The moment we go to kindergarten we are faced with the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? And as usual we answer doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer and so many other career choices. However not all of us get to realize that dreams because of different circumstances in life but if there is a slight chance, a window of opportunity that is made available please do jump on it, grab on it and never let it go till you achieve it.

As an African woman or rather in my case also Zimbabwean for the majority people we don’t get to dream that high all we get to do is “l want to get an education and get married) and the type of education that most get to do is high school. Those who come from fortunate families then get to go to university. It would be my wish that every young girl reaches university and proceed to run the world for us women can do it all, we are multitaskers and we run the world.

There is a trend going on #WCW amongst others and this means woman crush Wednesday. It means you get to honor the person you admire or look up to for particular reasons. And today our WCW is none other Danai Jekesai Gurira popularly known for her role in The Walking Dead, All Eyes On Me, Black Panther. For those who do not know she is also a playwright and has pioneered the Love Our Girls movement. She is our person of admiration today because of the work that she has done to uplift African women and have their stories told and also what she has gone through to be where she is today.

Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell,Iowa USA to Josephine and Roger Gurira who were from Zimbabwe. Her father was then at Grinnel College teaching chemistry. When she was five years old her family moved back to Zimbabwe where she stayed until she was eighteen years old.at 18 she then went back to the US for college where she was studying social psychology at Macalester College.

Whilst in college she developed an interest in theatre and she would participate in campus plays. She then majored in theatre, graduated and went on to do a masters in theatre in New York and that’s how her rise of fame began-in Broadway. She began her professional career onstage, winning numerous awards for her work in the 2005 production of “In the Continuum”, an Off-Broadway play that she also wrote. From there, she began adding film and television credits to her resume. She has since appeared in such projects as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”, “The Visitor”, “Ghost Town”, “Life on Mars”, “American Experience”, “Lie to Me”, “3 Backyards”, “My Soul to Take”, and “Restless City”. She also had a recurring role on “Treme” and has continued to work in the theatre, appearing in “The Convert”, which she also wrote. She is currently co-starring on the hit series, “The Walking Dead”. In 2017 she appeared in the biopic about Tupac “All Eyez on Me” as Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur and in 2018 was in Black Panther. She wrote a play called ‘Eclipsed’ were she was telling the story of five women in the 2003 war zone in Liberia who were abducted at different stages of their life and forced to become bush wives-sex slaves to a commanding officer. Danai was/is passionate about telling African stories on American soil and her having grown up in Harare she saw what other fellow African women have gone through.

Beginning of the year there was the Almasi playwriters festival and Danai as a playwright was present and that she is the co-director and my podcaster colleague Onai managed to interview her. Danai said you don’t just wake up one day and you have made it in life, it doesn’t work like that. You have to work hard, persevere and make sure your talent or gift is recognized and whatever it is that you do pays off in the end.

When she started some of her plays were boring as her friend Frank would say but Danai never gave up because she knew that one day all her plays and tv roles would be interesting to watch. As Zimbabwean young ladies, we should learn from Danai.she started small, acting in campus plays went to Broadway and ended on the big screen. We all can’t be Danai’s but we can learn from her. She was strong, adamant, persevered and had faith and believed in herself and she knew she was UNSTOPPABLE. She did not stop dreaming and working hard for her dreams no matter how many trials and tribulations she faced, no matter how many people did not believe in her.

We as young ladies, the present generation, and the future generation to come we need to dream big, start small and start now. Do not let society stop you or limit you or do not let your social background stop you from achieving your dreams for you can make it and live the life that you want till you’re unstoppable and the sky becomes your point of view.

Keep moving for you can…..

Gracia Casandra

10 April 2018


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