Get over your addictions
At some point the creative outlet ceases to be theraupetic, it ceases to matter, it ceases to be worthwhile or to rekindle happiness. This is the point when you think you are busy without realizing the pit that you are falling into…
This morning I had a moment of introspection and I realized that I do not always give thanks for all the good things in life, like any other “normal” being. The person I really wanted to give thanks to at this moment of introspection was Thembie Zulu, I still don’t know how to though. Down and defeated, recovering from 2 serious addictions, she took me in. She knew nothing about my addictions but constantly asked if I was happy and if she was happy, she would tell me. I sometimes say “ngahlupheka” when I relocated to Harare but in real fact it was my own addictions that I was trying to get rid of that were the source of my pain. I would listen to depressing music, sleep a lot, take emotional runs and complain often. Thembie was equally trying to locate her niche in life. We didn’t do it together eventually, but we did it.
Most of the times it is really not about the person that you are, but its about the person that you want to be. It sometimes is not just about the climb, but knowing the destination makes the climb worth while. At times you know fully what is blocking your progress among other things but paying attention to that particular item is very painful. At times you also are not entirely certain of the person you want to be but it all adds up when you take time off to introspect.
The last episode of Experiences, Memories and Lessons spoke strongly to reinventing the self and persevering, all within a tense setting that gave a false sense of being busy that accumulated to an eventual burnout. This diary then got populated with poetry both fictional and real as a way of venting out. Things have been down and up but through it all I appreciated a reason to look forward to tomorrow. There is a track that my besty Sithabiso once shared with me the message was broad but the line that caught my eye said, “I hope you still feel small when you stand besides the Ocean” and when I stood besides the Ocean in Accraa, Ghana I really did feel a reason to look forward to tomorrow.
I have since had experiences that are photo perfect moments, experiences that bring life to my career, my personality and my community. In Ghana I identified as a youth for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I had always stood for development but putting a pin on that niche made sense, airing out Southern Africa’s needs as they are from the people I had interacted with and people I first explained to what SDGs are was joy. The purpose was big and I felt small just as I felt small standing by the ocean at Labadi. Something about the SDGs summit revived in me the need to recenter my attention and focus on that which promotes sustainable growth in me. I had an interesting encounter with Boitumelo who works for the South African gender commission, she was a heap of encouragement and a load of fun. We actually exhausted ourselves eating good food and riding horses at the beach. But one thing that stuck in my interaction with her is how she views the word. We had a conversation about her previous experiences that made her embrace seemingly odd choices that people make. Some obsessions bring in a peace of mind and if they are socially acceptable they are even easier to embrace.
I interacted with the sea again in Grahamstown at the Highway Media Conference, however at this instance I stood by the sea facing some of my most harmful addictions. Without dwelling much into them, my poor planning had me enjoying one hour long conversations with strangers on a breathtaking drive from Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown daily, twice a day. I go to meet a lecturer at Rhodes University who was passionate about social work and a young immigrant from my hometown who had established a career and a life there. The interesting this about the conversations was the passion and satisfaction in what the young people were doing with their time. The Highway Media Conference itself was enjoyable as I continued to explore another dimension of the media that infuse innovation and consciousness.
Through it all there were always new ways, and new strategies to be learnt. All these learnt within the different roles that I was juggling. Hunger for the best, for justice, for progress kept brewing though at some point I discovered that habit has been keeping me away from quenching that thirst. Towards the end of last year I had not achieved much to write home about but had taken the first steps towards two most pressing challenges that I had set out to achieve; my driver’s licence and masters degree. At this point currently I have successfully sailed through the 1st year of my Masters in Applied Conflict Transformation and flunked my Road Test for the driver’s licence. It has been and still is roller-coaster of emotions.
Before fast forwarding to the current state of affairs, the year 2019 was filled with a lot of uncertainty about my immediate and next steps. I remember having to attend the National Youth Indaba at Harare earlier in the year, an event that left me thinking about what I am doing in the youth movement. When Zimbabwean politics took a shift from Mugabe to Mnanagwa I was one of the very negative individuals who had no idea why people were excited. I actually remember being amazed by fellow young leaders who confessed to have faith in the idea that things will change and spaces will open up. When I was engaged frequently by the Bulawayo Chapter of the Ministry of Youth I really started warming up to the new minister and being invited to interact with her at the Indaba I was eager to be part of the process. Then my thematic area on Governance and Politics was automatically scrapped off from the program completely. If not to talk about the power that youth can yield I wondered about the purpose of the engagement. Just like most people marched to give legitimacy to a military state I rubber stamped a bogus event by attending it. I dares to hope and hope took me a few steps back emotionally. At times we do not get comfortable by being addicted to stuff we are addicted to but in actual fact they might be our most real narrative because the same old dreams do not come true.
Nonetheless, there are always those positive moments that give you a nudge at the back. They do not come more often but when they do they motivate. One of those nudges was the Pan African Youth Conference held in Addis Ababa that came shortly after a meeting on South-South Cooperation with progressive comrades in Kenya. It was those typical encounters that make you feel like you will change the world the minute you get back home. At that point I was prepared to get over my addictions and start on a clean slate. Little did I know that fate had something else in store for me.
Just when I thought I had a good thing going at Youth for Innovation Trust and other spheres of my professional life, my personal and family life had something different in store for me. The negative energy following me cold be felt miles away. Just soon after flunking my road test I could not file my visa application for a fully funded and paid for trip to Sweden. At that point my pillar of strength, my mother, fell sick and passed on. Just a week later my car was involved in an accident and became a write off. Exactly a month later Durban University of Technology unenrolled my whole class from the Masters Degree program. Without delving into the nitty gritties I am a mess. I have gone back to working my ass off and drinking to shut out any feeling or reaction to my current life situation. Traveling helps, it gives me the ability to cover a few gaps and forge a way forward.
In the few months later I have been to SA at Sunnyside Hotel and to Harare several times on YIT business. I have received a few other invitations that massage my ego though I could not honor them i.e. to speak about the land issue from a youthful perspective in South Africa as well. Locally I have also made great strides presenting and moderating several platforms including the New Media Summit for the 2nd year in a row and continuing to work closely with friends in local initiatives. As I write I m at the airport on my way to Mombasa to stand by the sea again at the Africa Crossroads. Compressing this post was very difficult because I had a lot of emotional stuff to pour out.
And so I am guessing maybe we do not need to get over our addictions for they comfort us. or because they are the only real thin that we have.