My mother knew I was obsessed with the television show Knight Rider–its a show with a talking car, what little kid wouldn’t—and so on some days, on our way home, she would put me in her lap as we turned into our street, let go of the steering wheel, and let the car glide to our driveway.
She would then to turn to me and say, “Hona, mota irikuzvidrivha!” Translation: look, the car is driving itself.
That was 1985, and the earliest childhood memory I have with my mother. I was 3 years old, and Zimbabwe was just 5. And as I grew older, shows like Knight Rider, A-Team, and Airwolf, much like the former freedom fighters that now governed over an independent Zimbabwe, introduced me to a world of heroes, both fictional and living: heroes that taught me that the fight for fairness and against injustice can only be won when some of us make a conscious effort to push back.
But unlike the fictional world, the heroes in the real one mutated into the villains: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely—they weren’t immune. They became the very manifestation of what they had fought to purge: greed, corruption, oppression, intolerance and racism.
But unlike Zimbabwe’s heroes-turned-villain and the many foes the world’s good and kind battle everyday, KITT and Michael never failed me: they were more than just a cool talking car and a dude in an awesome leather jacket. Through every rerun, and even the attempted reboots without them, their message and theme was always consistent: be resourceful, fight the good fight to the best of your ability, and never waiver.
We underestimate the power of pop culture (music, film etc.) to shape and influence who we are and how we see the world. And if I’m a prime example of this influence, then I can say without a doubt that shows like Knight Rider or songs like Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up impacted me at different moments in my life; moments in pop culture that contributed in bringing out the activist within me.
Now I only wish I could afford a Tesla, because that’s the closest thing I’ll ever own capable of doing half of what KITT could.
Kwapi Vengesayi is an Amazon bestselling author whose books explore captivating musings and thought-provoking conversations about love, relationships, life and our human experience. You can find his book on Amazon. You can also follow him on Twitter @kwapiv or subscribe to his blog at kwapiv.com