Friday, December 1, 2006

Our Cousin

Someone who has been incredibly supportive to us, although somewhat at a distance, has been Nanda's cousin SL.

I met SL here many many years ago – early '90s I think – when she'd just started at the BBC and was accompanying another (Anglo) BBC journalist here to cover something or other.

We became firm friends over time, especially as she was/is a great friend of my ex-partner.

When I met Nanda, they didn't even know (of) each other. Only after talking to Nanda's father, did I discover that he was SL's father's nephew (so strictly speaking SL and Nanda's father are first cousins). Everyone here seems to be related somehow or other!

SL continues to work for the BBC, has gained a B.A., M.A. and UK nationality.

She hopes to come back here and is building a house here ... but I fear will never find gainful employment here. She has absorbed the journalistic standards of the BBC. She came back briefly in the late '90s and started an interview program on national TV asking hard-hitting questions of our politicians – and they didn't like it. The politicos/ruling-class put the pressure on, the program was axed and she returned to London.

Although we have a multi-party democracy since 1992 (semi-functioning but very successful in African terms – another post), and officially censorship is not permitted, journalistic self-censorship is common. SL would not accept this.

She's also a published poet – though I don't think anything has been translated into English yet.

SL lives in London – about 350 miles from us. But she has visited and phones regularly. She has seen us through some emotional crises, talking to and calming down Nanda when I couldn't.

Thank you SL – you supported me before Nanda and you support us now.

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