Nqobile is a young man raised in post-colonial Zimbabwe. Having been awarded a dream bursary to attend college in America, he thinks his success came as a result of his proximity to whiteness; something he's believed in since attending a majority white high school.
While on break, he witnesses a depressing incident at the border between Zimbabwe and South African that shatters his desire to maintain this proximity, as he now feels that blacks will always be inferior.
Back on campus, he searches for meaning through religion and by joining black consciousness groups. When both avenues fail dramatically, he soon discovers he will have to look within himself to find purpose.
In telling Nqobile’s story, which appears as a novella within his novel, author Mandhla Mgijima outlines a new consciousness paradigm of existence that will inspire people to move beyond the conceptual and materially obsessed world we currently live in.
Mandhla Mgijima, a native of Zimbabwe, attended an American college on a full track-and-field scholarship while majoring in economics. He nearly dropped out of college, however, when he realized that pursuit of material wealth would not provide him with the sense of purpose he longed for.
Although he kept plugging away at his studies up to graduate level, he spent more time reflecting on what the world’s wisdom traditions say about the true nature of the universe. His reflections have driven him to believe that humanity’s trajectory is singular, and as we face the same fate for our actions, we need to get together to shift the consciousness of the entire world.
Contrary to what the media and people in general will have you think, the enemy in our societal struggles isn't out there somewhere, it is much closer to every single one of us than we choose to believe
But knowing where it is, do we really want to confront it?
Nqobile – The Story of Becoming
While we have been bickering across tribal, racial, and national divides, superficial constructs that we have bought into that further perpetuate the illusion of separation, there is a common enemy in all our struggles for deliverance. It fires drones into compounds, indiscriminately killing villains and innocents in the name of national security. It fabricates weapons of mass destruction as a justification to invade oil rich lands. It arms rebel forces to the teeth to destabilize nations and initiate regime change, and then it leaves a mess behind when it gets the bloodiest diamonds and the crudest of oil it always wanted. It labels progressive revolutionaries as terrorists until it is forced to sit at the table with them to conspicuously concede power. It allows attacks on home soil that spill the blood of its young just so it has reason to go into war. It builds million-dollar mansions for presidents while its people wallow in hunger. It kills dozens of miners demonstrating for better pay. It turns a blind eye to rampant corruption as its own hands are dirty. It herds entire indigenous populations of color into dry lands while distributing all the arable land amongst the minority settlers. Generations later it breaks its promise for land reform, forcing a revolution that kills its descendants. It then places sanctions on the killers that it hopes will be forced out by their own people, starved by a strangling economy.
It destroys local subsistence farming practices to make room for cash crops, exports an unprecedented 10 million tons of food, while over 29 million remaining locals die of hunger. It ‘discovers’ new land across the ocean then over a few generations, reduces the indigenous population from about 50 million to maybe 3 million; most of them dying because of new diseases, slavery, or starvation after being kicked off their land. It intimidates its people against publicly showing dissent, silently abducting and murdering the loudest voices to instill fear. This enemy is closer than you think. It is not out there in an evil man or race or religion as the world will have you believe. It resides in every single one of us, indifferent to color or nationality, rearing its ugly head in preservation of our deepest desires by which we are motivated to act. It is called self-interest.
While most of us experience life from the bottom side of the coin that’s stuck in the mud, as long as our minds operate within this Eurocentric paradigm, we are one flick away from making the same decisions that preserve the position of self-interest currently enjoyed by the privileged status quo. We know the game is rigged, but deep down we never want it to change. We harbor secret desires to maintain it because we too believe that one day we will ‘make it’ and get to play from the other side. And when we do make it, we have secretly vowed to milk it just as much as others have. Hence it is that we are no different from the current status quo in thought, only in circumstance.