By George W Nyabadza
I GOT myself into serious trouble with one of my regular female critics who writes from the UK concerning the manner in which I ended last week’s article which read:
“I wonder if some of our visionary Zimbabwean women will answer the call to lead the struggle for the emancipation of women, ushering them into complete freedom, one that enables them to demonstrate their God-given beauty, power, authority and wisdom not just in the boardroom but even in the village wards.”
She told me in no uncertain terms that she was disappointed that my reference to women’s God-given beauty revealed a not too uncharacteristic male trait to judge women on their physical appearances. My word! I have over the past few years developed very strong relationships with women of all races, ages, and even different sexual orientation, most of which have endured because of the common values and ethos we share and not because of physical appearances.
So in my defence I explained that my reference was to that inner quality that seems to me to separate male from female. Irrespective of the differing attributes of all my female friends there still exists, according to my perception, an inner quality that I can only attribute to God’s intervention.
So what I referred to as “beauty” is really spiritual strength and that indescribable essence that on average, at least from my observation and experience, enables women to persist through enormous difficulties to achieve their goals.
I think I cleared myself with her but to all the other silent ones out there who may have been offended I say go forth into the world and be all that the Creator meant you to be. You have the strength to take you through any challenge you may be facing.
On a different note, I am pretty certain every Zimbabwean is celebrating Kirsty Coventry’s triumph in the Olympic swimming events. For me just watching her in that unique black Zimbabwean squad tracksuit receiving the medal on that podium where only the best three in the world can stand deeply stirred my patriotic fervour. I can only imagine what she and her family and close friends experienced that moment and I dare say will continue to relive for years to come.
The whole Zimbabwe Olympic team must be in high spirits at the moment. The support and acknowledgement of the crowd surely took cognisance of the fact that Zimbabwe is currently going through serious challenges and for a star to emerge is a miracle on its own. I have no idea of Coventry’s personal circumstances but I know that what she demonstrated in the water was such personal courage, sheer determination and force of willpower that made any existential challenges pale in comparison. I can only but imagine the mental challenges of preparing for the Olympics, the focus and dedication required to keep balance as one faced the world’s best. This is a true demonstration of inner conviction of a champion.
What truly makes the difference between the armchair athlete and the competitive one is the power of the inner drive to achieve. That drive that makes the athlete put in years and years of training to get to the top. The gap between the desire to be a great athlete and actually being at the games is the greatest deterrent to most people. That gap is characterised by sweat, pain, hard work and a determined focus to achieve one’s goals.
Anyone can be great but only if they are prepared to close the gap between dreams and realisation. So to all the Zimbabwean Olympic athletes, I salute you for working so hard to close that gap. Some of you may not bring back the medal but in your own self you have won the gold because you have realised your dreams. To everyone else, do something about closing the gap between your dreams and their realisation.