Thursday, January 15, 2009


Karen at Border Town Notes has very kindly interviewed me. I also said I'd be interviewed by Reya so I'm sorry about that, there may be more to come. It may all be a be a bit me me me but what can I say? Turns out I love talking about me me me!

Tell me about where you were born, and where else you've lived in your life till now?
I was born in Joburg, South Africa almost 33 years ago on a cold January morning. Haha. I doubt it was a cold January morning, but it sounded good, no? I think my parents gave it a couple of months in South Africa and as soon as possible we dashed back to Zambia. I lived the first 6 or 7 years in a wee grass house at Chibembe - a remote camp in the middle of the South Luangwa National Park, where my grandfather (who’d moved to Zambia in the 1930’s from Malawi) ran a safari lodge. In the rainy season the whole place flooded and became waterlogged so we’d live for 6 months every rainy season in Mazabuka, a farming area a few hours drive from the capital, Lusaka. In the early 80’s (84?) we moved to Kapani, to the site where my family still live today. It’s a village set up, not very fancy, although now all our houses are brick (mine is half wooden, half brick and very higgedly piggeldy) and not bamboo and grass anymore. I was home schooled until I reached secondary school age (11), when I went to boarding school in neighbouring Malawi. Oh but before that, we tried to live for just over a year in South Africa. Just to check that we weren’t missing out on anything, My sister and I were put into proper schools and frankly we found it pretty weird. I’ve written about it somewhere before on this blog I think. So we didn’t last long and came scurrying back home. So boarding school in Malawi for 5 years, then university in South Africa – Rhodes. And then, well, back home again. I am a country bumpkin at heart. Went out of Africa for my first time when I was 20, went round Europe and loved it. But was ready to come home by the end of it. That was quite an experience. I LOVE travelling and work has taken me to the States and to all of Southern Africa. Trying to make up for lost time now and try to go and visit a new place every year. Went to South East Asia last year. Oh and November last year I moved to Tanzania.

Would you like to share a profound, or life-changing event that has happened to you?
Well, I suppose all events slowly change our lives as we live it so I don’t think I have one particular moment that changed my life forever. If I had to choose one moment that affected me deeply however, I suppose it would have to be the sudden death of my childhood friend, who was killed by an elephant in 2000. I wrote about it here. The death of a close friend knocks you off balance, doesn’t it? But with that comes understanding and compassion and a new understanding of life. It’s his birthday today. He would have been 32.

Tell me about something you enjoy doing to express your creativity?
Both my parents are artists so although I was born into a creative family the specific drawing, painting gene? Nope, passed me by. Instead I channel it through theatre. Specifically production and directing. I love it (lucky it’s also my job!). It can be very frustrating of course but I just love to see how a piece can come together. How an idea in your head, with the collaboration of actors can turn into something poignant or funny or beautiful (that’s the idea anyway!). And I love that once you’ve done your bit it gets taken over by the actors and although you’re still involved, giving notes, organizing things and so on it can move virtually on its own. And also the magic of the fact that every single performance is different.

I also love taking pictures although I know nothing about it.

What is the nicest thing anybody has ever done for you?
Well, geez at the risk of sounding cheesy I’m going to have to say that having the upbringing I did is probably the nicest thing that anybody has ever done for me If that makes sense. I know it wasn’t really sacrifice on my parents’ behalf as they had (have) a fantastic life in the bush but doing something nice for someone doesn’t have to be a sacrifice does it? Okay I’ve just reread that and I’m not sure it makes complete sense but it works in my head so…..

If you could travel back in time, where would you like to go, and why?

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Greece (I studied Classical Civilization – and Drama – at university) and I would love to go there to check it out. I’m not sure at exactly which point I’d like to step in – maybe at its height? Or can I zip around to different places and different times just to see? Please please?

Ooooh thanks that was fun! Hope I didn’t bore you!

Potential interviewees?
If anybody else wants to have a go: here are your instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and let me know when you have posted it, so I can link it.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask
them five questions.


karen said...

Miranda, thank you so much - far from boring!! what an amazing life you have led. i can relate to lots of things there... and the very moving story about Johnny, thanks for linking back to that...
The "nicest thing bit" does make sense by the way! Love all the other insights into the Life and Times of Miranda.. thanks so much for joining in :-)

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

Wonderful interview. So love the idea of your childhood in the bush. Very special that.

Nice getting to know a bit more about you. Karen's questions are good ones for this meme.

Mud in the City said...

Fascinating! And you certainly have a gift for photography.

I'd offer to be interviewed - but I'm afriad I'd be awfully dull in comparison!

Barbara said...

Your stories of growing up reminded me of a book I read "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" by Alexandra Fuller. Have you read it?

Miranda said...

Karen - thanks for the great questions - it was hard to choose!

Rob - I very much enjoyed reading yours too. I must get better at commenting on people's posts!

Mud - gee thanks! It all depends on the questions....And oh you are SO not dull!

Barbara - yes I LOVE that book! We all lived in the same community when we were in Mazabuka so it is quite close to home.

Tessa said...

Miranda - a book, a play, a film based on your life? What a fantastic interview!

(I graduated from Rhodes too - way before your time.)

spacedlaw said...

That was very interesting, Miranda.
Thanks. You have an amazing life.

Lori ann said...

Miranda(+one)i think you are like Pippi Longstocking of the bush. Have you read her stories? they are a favorite of your auntie's and mine. If you like i will send you a book, let me know! Great to read your answers too!

Miranda said...

Tessa - noooooo.I haven't DONE anything special! Yet!! Aha - I'm discovering quite a few ex Rhodes-ites of late!

Spacedlaw - ummm, I s'pose! Thanks

Lori ann - I read Pippi Longstocking looooong ago. I shall have to dig it out and refresh my memory! I seem to remember preferring Mrs Pepperpot to Pippi Longstocking - remember her? ANd CONGRATS of blog of note!!

Angela said...

Dearest Miranda, it is your birthday today and I wrote an extra blog post just for you! And just telephoned with cousin (your) Marina who says she congratulates you too and hope to meet you one day again!!! Lots of love from Auntie!