Well, it has to be done. On Tuesday, next week, I will be flying out to Awestruck-and-failure for a 3 week stint. My junior attachment will be participating in something called World Scholars, an academic forum involving children from 50 countries. The event is being held in the Melbourne Convention Centre form the 18th to 21st of August.
My father spent much of his childhood in Melbourne. His own father was something of a panjandrum, back in the day. There are other, earlier family connections to the country that have left a mark on the place. I like to tell my Ozzie friends, when they brag about their nation’s general awesomeness, that it was my family that largely invented the country. Curiously, that claim seldom elicits the level of gratitude and respect one might anticipate. I suppose that seeking out suitable quarters for incoming convicts is not a contribution that descendants of said convicts are likely to find particularly endearing, even after 200 years.
I also have a cousin living in Melbourne a man I last saw in 1996. He is a charming, eccentric individual of great fortune and fecundity, though I tend to employ a degree of suspicion with regards to the veracity of some of his personal and historical anecdotes.
From Melbourne we fly to Sydney where we will spend a few days. One of my brothers lives in NSW a couple hours out of the city. He had his farm taken from him in 2002, which was a bit of a bugger. I see that South Africa’s ANC thinks that Mugabe’s land reform policy is one worth emulating and that it would be economically beneficial to the country to do so. No doubt they are right.
I lived in Sydney for several months, also in 1996, and was there again when England won the RWC in 2003. What a time that was!
From Sydney to Brisbane, where we have lots of friends and a nephew, son of the banished brother, referenced above. My attachments have relatives with whom we will be staying. The visit will involve a trip to Noosa which is a pretty part of the world.
Meanwhile, here in sunny Zimbabwe, life goes on. Some of you may have read about our recent election. All we wanted was a perception that it was free and fair. Did not really matter who won, though I suppose most of my community would have opted for the incumbent to maintain the presidency with a parliament in which the opposition MDC held a large minority. I am no great fan of democracy as it seldom works to the benefit of the population as a whole but merely caters to the basest needs of the lowest common denominator and in so doing fills the coffers of those at the top. As one poster wrote in this country “I can’t be a jobless graduate because some herd boy received a cup of fertiliser?” But that is what they asked for and now they have it. Or at least a pretence of it.
Of course the West purports to support democracy, but all they want is the veneer so that they can continue, “in good faith”, their charade i.e. that Africans are civilised and should be dealt with in a civilised manner. In reality, they know damn well that it does not exist on this continent, despite attempts to portray otherwise. In any event, things have been stuffed up slightly by idiotic members of the opposition who managed to get shot at by idiotic members of the military. In case there is any doubt, the country is under the control of a military junta. (Apparently that it is the official term, though it sounds very 1970s.)
So now we have a government that got caught stealing the election (they can’t do arithmetic) and then exacerbated matters by firing on their opponents. The discontinued pretence by Western observers that all was well has put a halt on the inflow of investment that we were so hoping for. For how long that lasts remains to be seen. And so life goes on. The sun shines and the people shrug and continue their daily grind feeling just a little worse off than they were yesterday.