“My goal was and will always be to be part of everything that happens around me.”
It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Energy Maburutse. Energy has been an integral member of the MCN community for over two years - as an MCN Ambassador, part of the MCC14 intern team, a Keynote Speaker at both MCC14 and MCC15, Partnerships Associate at our Global Headquarters, and as an incredible advocate for our community at large.
Originally from the Honde Valley in Zimbabwe, Energy was perhaps the first disabled student from that country to attend university in the United States. In 2011 he moved to Boca Raton, Florida, to attend Lynn University - a Millennium Campuses,- where he became involved in the planning of the 6th Annual Millennium Campus Conference to be hosted there. He quickly emerged as one of our strongest allies and advocates.
During the Friday Keynote at the 2014 conference, Energy shared some of his incredible life story: his mother’s strength and love which led him at age 7 to a school for children with disabilities in Zimbabwe, where he became part of a band that toured the world and was featured in an Oscar-winning documentary film, a serendipitous encounter that led to his enrolling at Lynn University. Yet he was careful to challenge the audience to look beyond the specificity of his story.
“To me luck is when opportunity meets one's desire to be successful. I am here today because of a number of reasons: My hard work towards achieving the pending desire inside me. The chance to have people who pushed me to reach for the skies. And lastly, I am smart and talented. But am I the only individual with such talents around the world? There are billions of individuals out there who are talented and way smarter than me but do not have the luck to have people who pushed them and believed in them . . . What if I was that individual with talent but without the amazing mother to push me? And what if we did not depend on random people stepping into our lives and bringing about change? What if we lived a life where we did not depend on luck? . . . Let's start thinking of a world where opportunities such as the ones which I am enjoying today were provided across the globe.”
At the 7th Annual Millennium Conference at the United Nations in New York City, Energy spoke more broadly about the challenges of foreign aid, encouraging Delegates to think more deeply about what it means to truly “help”.
“The aid we seek to give should be the kind of aid that will develop into a fruit. Many of the international places we look to help are in need of more than immediate aid. They need moral support, education, and the guidance to harness their resources so as to not only help with immediate issues, but also to develop a generation of people who have the resources to help themselves in the future. . . . this is what I consider fruitful aid, and learning from each other is one of the most effective ways to foster real, lasting changes in the population. So tonight I will leave you with a few questions: What is it that we can do to alter this dependence that the receiver has for the giver? And is your aid the type of aid meant to be a seed that can develop into a fruit and be implemented in the future, or is it just a fruit that must be eaten now?”
For Energy, the desire to share his story was integrally connected to a desire to spark change for others. His incredible belief in the power of young people, vision to advance the rights of people with disabilities around the world, and the vivacity and warmth he brought to every interaction were the seeds he planted to “develop a generation of people who have the resources to help themselves in the future” and create “real, lasting change.”
We are honored to have had Energy in our community.
Energy in the media:
- A Dream to Succeed, Video
- Yes I Can by Energy Maburutse - Blog Post on Don't Hide it, Flaunt it.
- "My Story", Energy Maburutse, MCC14 Team
- For a Disabled African Doors Swinging open, New York Times, 2011
- Energy Maburutse, Video
“Energy Maburutse taught me so much about life. I knew him as both a colleague and as a friend. We smiled, laughed, made jokes, talked about relationships, watched movies. We made big strides forward in advancing the MCN - this movement he believed in so deeply. His belief motivated me to dig deeper. We also shared serious conversations about our lives and the work we were passionate about to shape the world around us - now and 20 years from now. Everyone will remember him for his smile, laugh, and the care he showed others. I know that Energy reached so many people - and I reflect on his stories, his work and how he engaged our generation to drive our shared work forward for the rest of my life.”
-Sam Vaghar, MCN Executive Director
“Energy was both deeply inspired by what life had to offer and inspiring to everyone around him for his humor, belief in the best in people, and his strong sense of purpose in making the world a better place. He had this remarkable ability to connect with new people and make you smile. Energy will be missed for a very long time indeed." - Abigail Kelble, MCN Managing Director
“When I first encountered Energy, I was struck by how strongly and authentically he connected with each individual he met. His smile lit up the room, and his soul seemed to shine. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know him over time, to experience his kindness, humor, generosity, and character, and to glimpse his vision for a better world. I have no doubt that I and everyone he encountered will carry a bit of that spark as we seek to achieve it.” -- Raina Fox, MCN Programs Manager
"Energy brought joy through humor in every conversation. As a long-time member of the MCN family, he shared a devotion to our mission unlike any other. I am grateful for being one of the many lucky individuals who had the pleasure of knowing Energy." - Juleen Wong, Campaigns Coordinator
“From the day that I met Energy, he was so full of life, passion, joy, and well, Energy. I could tell that he was a very special person, and I am honored that I had the opportunity to work with him through MCN. In his short life, he created a lasting impact to all those who knew him. He will forever be remembered as a young man with so much heart and potential. May he rest in peace, and his spirit not be forgotten.” - Beth He, former MCN Team Member
“I remember Energy as really being a man full of excitement and joy. Throughout MCC15 I always saw him smiling and interacting with the delegates.”
- Thais Jardim, former MCN Team Member
"When I first me Energy, he had this incredible presence; he embodied so much passion and dedication to working with youth and helping them discover their own potential. He was, to me, an inspiration."
-Zachary Thomas, former MCN Team Member
We encourage you to join your memories, appreciations, and thoughts with ours below.