Monday, March 10, 2008

Zimbabwe: Let Us Dare...

Have you noticed the U.S. Post Office's latest cancellation stamp with John Adams's quote:
"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write"?

If you want to be inspired by someone who did this, read the fantastic novelist from Zimbabwe, Yvonne Vera. Her dark and honest and gorgeous books include The Stone Virgins and Under the Tongue.

I had written about her in my 2004 Zimbabwe for teens book, and then was shocked to learn that she had died in 2005, at age forty. From her obituary in the Guardian:
"It was her confidence that brought her her first book deal. She was a student in Canada, then in her late 20s, and sent a story to a magazine in Toronto:
'I was asked by the publisher if I had more stories. I said "yes" haphazardly, though I had none. He asked for them. Therefore I set out to write them.' "

I well remember ending my book on Zimbabwe (one of my first geography projects) by referring to the future 2008 elections. Now they are here, at the end of this month. Mugabe is still in place, and the situation in the country has actually gotten worse, which hardly seems possible.

The "Vote" image, above, is from a fantastic site: This Is Zimbabwe, by the Civil Action Group Sokwanele:

"Sokwanele - Zvakwana is a peoples' movement, embracing supporters of all pro-democratic political parties, civic organizations and institutions in Zimbabwe. Sokwanele and Zvakwana both mean 'enough is enough' in the vernacular."

The blogroll links to other African sites, too.

The Guardian obit also reported, "[Vera] once said: 'I would love to be remembered as a writer who had no fear for words and who had an intense love for her nation.'"

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