One thing that amazes me about human beings is that once they get power they behave like a different species. They are no longer human but extra ordinary creatures that leave the realm of normal beings. Somehow power clothes one with inscrutability. It is for thing reason that I see Michelle’s autobiography. She has come open and educates the whole world that after all we are all human. Leaders and their spouses are not superhuman. They must not lie to us. They must not pretend they do not have problems. This is very important because our celebrities are dying quietly; a slow, painful, agonising death. Because they are idolised they lose their sense of normality.
It is thus not surprising for Michelle’s book to be a n instant hit. In the first week, the book, entitled ‘Becoming’, has sold more than 1.4 million copies in the first week. It is not just a best seller in the US but also in Europe and Scandanavia : in the UK it has scooped the number 1 adult not-fiction spot, according to the publisher Penguin Random House. After five printings of the hard cover edition, Canada and US alone will get 3 million more copies.
Another publisher, Barnes and Noble announced that ‘Becoming’ gave them ‘the biggest first-week sales of any book this year’. In short this book is selling exceptionally well whether online or in the bookshops. And it is already in our shores. I saw it last week as I walked past my favourite shop, Exclusive Books at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg.
Michelle is also on a tour of Europe promoting the book. The tickets to her appearances are already sold out. This is a very important development. This is a clear demonstration that on her own, as a woman and a mother Michelle is smart. She is not dependent on President Obama. She is not a mere housewife. She is an intellectual in her own right, a brilliant lawyer. I once came across a claim that Barack once said to her that ‘If I had not married you, you would not be a First Lady today’. She is said to have replied that ‘I would have made my husband as a President’.
They say men fear powerful women. Certainly Barack is not one of them and I am not one of them either. Society needs strong women who can ne good advisers and helpers. The bible says a woman is a helper. Michelle has over the years provided such help to President Obama in a very difficult time. Right-wing Republications opposed him from day one and tormented him throughout his presidency. Michelle was with him throughout, whilst at the same time watching over their two young daughters.
Amongst the range of issues addressed by the book, the personal details of the romance of the Obamas and their health challenges touched my heart. Michelle is candid about this. They have been up and down. She has had shocks from her body, just like many women have from across the global. She thought she was healthy and fertile but was shocked by miscarriage. She has had to resort to science to conceive and bear her children. She has had to discuss and argue with her husband over some of life’s issues and had to seek counselling, together with her man. They still seek counselling if they deem it necessary. They had to do this until their marriage became ‘phenomenal’ as Michelle describes it today. Most so-called celebrities cannot handle these issues. They would rather pretend all is normal or at the most hide or seek help secretly without admitting the problem, as Naomi Campbell did many years ago. Some of the celebrities find refuge in drugs. The list is long but immediately I think of Brenda Fassie, Michael Jackson and Witney Houston. Most of celebrities leave a lie. They shine in public and cringe in private. They don’t live their lives. The thing with life is that what you desire is what one person has achieved. What you have achieved one person desires. For instance, your dream maybe to become rich. The rich have the money but do not have the good health that you have. We just need to be open with each other. Your moth is the gateway to your help. There is no point acquiring enormous wealth which you can’t enjoy whilst there are hundreds or even millions of people around the world who can help you. For instance, when I heard that the billionaire founder of Microsoft had died recently, aged 65 I thought, ‘If only he knew Jesus. There are many servants of God who could help him, in the US alone. Or he could have come to Africa to consult Prophet TB Joshua’. Even in Botswana he could have sought the help of Prophet Karabo Seelo in Matebeleng or his father Prophet Cedrick in Kopong. I know a lot of you may differ with me but for me these are some of the servants of God I hold in high esteem. I have seen them at work. And there are many others who are equally anointed. Everybody must seek what works for him/her.
On the whole Michelle’s book is the breath of fresh air that the whole world needs. We need leaders who are human. We need leaders who are role models. We need leaders who can give us hope and show us that problems are temporary: They can be solved. There is no need to seek refuge in drugs. ‘Building a marriage is hard work’, as Michelle says in the book. We need strong families. Strong families produce strong children and strong children build a strong nation. Strong nations give us a better world. And this is the plan of God. God bless Michelle!