As part of the 2019–2020 Fellows’ Presentation Series at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Neal Hovelmeier RI ’20 shares his insights about how people living on the margins of society struggle to use their voices against the forces that seek to silence them. The story of his coming out, a decision that made him a target of public outcry—including death threats—and forced him to resign from his job at a top Zimbabwean school, starts on a sweltering Thursday morning in September 2018. “The city was awash with the pale indigo of the jacaranda trees,” he says. “And there's an old proverb, which says that jacaranda time is madness time.”
Hovelmeier is a Zimbabwe-based writer, educator, and academic who writes fiction under the pseudonym Ian Holding. He is the 2019–2020 Robert G. James Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.