20 November 2011

Searching for the rainbow with no end

Today's blog is a bit more personal and ridiculous than my previous entries, I am trying out something new please bear with me if I haven't yet found the perfect formula. Whilst I'm still on the subject thank you for your support, I now boast a grand total of three follower including myself but more interesting almost three hundred and sixty hits in the past month.

Anyway for those who happen to stumble upon my blog by accident, My name is Bongani Ncube-Zikhali, I'm 23 years old and I am currently unemployed. Yeah, sad situation no? I recently finished my studies at the University of Tlemcen in Algeria (not to be confused with Nigeria; Algeria is the one with the bombs, Nigeria is the one with the corruption), did a stint of free lance journalism with the Mail & Guardian and just generally been bouncing around from one country to the next over the past few years. My current base of operations is Johannesburg, South Africa (that's the one with the hijackings).

The thing is over the past few years I have come to realise something very unsettling about myself: I am never content. Consider this, I started my high school experience in a school located in a township called Makokoba in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (that's the one which had a trillion dollar note at some point). Makokoba was (and unless the new mayor of Bulawayo is a genius, still is) a dilapidated and sad location. There was a river of sewage that ran just outside the school fence. There were kids who used to wait for us outside the school gates who would "borrow" our lunch monies while dangling sharp blades in our faces to encourage our zero percent interest rates. And a teacher once beat me and the rest of the boys in my class with the handle of a broom (I kid you not!) Needless to say, my first few years of high school were amongst the most miserable I've ever spent in my teenage years.

You would imagine that when it was announced that I would attend one of the most prestigious private schools in the region, if not the country I would jump up and down for joy? No I didn't. My first response to my parents was that it was too expensive (we would later sell our car to keep me in school) and that I had no intention of going. But being an African child of African parents I ended up going against my will. And was immediately miserable the whole first year. I couldn't stand the snobs, the flashy cars and cellphones and the endless school activities private school's dream up to keep you busy from Sunday to Sunday. The two year experience was spent missing my "happy haven in the township" but it was soon over and by some strange twist of fate, Zimbabwean taxpayers generosity and an aversion to power cuts I found my self in Algeria.

The story is still told of how I almost broke down on my first night there. French was as foreign to me as Greek and Arabic sounded like an extra terrestrial language. I also was not particularly taken by the idea of bathing in a bucket for the next four years (something which I did for the past four years nonetheless). Suddenly that private school and its merry gang of coconuts seemed like heaven and I spent most of my first years there pining away for Zimbabwe and the sweet comforts of home. But four years is a long time and there comes a time when you can competently order a pizza in Arabic and French, you know where all the post office branches are and suddenly the place seems like home. Someone upstairs must have thought I was getting too comfortable because once again, my life was turned upside down.

This time I was meant to go to Paris for two years, learning at the University of Paris in Paris (yeah I have a talent for stating the obvious don't I?) but somehow I ended up in the City of Gold (that's what the inhabitants of Johannesburg call their city though I think they might have mixed it up with a certain description in the Bible). And guess what? I suddenly miss Algeria with all my heart. Yet only four months ago I couldn't leave fast enough (the woman who arranged my flight had to deal with me morning and night, she must have breathed a sigh of relief when I finally left). And yet here I am sitting in the richest city on the continent and yet wishing I could leave.

It's always over the horizon for me, somewhere out there, calling to me in a language I can hardly understand but that leaves my heart unsettled. I hope I find it soon because at the rate I'm going, I might soon end up going crazy and deciding to go live in a hut in the middle of the desert in Botswana (that's the one with all the diamonds). Maybe I'm Oscar Wilde's dreamer, who can only find his way by moonlight. Here's to hoping I find my way soon enough.

*all country stereotypes are provided by CNN, BBC & SkyNews


  1. one day, just one day we will all look back @ all the events in our lives & we will b able to understand y we went thru wat we went thru,the picture always meks sense wen we now in the future,for now, LETS LIVE, God bless u Bongani!

  2. We were meant to be content and discontent @the same time.Your challenge is one that most youth is facing and its all thanks to a system that promotes capitalism and 1 thinks abt the future these days,ppl just wanna live their lives and make the most out of it 4 themselves but u hardly find a giver who wants to pass on their wealth to the nxt generation.isnt the way its supposed to be?,nway hope has never killed any1 just hold on and an opportunity will soon present itself to u,to all of us. :-)