This year, in keeping with the theme about conquering mountains, I have been very deliberate about the books I read. My intention is to read books about people who have conquered all kinds of mountains in their lives.
I started the year by reading “Kizza Besigye and Uganda’s Unfinished Revolution“, by Daniel Kalinaki. The book talks about the various trials and tribulations Uganda’s most recognized opposition politician has gone through, in his attempts to fight for democracy in Uganda. I then read “Indira:The Life of Indira Nehru Gandi” by Katherine Frank. The book aptly describes the mountains Indira and her family had to conquer in the lead up to the fight for India’s independence, and the personal and political mountains she faced as the first woman president of that great nation. I then read the heart rending story of Winnie Mandela in a book called “Winnie Mandela:A Life“, by Anne Marie de Preez Bezdrob. Winnie was hounded by an unjust apartheid regime and she underwent many horrific incidents intended to break not just her back (and spirit), but which were intended to kill the fight against racial injustice. Winnie conquered some mountains and some mountains conquered her, but her place is firmly etched in history.
I have now embarked on another book about an amazing woman. The book is titled “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” by Jeanne Theoharis. While Mrs Parks is most remembered for her act of defiance against racial inequality on the bus in Montgomery, apparently, she was involved in many other efforts against eradicating racial inequality in schools, jobs, public service and in the criminal justice system, and I am looking forward to learning about her life and legacy.
My major take away from the books I have read so far this year, is that conquering mountains is a life long quest. Conquering mountains has a very personal and often political cost. Conquering mountains is done one minute at a time, one step in front of another, always keeping focused on the goal, no matter the obstacles. It is literally an uphill task (what else could it be?). Some parts of the climb are rough, some days in the climb are tough, sometimes one’s energy is not enough but mountains can be surmounted.
And so I have hope, not only that I will reach my goal of climbing Mount Rwenzori, but that I will also make progress in other mountains that I climb – mountains like the fight for women’s equality in my country, mountains like the fight against theft of public resources, mountains like the fight for true democracy in my country.
Others have done it, and so can I.
And you can too!