The First Step Feb. 2011 - Page 5

Hi my name is Theo Javangwe and I am part Indigenous Australian and part African (Zimbabwean). I was born in Kalgoorlie, which is a large country town located in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. I am a descendant of the Wongutha/ Ngadju and Mirning tribes, whose traditional lands are located in the Gibson/central desert, Goldfields-Esperance Region and along the Nullarbor plains into South Australia. I have always been very interested in my cultural heritage and often asked the elders in my family about our history. Over the years I have learnt a lot about my family’s Indigenous heritage. My great-grandmother and great-grandfather were a part of the ‘stolen generation’. My great-grandmother, who is now deceased, was stolen from her traditional lands around Cosmo Newberry in Western Australia. At this time she was only a very young girl leading a traditional life and did not speak a word of English. My great-grandmother had only one sister, whom the authorities also wanted to capture because they were considered ‘half caste’ children. The authorities refused to give rations to my great-grandmother’s family until they handed her sister in, which they eventually did. They grew up in a Christian Mission were they were taught Christian ways, European culture and domestic skills. This is where my great-grandmother met my great-grandfather. I would love to tell you more about my elders, but I’ll leave it at that. As I mentioned earlier, I was born in Kalgoorlie. Here I lived for two years until moving to Perth. As a young child growing up in Perth I often found it hard to be accepted by my fellow Aboriginals, as I looked very African. This was very upsetting because I was very proud of My Aboriginality and didn’t see myself as any different from the other children. I went to various schools in Perth and Kalgoorlie and finished my primary school education at Perth Montessori School. During high school I attended a private college in Perth and resided with my father. This was a very challenging time for me as I was not particularly close with my father and I yearned for my Mother and siblings, who lived on the other side of the city. After losing my grandmother in 2006 and consequently losing sight of my dreams and education, my father decided to send me to boarding school in South Australia. This proved to be the most worthwhile and valuable experience in my life. I graduated school from Westminster School in South Australia, where I received a quality education and met life- long friends. During my last year of high school I applied for a collegiate scholarship to Bond University to pursue my life- long ambition of becoming a lawyer and Indigenous leader. I moved up to the Gold Coast in January of this year to begin my double degree of Law and International Relations/ Business. My first semester at Bond University was very challenging as I longed for my family and culture back home. So I decided to take this semester off. Being an Indigenous Australian means a lot to me. It means I belong to a people and culture that have inhabited Australia for thousands of years, and have one of the longest surviving cultures in the world. I am hopefully returning to Bond University next semester to complete my studies and fulfil my goals and dreams. I hope to one day become a successful lawyer, leader and advocate for human rights. Meet: Theo Javangwe