Yes I Can, by Energy Maburutse (PART 1 OF 3)

I was born doomed to life without achievements. At least that was the thinking from my small village, where almost everyone accepted the traditional belief that disabilities are the result of a curse. Even if I hadn’t been born with bones so brittle that they broke at the first pressure and without the ability to walk, I’m not sure how much I could have achieved if I had remained in my small village, where the fundamental belief was, “We can’t.” It is a village full of illiterate people who think you can achieve only by honoring the ancestors, who then bless you with your desire, or through the spells of witches. I was trapped like a chick in a shell with no chance of being hatched. My mother put the first crack in the shell when she refused to follow the tradition and sent me to school. But even then, I could imagine that I could stretch out my hands to achieve. To my traditional thinking, that was beyond my human power. Then when I was eight I heard the sound of the marimbas. I don’t know why I loved to sound so much, but I kept visiting the marimba club in my school to listen to the seniors practice. “Get out of here you little silly boy!” they shouted. “Can’t you see you are disturbing us? Young kids are not allowed to play the marimbas.” My heart would sink. My dream was to become a member of the marimba club and one day entertains a crowd. Whenever I was alone, I was playing the marimba songs in my imagination. I kept on going back again and again to listen to a marimba player. I persistently showed up until I got accepted into the marimba club. I learnt with passion and it didn’t take much time to show I had a talent. I became the best marimba player in school and when I started my secondary education, I found a bunch of folks with similar dreams. They also believed that nature would not incite us to have dreams unless we also have the possibility to fulfill them. They also had the courage to follow their talent. With the school assistance we managed to form a band, Liyana. We entered numerous competitions and left other contestants shocked when we won and were sent to Europe and then USA. I can’t fully explain the feeling I had the first time I got on a plane, but I can still feel how my heart was filled with joy. The useless little boy, as they used to call me, became the biggest attraction on stage in small and large cities in Europe and America. Back to my little village I became a topic of discussions, an amazement. “How can a disabled person from Zimbabwe share the same table with a white?” people wondered. “How can a disabled person manage to accomplish such big things? There must be a use of spells in this family.” But I new spells had nothing to do with my accomplishments. I alone was responsible for my achievements because I refused to give up my dream. Now I believe even the sky is not the limit, not just in music, that the limit is invisible and lies within my efforts. I now know that I should never listen to those who think they are better than me. I no longer hold to the fundamental mentality from my village that “we can’t.” Now, inside of me, I hear the words: “Yes we can.” Yes, I can.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/27/opinion/bruni-for-a-disabled-african-doors-swinging-open.html?_r=1

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