Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dear Mr. President

In the past week there have been two presidential election results I’ve been holding my breath for and mighty relieved at the results. The US one I exhale deeply, dance a little jig, clicking my heels mid-air. And the rest of Africa is doing the same. Really. I bought a paper in Arusha on my way to the airport and two thirds of the paper was about Obama. In America. In Kenya. Everywhere. A little town in Japan called Obama, hoping to ride the wave. My sister wants to start a Facebook page called “I am Obama’s distant Kenyan cousin”. Heh. Every other word on the streets of Lusaka today is Obama. I cannot find the words for this victory.

And the other election results that I click my heels about are the Zambian ones. P.H.E.W. Phew. As you may or may not know our president died in August after a stroke. He was considered a good man, and did much for the country and it was sad for him to go. So elections were held again and Rupiah Banda, who was the vice president and who is from my neck of the woods, won. It was very very close. The opposition is a staunch Mugabe supporter and I shall not detail my opinion on this here public forum. You can’t be too careful. Anyway, it was a close call. The country is fizzing with election buzz. Zambian and American.

Last year I was in Chipata, a small town in Zambia attending the Ncwala ceremony for the book on traditional Zambian ceremonies that my sister and I were working on. I was staying in a little hotel just outside of town and was chatting to a few people in the dining room over breakfast. I had been on the TV a few months before and for some reason the interview had captured a lot of people. It was quite bizarre. I had brought a play to a small festival in Lusaka and we did a short skit for the TV followed by an interview. It was done in one of the local languages, which I speak and do not think is a big deal. But for some reason everyone else thought it was. Very funny. So everywhere I went around the country people would stop me and say “ah! We saw you on the TV. You were speaking Chinjanja!” Anyway, so I got chatting to these people in the breakfast room (hey, we saw you on the TV etc etc) and it turned out they were the entourage of the then vice president (now president) Rupiah Banda. And then he came in for breakfast and I was introduced to him and he said “Ah yes, I know who you are. You are Norman Carr’s granddaughter. You do the drama.” Eeeee. Spooky!!

So dear Mr. President(s) I am very very pleased that you both won and I am sure you shall both rule well and wisely. I would like to give you good words of good counsel but presidency is not really my field, and anyway I’m sure you have lots of advisers and everything who can do that for you, and tobetter effect than I. So good luck and be true.

Ah, I had hoped to write a profound stirring post about winds of change and all that bla, but I shall leave that to the professionals (such as Obama himself).

Congrats all.


tam said...

Haha. There are many words out there. And many cousins, I'm sure.
Mr Banda would love you to pop in for a cup of tea, I'm sure.

Janelle said...

aherm..and me...latest turning purple...x

Angela said...

But it IS fantastic that you can speak Chinyanja fluently! Moni! Nde funa madzi a kumwa, secomo, is about all I remember. And you forgot to mention that you wrote this whole radio play in Chinyanja which was broadcasted everywhere (I still have the script)and no wonder everybody LOVES you for that. I bet Mr. Banda or at least his wife (wives?) heard it, too. AND of course you have a family tradition of being friends with Zambian presidents, such as Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, his excellency. I know you are not the proud type, but you deserve all honours, my dear!

Miranda said...

Tam, heh heh

Janelle - oops, of course!

Geli - thanks! Geez well remembered Chinyanja from all those years ago! Thanks for the comments. Thought maybe this post was a bit 'look at me, look at me!'. Hoodihoodihoo

family affairs said...

You two are like siamese twins!! One writing about what the other is thinking...Lx

Lori ann said...

yes, you are right, be true. and congrats All the way around, including you.

Val said...

yes indeed - congrats to all the new presidents and their men/women.. and congrats to you!
when am i gonna see one of your plays???
getting interesting word verifications today... pagorin.... is that a word?

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Interesting post and yes we wish the Presidents well with their uphill battle.

Varification = ressess - hmm!

ExAfrica said...

My closest experience with a president is stopping, at 5 months preggers - as you do, for a wee somewhere in Zim. A bakkie full of dark suited men stood outside the mens' long drop. Apparently the VP of Zim (one of them anyway - there were three I believe) was inside. I wee'd near him in the womens' long drop. I was well impressed!

Ahh the good old days....

So yes - too cool - you are known to the Prez - and that is something to write home about! Wonderful story.

Maybe some day I will be in Zambia when you and your actors are preforming - I can only hope....