Minority in skin colour does not mean minority in spirit-Betty Makoni about her new town in UK

I am so honoured to be invited to be guest at an important event here in a small town of Stanford Le Hope where I live. Churches are coming  together to network and pray and what an honour a woman I met a few weeks ago just out of some unknown forces , Sharon Anne King who is Officer of the Salvation Army Church has invited me to be a guest and to speak about my work and life and meet some community members. . Stanford Le Hope  looks very much like my small village in Rusape in Zimbabwe where I come from. It looks like a small town, Hwange where I lived and my husband worked there. I have  lived in places where I find myself in the minority. In Hwange I was in the minority because I could not speak Ndebele. Here in Stanford Le Hope only 10% of those who live here are Africans and black and ethnic minority.

But one friend asked how I make such networks in a community where you are a minority  and manage to integrate so quickly and so easily? No easy answer either but I always think people connect better in spirit than in physical make up say of their skin or other things. Take for example my children who made friends with boys they never grew up with and when you see them you see boys more than their skin colour. There is something about being human beings we always overlook when we approach issues of race . We see skin of colour more than our humanity. There are many ways human beings connect spiritually.

Our community here in Stanford Le Hope has many amazing things going on that bring different people together. Of course, Africans and other ethnic minority groups are few   here in Stanford Le Hope but that does not mean we should stay in our minority communities. There are many churches and organisations we should work together with and help build this community and our communities back home. I believe in being a Citizen Ambassador –one who stands for her country as an ordinary person without demanding a reward back for it.

Today I have an opportunity to share about my work in Africa and present what I can do for my community. I believe that no matter what skin of my colour is wherever there are people who love and appreciate my work, then that is my home. Home is not where I was born only, home is where I live in love and harmony with others. No wonder many other people have made streets their homes. We may think otherwise about such homes but for any street person, home is there because other street people live there and they appreciate each other and help each other. To me home is not a physical building only. It is also one`s wellbeing.

In 2008 I left Zimbabwe to be in self-imposed exile and I found myself in UK where my husband got an engineering job. I did not stop my work as an activist for girls’ rights. I want to share my story and bring many people to support girls in Africa and also girls in their communities where teen pregnancies are a big challenge.

I am hoping to work closely with everyone and to keep the world as a peaceful global village. I have seen many events where Africans do their own thing and Europeans do their own thing which is great. But what is greatest is magic of difference where some events we have to pull every colour, language, religion, gender and just everyone in one room. There is power in diversity. Nothing in the world even the best scientists will change skin colour but certainly anyone can help change attitudes, practices and beliefs. The belief I have is that I go to every human being and I mingle and mix. I greet and I speak and hug and love and the list can go on simple things I can do.

I have shared with you an interesting conversation I had with a friend on being in a minority in a community. My idea is that physically one can be minority but spiritually we are in the majority.Our humanity and not skin colour give meaning to our very existence.

I know everyone of us say we come from such and such a place or we bought such an such a house but the reality is that no matter what place you own or buy, when you die one day you return the spirit where it came from and people take  the body where it belongs. So it is important whilst on earth to ensure we unite humanity to live together and value everything that connects us spiritually.

Our facebook chat

Aldrin Makotore What i like about you auntie is you explore in new areas . Ur not intimidated by anything in this world . Having known this area for a while its not like an everyday Zim populated area or known to be a black people’s area .This shows how determined you’re in what you are doing . Some people will choose to go and talk to a Zimbabwe crowd in Luton where they are already known and respected

Betty Makoni ?Aldrin Makotore I can see you are quite close where I live. This is a beautiful community, small and peaceful. I love living and working here. I love some time I reflect and that’s why writing books has been very easy go. Yes blacks are minority physically when we see skin but really I found that everything am working on affects white communities too. I think my work is very special in that it touches on universal issues. I love meeting people of all languages and colours and I think studying sociolinguistics and literature, film and drama did not leave me doing this work but it helps me strengthen my relations. Physically I see colour of our different skin but spiritually I see a connection. I am so disappointed that many people in the world choose the skin colour instead of our humanity…..I think being in the minority as blacks here should give us an opportunity to build communities and contribute .I love the respect I am getting today…speaking to church leaders …I will try and share some photos of event today