, I was once part of a church praise and worship team (*cues snarky comments*). I used to be able to sing and play the guitar boldly and with fervor and holy (sort of) precision. The thing about praise and worship teams is that they’re often filled with young, vibrant, talented and passionate people. Young people who are willing to give all they have to a church that they believe is integral to their growth as Christians, and a god who is all-knowing and loves them despite their faults. One of the things I often heard in church rhetoric was that praising and worshipping was a “lifestyle” and that it didn’t start or end with singing on a stage/pulpit. The idea was that you would “praise Him” no matter how you feel, what you were going through, how broken or in despair or angry you were, or how much you felt your life wasn’t going according to plan.

Your praise wasn’t determined by your circumstances, basically. You were to be in continuous praise and awe of this deity that obviously only wanted the best for you.

Now fast-forward to the first time I asked my dad why the President held such a lavish birthday party in the midst of so many structural problems that needed attention. He said, “So should we not celebrate our leaders’ lives simply because we have a few problems?” I thought that was a cop out of a response, but I didn’t argue immediately. This year, Gushungo turned 92. Last year, my post was on the logistics of the party and what that amount of money could do for the youth, but today I’ll focus on the spirit in which the party is held, and its effect on how I view politics in Zimbabwe. Now firstly I don’t actually know anyone close to me who has reached 92, so kudos to him. The celebrations are being held in Masvingo, the home of Great Zimbabwe. (I sincerely hope the 50 cows that were slaughtered were bought from Masvingo farmers whose cattle have been dying at alarming rates due to drought).  I think it’s remarkable that the man can even walk straight, let alone sit/partially sleep through government events, chair the African Union and mediate between petty factional wars. I am not of the persuasion that he hasn’t done anything good for my country – that would simply be untrue. I am also aware and grateful for his stance against the marginalisation and belittling of African narratives and agendas in a Eurocentric world more broadly. His story isn’t one-dimensional, and that’s important for me to acknowledge and emphasise.

But while I am no longer a member of a praise and worship church team, somehow I reluctantly found myself and other youths as members of a national praise and worship team that serves the political kingdom of Zanu. It’s headed by a man who is, according to his wife and many of his supporters, ordained by God to lead the country. By extension, his leadership has become sacred, divine and therefore criticising it becomes borderline taboo. It’s a hard kingdom to praise, especially when you’re the child of one of its officials.

Perpetual praise

Your praise isn’t determined by your circumstances, basically. You are to be in continuous praise and awe of this deity that obviously only wants the best for you.

I’m always fascinated by the idea of memory-making, remembering and history. Part of the reason the 21st movement is such a big deal is that it is continuously reproducing the image of a resilient, passionate and selfless leader who cares for nothing more than the well-being of every Zimbabwean. It creates an image of a near perfect African leader who has championed human rights and has been a stellar example of how political work should be done. And this is where, as a young indoctrinated praise and worshipper, I struggled. The Zimbabwe that I remember is not the Zimbabwe my parents remembered. By extension, the leadership I have experienced is not necessarily the leadership my parents experienced. How we remember things is determined by what we recall and what has been represented to us as truths. My earliest contact with critiques of political work was in 2005 during Murambatsvina. It was one of the first moments I stopped singing in the choir, looked around and problematised the kingdom I was a part of. I stopped strumming the chords, I opened my eyes, and I listened to the alternative voices outside of the ‘church’.

Perpetual praise had blinded me from political violence, exclusionary tactics, politicised food aid, corruption, blatant disregard for human rights, and a waning emancipatory politics mantra that used to form the basis of every politician’s vision. Perpetual praise meant that the majority of any problems we were facing as a nation had to do with outside (satanic) influences; that the only way to defeat the devil (read West) and his minions was to praise and worship in the political kingdom that saved you from yourselves. Perpetual praise meant trusting that your tithe (taxes) were being used for the furthering of the kingdom, and that you would be rewarded 100 fold for your ‘seed’. Perpetual praise meant being in the world but not ‘of’ the rest of the critical world that picked apart the kingdom’s value systems and foundations. Perpetual  praise meant even if you didn’t know all the words, you would hum and close your eyes passionately, going with the flow and allowing the spirit (propaganda machine) to guide you. It meant being forever grateful for your country even when it was becoming increasingly difficult to live in. Above all it meant trusting that the “Man of God” was in constant conversation with God and would lead the flock in the right direction.

Gushungo’s celebrations aren’t confined to the 21st February movement and the actual day of  merry-making, long speeches, police bands and so on. The day is one of the many moments we are called to praise and worship to perform all the songs we’ve been practicing over the years. The party is a reminder of the history that has been constructed to place Gushungo in the perpetual, divine light, never tainted by the dark, alternative stories of violence and ‘madness’ that have been a part of his legacy too. It is a time when we’re called once again, despite our circumstances, to sing repetitive choruses at the top of our voices.

I am no longer a member of the praise and worship team so I’ll save myself from all the pomp and passionate singing this year. Happy birthday, RGM.

Yours,

An ever critical daughter of a deceased ordinary card-carrying member.

gushungo

Young, obscure and audaciously hopeful: Part II

[Read Part I here]

Nothing annoyed me more growing up than “kuoneka“. This is basically when you have to announce to your hosts/parents/elders that you are leaving their presence and may not see them for while (a while could be anything from a few hours to years, and the length of your announcement will depend on how long you’re leaving for). Now while this is by no means confined to my culture, I’ll speak from my own experience. My parents always took kuoneka very seriously when I was growing up. I couldn’t simply yell “Bye! See you soon!” and walk out (which is what I would have liked to do, honestly). I had to sit still with my legs together (or kneel, depending on who it was or where we were) and hands cupped, calmly announce how enjoyable that person’s company has been, smile as they jokingly coax me into staying by offering me food, nod my head several times to show attentiveness, wait for any words of unsolicited advice they might have, rise to my feet slowly, rapidly sit down when I realise they have started a new conversation with my parents, and then eventually walk out gracefully, and shout another quick “mosara zvakanaka” (stay well) as I leave. I was always terribly annoyed at how long it took to say a simple goodbye. Even if we had somewhere else to be, we had to oneka in the same, long-winded way.

There is a sense of urgency in my generation that I think made the formalities of my culture so annoying for me. We move quickly  (sometimes too quickly), often have to make immediate decisions, rely on instant gratification and we expect results yesterday. We are constantly on the move, constantly evolving and running to catch the next trend before the last one is fully over. We have our eyes fixed on the future and where we’re headed, but still look over our shoulder to the past and the history that has made us who we are. We leapfrog into new technologies and ways of life, we charge full speed ahead often without fully knowing what awaits us.

Because of the nature of our daily activities/services – social media, instant meals, rapid transport systems, mobile banking and so on – nothing is more utterly annoying than the sluggish responses we often receive from those who lead us. It reminds me of kuoneka in a way, when you’re at your grandmother’s rural home and you need to get back to Harare before it gets too dark, but she won’t stop talking. It’s that feeling that you cannot possibly interrupt her because she is obviously always right and wise and to be respected, versus your fear of not getting home safely. In many ways my grandmother represents the state here – elderly, a little slow, full of stories about past victories and struggles, always to be respected and always to have the last word, no matter how unhelpful it may be. And here we are, the impatient young grandchildren, checking our phones for the time, planning tomorrow’s activities in our heads, grateful for our grandmother, but starting to feel a little annoyed at her lack of urgency.

We want a future that’s better than the lives our parents lived. But we’re constantly faced with the painful and cringe-worthy old gospel music video mediocrity that leaves a bad taste in our mouths and a lingering and growing disillusionment.

 

Youth: our opportunity/advantage

empowerment mug
Our leaders have constantly encouraged the youth to take the mission and plans of ZIMASSET seriously.

Our relative obscurity means that we’re hyper-visible when needed by the state (youths rallied up for political gatherings, to carry out violence in different spaces or be the guinea pigs for another shallow ’empowerment’ scheme), but simultaneously invisible (no committed inclusion of voices and utilisation of youth talent to address development issues of the future). So often our visibility is dependent on the needs of the state machine, while the state continuously ignores us when we’re not needed. Our emancipation, while rooted in the principles our leaders continue to speak about, will not come from the state. They’re far too busy worrying about who stole panties in the war, which faction is leading in a succession race they continue to deny exists, and acts of “treason” against privately owned companies.

There’s a politics of ‘hope’ that dictates that we be forever hopeful for better days; waiting in anticipation for all to be well in our chaotic country. But as Oprah once said, ‘success is when preparation meets opportunity’, and the concept of ‘luck’ doesn’t exist. We cannot hope and be compelled to pray for our country by the very same leaders who have played a part in it needing prayer to begin with. We must hope and act. The amount of political work we have to do is immense (Political work is a broad term, not only meaning political party involvement). The amount of investment needed is colossal, but I wonder – if we won’t invest in ourselves, who should? If we don’t take the time to critically rethink our “mission” and goals as the future adult citizens of Zimbabwe, will we ever recover? If we don’t take the development of this country into our own hands, will we ever rebuild what’s crumbled over the years? There are so many of us in so many different sectors with such a diverse skills set. Young health practitioners, tell us what needs to be fixed in our health sector. Tell us how we can help. Young people in education, what are the key issues we should be focusing on? How can we help? Young engineers and town planners, how do we tackle more sustainable ways of living, especially for those excluded from state services? Our emancipation won’t only come from the state.

Now this is not to say that we should stop holding the state accountable – we must. But doing the same things and expecting the same results, upenzi (that’s madness). Relying on the systems that govern us now to suddenly fix everything is naive. Our advantage is our skills, our amazing standards of education, our passion for our country, and our sense of urgency. We have something to offer. Every single one of us. But we need to think outside of our relative obscurity and practically make moves to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’. We need to think generationally and break out of the rut that makes us think as far as tomorrow. We need to invest in ourselves, we need to help each other, we need to rise as a collective, we can’t keep leaving people behind. We are young, relatively obscure, and audaciously hopeful. The question remains, how do we harness these qualities for good and, as Queen B says, “Get in formation“?

*Part III will follow, with some practical questions, obstacles and solutions I’d like to explore with all of you 🙂 Please do let me know your thoughts in the meantime*