Going Home to Africa
I'm regularly asked how I came up with the idea to drive home. After all I've lived outside my country of birth for 35 years and have not returned for the past 25 years, why would I conceivably want to return now?
Like the best ideas, it came about as a convergence of times, experience and circumstance. So there isn't a clear one line answer to this, but I'll try to not only put my thoughts into writing but also to share them with you.
Firstly, although I've been outside my country (for those who don't know, it is Zimbabwe) for such a long time that doesn't mean that my heart hasn't always been there. A little known fact is also that many people who were not living in the country when they cancelled all the old passports were denied their birthright, nationality and citizenship and that meant no new Zimbabwe passport. Tens of thousands of people were affected and I was one of them. I eventually managed to secure another nationality but that doesn't mean that I've not always been mad at the idea that I was denied this and am therefore only eligible to return home to the country of my birth as a visitor.
Yet as I write there is a movement for change, after 36 years of negligent rule of the country the people are poorer than they every were, with 95% unemployment, beatings and intimidation for no good reason and yet they are determined to see this corrupt man out of government, peacefully! I belong to many groups and consistently see the number of people my age and younger who have over the years left the country and made lives elsewhere, when asked if they would return the resounding response is 'would love to return but I have a different life now'. Yet the skills and expertise we have gained outside the country are surely sorely needed now. So I'd like to help, make a difference, be part of the solution.
Secondly, ask anyone who knows me, I'm a woman of strong convictions about the role of women in the world and have spent a significant amount of my life supporting women's issues and equality. I also think that we teach what we need to learn. When I recently hosted an event called Awesome Woman I made the statement that as women we owe it to ourselves, other women and future generations to walk in our power. Although we are approximately 50% (+/-) of the world's population we are not represented as being so either in the legal systems, working environments, politics, etc. I work with many women entrepreneurs and find regularly that they have a sense of their own power but have not 'walked in their power'. What do I mean by that? I mean owning power, not apologising for what we believe in, stand for something instead of being afraid to offend someone, to be authentic and at choice. I would add to anyone who just gasped at that statement that Power does not equal Force ... force is not usually a woman's way but power is ours and we should take it and use it. As such I decided to walk fully in my power, be at choice and make some changes in my life.
Lastly, I am a doer, a giver and I need to feel free and make a difference. Having lost a lot in Europe, through good decisions and bad, I know myself well enough to know that I need a space to call my own and I need a few of my memories and 'things' around me. Having motorhomed through a part of Europe some years ago I knew that I loved it and while I would prefer a smaller vehicle doing it on my own it was a great way to be at home and on the move all at the same time. Thus the idea of a camper van came to me and I suddenly had the notion that I could take my home and myself and hit the road and see what happened. I could drive as far as my small reserves of money would let me. I have a business that I can run from anywhere thanks to the internet, I can be fitter and healthier with a different, more active, lifestyle and I don't have to be afraid because I am a woman or because I am going into Africa. Africa is home to me and I want to go home.
People who know me know that I'm passionate about the heart, warmth and splendour of Africa and I hope I'll be able to not only experience more of it but that I can share that with you.