Africa / A Conversation with Sekai Holland
I took the opportunity recently of using our new friend Zoom to have a conversation with Sekai Holland. It will be remembered that Sekai was a keynote speaker at the CLC in Livingstone, Zambia in April 2019 and that I have visited her in Zimbabwe on 3 occasions since that Conference. I wanted to check how Sekai and her wide family network were doing and to hear from someone living in Harare what circumstances were like under the Zimbabwe lockdown occasioned by the pandemic.
I found Sekai in a mixture of emotions ranging from optimism about the people of Zimbabwe and those with whom she worked in the Zimbabwe Peace Initiative, to despair at some of the events that had taken place in her beloved country and to the people caused by or not stopped by those in positions of power.
She remains positive about the force for good that civic society organisations could play in stabilising Zimbabwe and in bringing about the prosperity that peace can assist in achieving.
When she spoke, she mentioned how in Africa there is a strong sense of how each needs the help of each other and how all need to talk together. Indeed, she is taking that very message to the highest authorities in Zimbabwe urging discussion rather than violence, dialogue rather than confrontation and a recognition that there are so many good qualities about the Zimbabwe people that they must not be lost in petty short term factional political squabbling.
She spoke of how her ZimPE organisation had been helping with food distribution and became upset when reflecting on how many people were experiencing hunger and starvation.
One of her ideas is to try and resuscitate the women’s clubs in Zimbabwe where skills can be passed on, small manufacturing and craft operatives established and finances and a sense of purpose generated for families.
Sekai’s energy and commitment to others is amazing and somewhat humbling. That she still cares, still inspires others and still fights for the people of Zimbabwe to have the present and future they deserve is inspiring. While there is indeed so much that is negative and depressing about some of the events in Zimbabwe there is also a positive message which can and should be shared and which deserves support.
I was pleased to find Sekai in energetic form, healthy and looking after herself and her household. I look forward to another chance to speak with her and obtain a further update from Harare.
-Brian Speers, CLA President