March 29, 2018 – Lusaka and Johannesburg – Miss Zimbabwe and me

I was walking by the pool to the pool cafe and a lovely lady was trying to take a selfie. So I offered to take a couple of shots and we started talking and I finally sat for a bit. I asked what she did and she said “I’m Miss Zimbabwe”. I said “oh”. “Interesting”. Her name is Hillary Miyaka. She was waiting on Miss Zambia who was apparently running on Africa time. So we had a couple of glasses of wine and agreed to have dinner together if her other friends did not show up. But they did, so that was that.

Anyway, her politics were bad. She felt Mugabe was misunderstood and there was a disproportionate amount of focus on things he did wrong with no focus on what he did right. It could be true, but I am pretty sure his wrongs far far outweigh his right. As soon as I found out who she was I figured she must come from an affluent family and so I was not surprised to find her dad was a diplomat in the Mugabe administration but was now living in exile with his two wives (one of which was her mother). I am pretty sure the only women who get considered for anything must be friendly to the administration.

On the flight now to Windhoek via Jo’burg. The conference was good. Some of the academic stuff is of less interest to me. Much of it is just historical context about sport on the continent and has little or no relevance to the work of MYO, but overall it is a good format for meeting people interested in youth development. I made some good contacts—but of course need to learn how to convert that to something actionable. I really need to figure out a way to get funding. I may need to get back to Namibia for that.

After the last session yesterday I got a guided tour of University of Zambia from Bibian and Katonga. It’s a large campus and is in about the same state of disrepair as UNAM. 27,000 students attend the school. It was nice to walk around the campus a bit. It was later in the afternoon so lots of students walking to or from class or heading for home. We passed by probably 40 soccer fields and every one had a game going. Other than that, one netball field (not a court) and one dilapidated basketball court with no nets—a pick-up game of 3-on-3 was going on.

  This morning, before catching the shuttle to the airport I slipped in a quick run. All the early morning workers were either walking along the road or getting into and out of Kombi’s. In Africa, the Toyota van is the workhorse of the masses. It seems that 9 of 10 kombi’s are Toyota’s with the Hi-Ace being the luxury edition.

Now at Jo’Burg airport, having a coffee at the Mugg & Bean. This airport has changed dramatically in the nearly 20 years I have been coming here. It used to be a slightly larger version of the typical African airport—a few shops and gate’s, mostly run down with no amenities. Nearly all planes were out on the tarmac and had to be accessed by bus. Now it’s a major airport with hundreds of planes and dozens of shops and restaurants including a Ferrari store and a Nike store. Seems to be lots of money coming through Jo’Burg these days.

I’m only a few hours away from re-uniting with Beverly and then tomorrow, some of the MYO kids. On Sunday, Naaznee and Aneeka. So all good. Should be a banner week.


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