The Nobodies

In June this year, I met a phenomenal human rights defender, activist and journalist from India. Her name is Priyanka Borpujari. I have seen individuals stand in front of crowds and present their causes but never before had a single human being moved me to tears the way Priyanka did when she stood amidst the array of activists from different parts of the world and articulated the injustices that groups of marginalised Indian women and men are subjected to by their own government. Forgotten by their ‘leaders’, forgotten by the media, forgotten by everyone.

Priyanka grafted in me the bud of crisp sweet apples, a renewed strength to fight even harder for myself-that I may overcome my label as a nobody-to fight for the forgotten people in the many struggles for recognition, for equal treatment, for equal representation, for equal opportunities.

Living in a country that defines everything as either black or white, the coloured, Indian, Asian and albinos become the forgotten.

In a political dispensation that identifies citizens as MDC or ZANU, any other political views are largely ignored.

In a country that is predominantly Christian and traditionalist, any other religion is ‘just there’ and whether the minorities are able to exercise their rights is not a priority.

In a nation where the struggle is between one being Ndebele speaking or Shona speaking, the Venda, Xhosa, Nambya, Tonga become the nobodies.

And so is the world that I live in. It wants me to be a nobody. I speak 3 languages but I am told I speak one because English is the language, Shona and Ndebele are dialects. I am told my nation is equal to the rest but its vote alone cannot stop or make decisions as the votes of the US, China, Germany, Russia and UK can. I am told many things which I refuse to believe because I refuse to be a nobody….

The nobodies….

“Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog
And nobodies dream of escaping poverty
That, one magical day
Good luck will suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets
But good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or ever
Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle
No matter how hard the nobodies summon it
Even if their left hand is tickling
Or if they begin the new day on their right foot
Or start the new year with a change of brooms
The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing
The nobodies: the no-ones
The nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way
Who are not, but could be
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects
Who don’t have religions, but superstitions
Who don’t create art, but handicrafts
Who don’t have culture, but folklore
Who are not human beings, but human resources
Who do not have faces, but arms
Who do not have names, but numbers
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them”

(Eduardo Galeano)

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