Oxford celebrates poet it once shunned

first_imgOxford University spent last week honouring Dambudzo Marechera, nearly four decades after expelling him. Events took place over the week, celebrating the work of the writer that one Zimbabwean newspaper called “the most controversial author Zimbabwe has ever produced.”After gaining a scholarship to New College, Marechera was expelled following a series of incidents, including threats to burn down the college. After growing up in poverty, he had previously been expelled from the University of Rhodesia in 1973 after a student demonstration.Professor Elleke Boehmer, co-organiser of the event, explains that Marechera had a “schizophrenic disposition, which was never formally diagnosed,” and was made worse by his “extreme isolation, as one of the only black students in a very white Oxford.” It was this combination of race and class prejudices, Boehmer suggests, that led to such behaviour.She stressed the continued relevance of the work, stating that “People now still relate to the crises which Marechera faced, especially in his native Zimbabwe.His thinking represents precisely the opposite to the kind of rigid, binary thought of someone like Robert Mugabe. He asked a lot of difficult questions, and crossed boundaries.”However, some object to the perceived double standards of the institution. Wadham second-year Sophie Lewis directed a production which combined two of Marechera’s plays, but split from the conference organisers “after a very difficult beginning.” Lewis objects to the idea of the University embracing the writer after rejecting him as a student.“I don’t want to see Marechera’s dramatics, his nationsroman, his poems, stultified by the academic institution he rejected, and which rejected him.”One English undergraduate said, “I always think it’s quite ironic when Oxford welcome back someone they barely cared about at the time. I don’t think they mean to be hypocritical, but there is the sense that they want to share in Marechera’s success.”Boehmer acknowledges that the celebration may “seem on the surface” to be hypocritical, welcoming back the writer now that he is safe and dead, but points out that ‘the English Faculty and academia has moved on. We’re now in a place where black writers’ work are discussed and celebrated. It’s a different Oxford from the one Marechera experienced.’“This isn’t in any way trying to excuse or make up for the past, but a genuine recognition and celebration of his work.”last_img read more

UMC Unveils ‘The Road Forward’

first_imgAmid the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of long-term care communities have patiently awaited the time when they could visit face-to-face with their loved ones. That desire was granted when the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) issued a directive permitting outdoor visitation beginning on June 21.As a faith-based ministry, United Methodist Communities (UMC) continues to focus on protecting its residents, clients and associates in the wake of COVID-19. In March, they formed a COVID-19 Response Team composed of organizational leaders representing all 13 locations, including the UMC facilities in Ocean City.“As summer of 2020 begins, the UMC COVID-19 Response Team has diligently worked on our reopening plan, The Road Forward. This complex and methodical process included input from a multi-disciplinary team of associates, as well as residents and families,” UMC President and CEO Larry Carlson said in a press release.The plan specifies appropriate policies, procedures, and safety measures for its full-service communities, affordable senior housing, and in-home care division, HomeWorks. UMC’s phased approach has four stages defined as the Red Zone, Orange Zone, Yellow Zone, and a Green Zone. Each is less restrictive than the one before.The primary objective of The Road Forward is to safely progress to the “new normal’ while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus. Transitioning from more to less restrictive zone brings greater risk, so as a protective measure, the team will closely monitor and make necessary adjustments.For example, a spike in cases may precipitate a step back to the previous zone. Rather than a “flip the switch” scenario, this will be a slow, methodical opening of services, which will take time and patience.The progression in all senior care organizations is driven by Gov. Phil Murphy, the NJDOH, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS specifies seven distinct factors for states to consider in determining their approach. While we are all anxious to get “back to normal,” this is a fluid process that is subject to their continuing guidance.UMC’s Road Forward contains a recommended phased reopening that corresponds to the Federal Opening Up America Again guidelines, but also includes additional recommended criteria for moving through the phases. Each phase of reopening should lag each phase of reopening for the broader community by 14 days.UMC will be looking at each community and the homecare division with separate plans and timelines depending on each local situation. In some cases, different sections of a building may be in different zone at the same time depending on NJDOH directives and the current virus status.Understanding the challenges of quarantine, associates continue to be pro-active in keeping residents engaged with Zoom and Facetime calls, hallway activities, and birthday surprises. In addition to the outdoor visits, technology has aided contact between residents and their families.The Road Forward can be viewed online at UMC’s COVID-19 Response page at https://umcommunities.org/covid-19/. It specifies the criteria for testing and screening, movement within and outside the buildings, use of PPE including masks, social distancing, visitation, group activities, volunteer participation, salon, worship dining, and more.“We know we have a long journey ahead of us but with personal responsibility and everyone doing their part, we can open our buildings safely. Together we can ensure our UMC family experiences a bright future,” Carlson said. United Methodist Communities in Ocean City is a full-service care facility, from assisted living to hospice.last_img read more