The Ambivalence of “One Day”

In the photo, a giant grey and yellow storm loom against the green American Midwest farmland landscape. In the middle of the cloud is a stark rainbow.

What is “one day”? 

What are the “one days” that we wish will never come? I feel like this has happened in the last month in Palestine and Israel. 

“One days” can be about dreaming, but they are also about what we have not done--what we’ve procrastinated on catching up with us. 

Having studied conflict, I know how irresponsible pushing off peace is. The Korean peninsula has been divided for seventy years because of what world leaders pushed off. The continued militarization and nuclearization are all that seems to await us. I hope that the future of Palestinians and Israelis holds something different. A cease-fire is not enough when the violence can and will repeat itself. 

People continue to be divided and oppressed and killed until there is no more “one day” left. I hope that our future holds “one days” we look forward to rather than having to fight for the minimum respect of Trans people’s lives and Black lives. 

What are the “one days” that we wish will come to us? 


What is “one day”?

Sometimes it is the reckoning we know will come. On the 25th of May as the rest of the continent celebrated Africa Day, a collective gathered in Kezi to erect a monument to honour those who were killed in a genocide in the late 1980’s.

In Zimbabwe, we do not say the word genocide. Or Gukurahundi. The fact that over 20 000 people in Matebeleland were killed, thousands more displaced and assaulted is glossed over in history books and hardly mentioned in popular discourse.  

We are a country that actively chooses not to count our dead. I hope that one day we will choose to remember the lives sacrificed for a vague nationalist dream.

On the 26th of May, the plaque was demolished. A reminder that there is so much investment in forgetting.

When the “one days” of remembering and reckoning come, I wonder what stories we will tell. 

Books We Want to Read One Day

1. PACHINKO by Min Jin Lee

T: Every single person who has read Lee’s novel has come to tell me I must finish this diasporan masterpiece. I was gifted this book by my brother but the impending history halts me from picking it up every time. I know I need to read it, and I know I will cry my eyeballs out. One day when I have an extra pair of eyeballs to cry out, I will sit down with it. 

2. CASTE by Isabel Wilkerson

G: Her first book “The Warmth of Other Suns” shook my world. I had encountered writing about migration. But not in the way that Wilkerson explored it. I have opened and closed “Caste” multiple times this year. Maybe during a pandemic is not the time to explore the debilitating effects of social inequality. One day when the world feels calmer I will pick it up and face the realities of this world.  

3. QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED by Kacen Callender

T: I love Callender’s other books, including KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES as well as FELIX EVER AFTER, and their adult series are definitely on my list. I highly recommend Callender’s books for all queer people! They’re so affirming! 

4. THE BOOK OF NOT by Tsitsi Dangarembga

G: It is the second book in the trilogy that follows Tambu’s life. Probably one of the hardest books to find in this country. Purely based on the brilliance of the other two titles Nervous Conditions and This Mournable Body, I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a reading challenge.

“One days” are not always seismic shifts of violence occurring at a macro level. Sometimes they are tiny intimate moments of courage. A letter, a voice-note, a conversation that was always supposed to happen someday.

June is pride month. There are probably thousands of people mustering the courage for their “one days”. Their first pride march, their first correct pronouns, their first clothes that feel right, their first time feeling safe and true... To all those choosing bravery this month, we are sending love and courage.

With much love & pride,

G & T