You having a low opinion of me is one of the reasons I wake up in the morning. That’s right, your revulsion sustains me. (Mwalidi’s last tweet before the campaign.)
Mwalidi was annoyed. This was not part of the plan. Her life could not possibly have been leading up to this point. She thought this as she marched at the front line of a peaceful protest. In a few minutes, the teargas would come and the police would happily piss over the word peaceful.
She was a final year student of law. She was going to join her fathers’ friends’ firm. Fight legal battles for those who could afford it and get a German Sheppard. That was the plan. Activists were poor and had no prospects. She was happy. There was not a single ‘African’ statistic that applied to her.
The crowd behind her was almost a living thing. They were happy to be here. To be part of the change. To be there with her, the one who started it all. They were going to choke on the tear gas and face the riot dogs she adored.
This had never happened in the country. People did not do brave things. The U.N. fought for the rights of Africa’s people, Save the Children and USAID, Aid from the American People did stuff like this.
But they were here and she was here. Late one night she had started the petition. And she was going to get it done. The plan had been pulverized. There was no going back. She was afraid but so was everyone behind her.