i don’t believe in fate, because i have a strong belief in coincidences – an encounter at 08:02 this morning reiterated this belief. this morning i request a cab from uber for a trip to cape town international airport, i have a 09:30 flight to catch back to gaborone. after waiting almost ten minutes for the driver, the app informs me “the driver has decided to cancel the request. please, make another request.” i do. and aaron appears on the screen. then the wi-fi connectivity in the hotel collapses on me, and i lose track of aaron. after five minutes i call him, “i’m driving fast sir, i will be there soon.” when he shows up, we exchange “good mornings” and he asks “are you traveling within the country or you’re traveling out of the country?” i say i am traveling to botswana. he asks if it is for a few days or if i live there. i respond that i live there. “botswana is a peaceful country, you are lucky.” we speak some more. i notice he doesn’t speak like the typical south african. “where are you from?” he smiles. “how do you know i’m not from here?” i settle into the seat – this is going to be fun. “from your accent and the way you speak.” he laughs. “i’m from cameroun. where are you from?” this is always a hard question for me to answer, answering that i am a nigerian is only part truth because i have lived more than three-quarters of my existence (in various societies) out of nigeria. i believe when you have traveled and lived outside your mother nation like i have, your mother nation only becomes your launching pad, for the other communities you’ve lived have molded you (perhaps more) than your mother nation. especially when you were born outside your mother nation. “i am originally from nigeria. but i am for the moment a motswana.” he laughs. “you’re funny.” now, that’s a statement that is ambiguous – does it mean you have a good sense of humor, or you’re a joke. i don’t ask him to explain – i choose the former. there is something about him that’s kind. he says, “i’m from the english-speaking cameroun. we are brothers.” then he proceeds to give me a lesson in the connectivity between the two nations i haven’t been able to find in any book. he adds a lesson on the history of the tensions between the french and the english-speaking cameroun – up to this very moment we are talking. he even mentions something nice the former military ruler of nigeria, sani abacha, did on behalf of the english-speaking cameroun. “abacha?” he laughs and promises to send a video via whatsapp to the number i had called him with. by the time we arrive at the airport i had learnt so much about the english-speaking cameroun. i am glad the first cab driver canceled for i will not have met aaron. wherever you are right now, thanks for the lesson and the connection, aaron.

fkregie 2017.