Expand your world


“Dare to know!” the words of Emmanuel Kant introduce this week’s piece. I enjoy watching animated movies and A Bug’s Life was no exception.

The ending is especially clever directing as you realise all the action you have been watching takes place in a puddle on a piece of grassland in the city park. Why this intro?

Well, after spending Easter in the Drakensberg, we reminisced very fondly about our regular trips to Nyanga over the years and how I always proudly proclaimed very loudly to anyone who would listen that Zimbabwe was the most beautiful country in the world.

Make no mistake, I still think it is even with the economic crisis, which is what I alluded to in my Post Mugabe article.

Zimbabwe will and is recovering her utterance. There has never been a doubt in my mind about that.

However, I am lucky enough to have travelled both in Africa and overseas either side of the continent and I have seen places of unique beauty in the same way the Matopos have their uniqueness.

As beautiful as that is pretty active as far as active volcanoes go! The point is to drink in each place and savour it, especially when the company is good.

We met an interesting barman at the resort where we stayed. It was his 25th birthday the following day and he had planned to open a cocktail bar by age 25 but had not yet managed to do that.

I say yet because he is still determined to do it. Here was a young man who left the big city and took a job at a mountain resort for two reasons; the peace and quiet would allow him to write his book on cocktails, I forget the fancy word he used to describe his studies.

Secondly, being barman in the resort would allow him to try out his different cocktails on thirsty tourists coming from a mountain hike.

He has a very clear vision: to open a cocktail bar in Cape Town and then franchise it.

Now how many young people do I know who are all dressed up but with nowhere to go?

I do not know whether he will succeed or not but he already has a publisher lined up for his book. He is a young man expanding his world.

Are you crystal clear about what you want to achieve or are you on a constant search for your place on the planet?

If Moses and Mohammed could go to the mountain who are we not to? Where is your mountain?

The second lesson was just as simple. We stopped at a typical rural store to top up on drinks for the chalet because people tend to drink more on holiday and the pleasant young barman’s drinks were on the expensive side.

We could only support his dreams for one evening! Anyway, we notice these local girls all vaselined up making their way to the bottle store for, shall we say, a sundowner.

Now I am not on Facebook; being older generation I cannot stand it, despite my claim to be very open-minded.

My wife is on Facebook, though, and will occasionally mention how shocked she is when some niece or cousin posts something she would not have told her mother, something like “smoking out of a hooka at Cubana” or much worse.

So I say to my wife, why would we have a different reaction to seeing country girls walking to the bottle store to reading on Facebook that equally young girls are having a blast at a popular city eatery and pub?

In fact, I remember there being a disco for young Christians in Bulawayo years ago! Is it not better for us to know what they are up to than pretend they are not doing it until they turn up pregnant or HIV-positive?

Single parenting has actually been around for a long time and, in most cases, only surfaced when the girl became pregnant and the guy took off for dear life worried about the angry father of the girl.

The situation would arise since girls could not discuss these things with their parents because it was uncultural and, when the nearest aunt lived twenty kilometres away on foot in the next village, it would have been easier to post young Fungai’s attentions on Facebook, no?

The aunt would have promptly responded on her wall with “are you taking precautions?” Physician, heal thyself! Should I expand my world and open a Facebook account? Nyet, I still struggle to read an entire newspaper online!

You cannot have Innerzela if you are not willing to widen your horizons by reading a book, travelling, trying a local dish or challenging your perceptions. I want to live my best life as Oprah suggests and continuous learning, discovery and sharing is the best way I know how. How wide is your world?

Kant, who never travelled much by the way, closes with this: “Life has taught me that wherever I go, I always see a little space in to which I can still advance.” The French version sounds more beautiful.

Albert Gumbo is an alumni of the Duke University-UCT US-Southern Africa Centre for Leadership and Public Values. Contact: gumbo.albert@gmail.com