Paul Wombo on a Life Encompassed by Shakespeare
|“Romeo and Juliet” by Henri Pierre Picou|
William Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest writer of all time. I gladly reassert that he is not only the greatest writer of all time but he also dethrones Houdini as the greatest magician of all time. How else can you describe the act of taking vowels, syllables, adjectives, verbs, and so on to create a living creature that roams through the minds and lives of billions through the ages other than being magic? Shakespeare’s magic has changed my life in the sense that I truly love the English language and also the electrolytic fluidity of the creative mind.
“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father then both cry.” My father moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo with two children and a new wife to South Africa in 1994. The initial plan was to move to Canada from South Africa but the beauty of South Africa’s infant democracy held a vice grip onto my father’s heart. Deep in the Joburg CBD the Wombo family began to deepen their roots into the soil that was finding fertility after decades of oppression. My father and mother both made so many sacrifices to ensure that we as children went to the best schools and we were brought up in such a way that we would contribute to and partake in the Rainbow Nation. English is held with high esteem in our otherwise French household and this is where my love for English blossomed. My first interaction with Shakespeare was in a cartoon version of Romeo and Juliet on the television when I was six. I did not know it then but it was the beginning of a relationship with Shakespeare that seeped into my whole life.
My parents have and are still giving me so much to be grateful for which leads to us sharing laughs. It is through their sacrifices that I am able to enjoy the magic of English provided by Shakespeare along with so many other joys in life. I know that once I realise my dreams, my parents will be lifted up with me and the odd tear or two shall be shed.
“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” As a child, I was asked what I want to be when I grow up and the word “Fireman!,” succeeded by a youthful attempt of the fire engine sound, changed in later years when my father was teaching me calculus in the hopes that I would become a civil engineer. My love for maths did not stop me from picking up a trumpet and finding an even stronger love in music. I would perform with our school orchestra and paint images in my head of how amazing it would be to do this for a living. While in high school my love for music was coupled with a huge indifference to accounting which I am now working on passionately, to join the chartered accountancy profession. Just by looking at one small thing like my career, there are already so many facets to it.
Life is complicated and it is rare that things will go as you initially thought that they would. We have many parts to play whether it is being a parent, partner, friend, or even enemy. We should play our roles in life to our best possibility but live in a way that when our exit eventually does approach we make a more comfortable entry for the next player.
Shakespeare through his wizardry and magic has changed my life and the lives of many. No one told him or his parents when he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon that he would change the world forever. Have dreams and put every effort and passion into living those dreams. “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” Long live Shakespeare the legend.
Paul Wombo is a Pretoria Boys High School Old Boy and an Accounting student at the University of Pretoria.