In Summary
  • I would see you developing guts to power you into telling the university administration that they should behave or face consequences that would rather be imagined than experienced; that a vice-chancellor will be multiplied by zero.
  • There was also a chance of you becoming a secretary-general of some powerful union to issue ultimatums and fault the government and storm out of meetings to say how you will not listen to anything until your members’ salaries are increased.

Dear Jijee,

Your first name should have been Strike. A more apt, more relevant name that is closer to the zeitgeist of your year of birth, 2017.

How, you ask? You were born in a private hospital in the middle of a nationwide doctors’ strike that lasted 100 days.

And as you grew up, a number of your vaccines were administered in private hospitals because in five of your first 10 months, nurses were on strike and none was available to immunise babies. Heartless nurses, weren’t they?

You were born in a year when there were strikes by tea pickers, university lecturers, supermarket workers, among others.

There were also numerous street protests by supporters of the opposition who were pushing for one cause or another.

It often made me imagine that you could grow up to become a “strike” yourself, morphing into a fire-breathing student leader shouting “comrades power” and “Tibiim” from here to Greece.

I would see you developing guts to power you into telling the university administration that they should behave or face consequences that would rather be imagined than experienced; that a vice-chancellor will be multiplied by zero.

There was also a chance of you becoming a secretary-general of some powerful union to issue ultimatums and fault the government and storm out of meetings to say how you will not listen to anything until your members’ salaries are increased.

GENERAL DEFIANCE

The general defiance of your year of birth also made me sometimes entertain thoughts that you would one day become the leader of opposition. By the time I was writing this, you were showing good signs of becoming one, what with the number of times you would openly voice your displeasure (by crying) and the times you would throw your head backwards to boycott meals you did not like or anything in a spoon that you suspected was not the normal yoghurt.

The food boycotts you were waging early in your life —  which made your mum consider force-feeding you the way some toddlers were being made to gulp down porridge by adults pouring it into their mouths through cupped hands — appeared to be tell-tale signs that the general air of defiance across the country was getting into you.

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