Of Books and cattle posts

Growing up my Dad always used to tell us how he used to carry his books with him to the cattle post. In between minding the cattle he would read. Despite the demanding chores he had as a child, he never let that be an excuse for him not to study. Nor did he let his desire to study keep him from doing his chores.

Of course he would tell us this to encourage us to study. But the picture in my mind of him growing up in rural Rhodesia carrying a tattered book to a dusty cattle post is a lot more than an anecdotal nod towards education. It’s a picture of how to navigate the world as a young African.

The pursuit of education need not be accompanied by a sense of despising “lower” menial tasks that are so often a part of the lives of many people in Africa. Fetching water, chopping wood, working odd jobs to help out at home and yes, going to the cattle post. The point of getting an education is not to make us better than anyone else. The point is to make us better able to contribute.

My Dad growing up in a poor area did not discourage him from aspiring to get an education. Coming from a poor background need not be grounds on which you disqualify yourself from progress. Indeed it is a reason in and of itself to rise.

The cattle post need not be despised as we rise nor the books discarded in the light of where we currently are. Go to the cattle post. And take your books with you.

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