I miss the utopia of my childhood


By Danson Matekwa

Sometimes at night, when its pitch dark, the darkness becomes almost smothering, I lie awake listening to the soothing sound of the wind outside, the insects and the endless crying of the baby next door. I think back through my life, to try and comfort me into restful sleep.

I remember rainbow days from my early years back in the village. The images are yellow, orange, black, warm, and happy. Sliding through the mud (mud-fun), the smell of the soil as it kissed the rain after a short drought, the dark nights as electricity was a word that only existed in dictionaries, not our homes. A time when the trees would paint the village green and the rivers would flow with pride. As a child, the village was a utopia, as it gave us everything we wanted and much more.

Over 20 years later, I am no longer the boy in the village, but the thought of having a symbiotic relationship between human beings and nature still exists inside me. The massive deforestation leaving our land barren and bare, warming temperatures, increasing soil erosion, failing rainfall affecting food production and limited access to electricity are some of the currents that I have to deal with daily.

The best way of acting on a problem is by first understanding it. This informed my decision to pursue a Geography and Natural Resource Management degree. As a geographer and a social scientist, it has become easier to advocate for policy changes on some of the current pressing issues, drive innovation on challenges like food insecurity using science-based evidence, promote the need for clean and sustainable energy sources etc.

I am greatly motivated by urgent need to act, because the things I love are in danger of pollution and extinction and may not remain pristine for much longer. Furthermore, as a continent, there is a need to forge a win-win solution between protecting nature and improving people’s livelihood. That has always been, and should remain the full spectrum of a holistic sustainability approach: One where nature and humanity thrive simultaneously.

Apart from my professional life, I pride myself as a poet. My goal for this year is to have some of my poems published.

Lastly, in everything I do, I am always guided by the mantra ‘Do not look where you fell. Look at where you slipped.’

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