Friday, August 22, 2008

Heroes and She-roes



“You have people who are exceptions,” said Stephen Francis, the coach of Bolt’s main Jamaican rival, Asafa Powell, the former 100 world-record holder. “You have Einstein. You have Isaac Newton. You have Beethoven. You have Usain Bolt. It’s not explainable how and what they do.”



… And when I checked into Cheri’s after a while, I figured there was something about the place that had changed and then I saw it. It was this huge poster of “The Bolt” in triumph!!
This morning as I rode to work, the guy who was commentating in Luganda, I don’t even know why I even listen, but yes, he said that Usain Bolt had dashed to glory to set a new world record for 100 metre dash and in one summer had also broken the 200 meter record.

Sitting there. Thinking. I remembered. And then he added something that told me he wasn’t too bright; a characteristic of most of Uganda’s radio presenters… anyway he said,
“ bwe yamaze okuwangula naziina endongo! Yakubye endongo ne ye kyanga!” [When he won he danced, so much! He danced and pranced all over the place.]
Now if a Russian had set a new world record and had cruised to a double Olympic victory and had done the kozak dance we’d all be like “ooh! How cute” but that fool had to go and spoil the moment.
It reminded me of a story my father told years ago about when a South African official in the era of apartheid went to England and in an interview on the BBC about why the whites were oppressing the blacks in south Africa, why they were making them miserable, raping their women, tear gassing them, segregating who they gave jobs, and so on…etcetera

WG *looks at the interviewer*: “you say we make them unhappy?”
Interviewer: “yes”
WG: *looks at TV screen across the room and sees a Zulu cultural troupe dancing and singing and looks back at interviewer with a puzzled look* “… but the fellows are always dancing and merry making. They cannot be unhappy!”

Anyway tangentially…

As I am in that taxi, my eyes start to water [yeah am a sentimental bastard. I cry at anything that strikes me the right way] I am thinking of all the black men and women in history who have stood for something. Every single one my small brain cluster can care to remember: Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, William Wilberforce, Sirleaf Ellen Johnson, Oliver Thambo, Dedan Kimathi, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chinua, Milton, Wangare Mathaai, and dear old Nelson.
And then I thought about the sporting heroes and heroines who risk life and limb in the best years of their youth on the track; on the line; on the edge, for glory of country and home; people who had written the name of Africa indelibly in the hearts of the world, and set it in stone in the sands of time;
Mohammed Ali,
Haille Gebraselassie,
Michael Johnson,
Marion Jones,
Michael Jordan,
Chester Williams,
Moses Kiptanui,
Francis Nyangweso,
John Akii Bua,
Maria Muthola and [ am next to weeping as I write this]…
Dorcus Inzikuru.

Each of these in their won way provided a light; they held up a lamp when times were dim. They blazed a trail for generations to come. They should always be remembered, maybe not for all they were but for the period that they were.
They might not have been not the heroes we deserved but they were the heroes we needed. In the dark night when we despaired, there was someone holding a candle; bearing the torch, and people from all walks of life saw the light and did not give up.
And because we believed, South Africa was freed. Because we believed, Liberia will recover. Because we believed, the civil rights movement triumphed. Because we believed, THE SPRING BOKS RULE!!
How does “The Bolt” fit into all this? You ask me?!?

Seriously?

Go to hell!


................................................................Because I Believe