Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Knowing your heroes (again) - Nyasha Gumbeze

A further look at people who better deserve the label "hero" than, say, a prancing idiot in a flight suit.

(Taken from "Canvas") Nyasha "Bishop" Gumbeze, theological student at St John's Theological College, Auckland (Anglican):

[Gumbeze] comes from Zimbabwe, abnd is intent on using her training, place within the church, and resulting social status to ease the strife at home. It's a plan that has led others into early graves.

"I do see it like I'm training to be a plumber," she says. "That's how I feel, like I'm training for a profession that's also a calling as well, and it will help me get involved in politics. As a priest, that door is already open. There's an expectation that you will say something, confront people who are corrupt and unjust. But you can get killed doing that in Zimbabwe, it's dangerous for you and your family. The only way I could protect myself would be to say nothing but that would help no one, so speaking out and the risks that brings will be worth it if it's the truth. I came to New Zealand because they will not ordain women at home, now I want to be a bishop some day, for teh influence I could have and the work I could do for our women. Our voices have never been heard. I'm the kind of person who wants to break new ground. I'm not afraid to do that, so who knows what will happen. It will be God's will."

At a more bread-and-butter level, the 36-year-old is here with her husband and two children but the problems her family faces at home are never far from her thpughts. "Being here is like being in heaven, as long as you have some money you will find food in the shops. At home people may not even be paid for their work and if they are, there's nothing to buy. My family, they are alive. I can say that. They are struggling to survive but they are alive. they have no food, no money, no medicine, some of them have Aids. I pray for them every day."

Given all the bullshit the various "isms" throw at us, even the "isms" we more or less agree with, it might be worthwhile considering the very simple truth expressed by Gumbeze's decision on what to do with her life. And, as often happens, this truth has been expressed succinctly in Te Reo:

"He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

("What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!)

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