The day she left I felt some kind of relief; the past four years had not been easy on her. That phone call is one I think I will never forget. How can I? It heralded the setting of her sun and the dawn of a new era in our lives! Soon after that relief, a pain such as I have never felt before made its way into my heart and threatened to live there till I booted it out by force.
We had walked this earth together since I was a baby on her back; she carried me, fed me, clothed me, bathed me and loved me. I’m sure I was not an easy baby at all! I must have been a loud mouthed, always talking kind of little girl. I was forever all over the place so much that my granddaddy called me ‘kashiri’ meaning little bird – non-stop chirping, continuously moving! Yet she would let me talk her ears off all the time. Sometimes I would call her just to hear her answer – a habit I carried into my adulthood, one that we would laugh about.
It used to look like she was really big when I was a kid. Only in 2008 did I realise she was really quite very tiny! It shocked me quite a bit that I could hug her and she would fit right under my chin. I would hug her and smile right over her head – every hug reminded me of just how little she was and how not long ago I used to think she was quite the opposite. Do not be fooled by the outside! This little lady was made of tough stuff; she was so strong we all leaned on her. All of us! All of us being her husband, 6 children (incl. her sister’s daughter that she adopted) and 9 grandchildren. The only thing that seemed to shake her much was us not going to see her for the holidays. I guess in short I can say she was our rock.
There never was an interaction without a lesson. My favourite lesson that I still carry around with me is money isn’t everything, as long as you are happy you will be alright. This woman also taught me the value of working hard and pushing hard to get what you want. I remember one time she told me to “vuk’uzenzele” meaning “get up and do it for yourself”. Those words stuck, I tried working hard and the rewards kept me going. I still work quite hard today, largely because of her encouragement and the look on her face when I told her of my achievements. That was just priceless! I lived for that look, for seeing the excitement registering – it was that ‘ding!’ that made me want to accomplish even more.
Contrary to popular belief, being a pastor’s granddaughter and a therefore a pastor’s wife’s granddaughter was one of the most amazing things that I have ever been. I remember getting ready for church, knocking at their bedroom door in my Sunday Best and being handed my offering; 5c coin which had a rabbit on it. I wonder if it was taken from my pocket money or if they just decided to give us the money. I grew to love that 5c coin till I graduated to the 20c one. If the beauty of a soul could be defined by the love one has for their creator, hers would be stunning! The woman loved God so much and tried her best to show us how to do that too. Sometimes we walked over 15km just to get to the church where she would be preaching at, when she could she would simply cycle the distance.
This is an ode to Nyakutumbura Nyakutumbura, Amai vaAmai vangu, Ambuya vangu, Gogo vangu, the one who loved me like my own mother did. The one whose love for all people, especially her grandchildren can never be replaced or even remodelled. She was a pillar of strength, my cornerstone, my guide, my yardstick. Rest in peace Gogo, you are simply an amazing woman and I hope to become half the woman that you were on this earth!
Signed . . . The proudest granddaughter ever!
The river flows. . .
It is 6.24pm on Valentine’s Day as I write this and it is ‘Show&Tell’ time all over the world. Chat platforms are going berserk with pictures of gifts flying from one person to the other. Others have just realised that they might not be the main chick and some are throwing secret fits (very secret) because they have not YET received gifts. The bottom line is that the Day of Love is almost over and this is the time when your friends are asking you what you got and you are returning the favour.
Blessed is the woman with the man who believes in THOUGHTFUL gift giving on Valentine’s Day. The man who knows that it is not the quantity or extravagance of the gift, but the meticulousness of the gift giving process. This man knows that it is not the which, but the how and why behind the gift giving that matters. Whether he gives you a R10 or $100 gift this man knows how to make it one that you will never ever forget because of the feeling you had the moment that you had it. He knows that the gift lights up certain parts of you and he remembers the light you emitted. It becomes a moment that neither one of you will forget.
Gift giving is quite complex because you are never sure what the other person would like and when they DO tell you what they would like then it takes the fun out of the process. When it is time to buy presents for whatever occasion, most people hit the panic button and go to pieces. Some people are always on point and a few of the lot rarely have an idea what to do. So when your man gives you a gift that makes you smile for WHATEVER reason you need to be very grateful.
I am one of those people who really do not expect much on Valentine’s Day because I really want to shield myself from a ‘Crisis of Expectation’. The other thing is that I really am quite difficult to please because I DO NOT WANT anything that is cliché. I want something that shows that the giver has thought about me and how I would relate to the present at that particular time. YES – at that particular time because I always change what I want according to what is happening around me.
It is my guess that most women are like me – they are tired of the usual chocolate, roses and dinner which paves the way for the “thank you sex” that the ‘gentleman’ is hoping to get. We really just want something that shows that the men in our lives have thought about who we are, what we do, what we like and what is happening in our lives at that point and time. That is all – as easy as 1, 2, 3!
If you didn’t get a present, didn’t give a much appreciated one, didn’t have a giver or a recipient, don’t you worry – there are 320 more days to go in this year. For those that successfully gave and got then you need to start showing and telling, just don’t rub in your receiving and acceptance! I’ll go first (I have been itching to Show&Tell since I got my beautiful gift!!!) … simply cannot stop grinning, he makes me want to burst with happiness – *usually!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
The river flows. . .
The day of my birth was a bittersweet – you wanted a boy, but you got me; a girl, not very multipurpose and therefore quite useless in your eyes. It was then that James Chimombe’s song took on a new meaning in your life, because “Zvamanga mapihwa makagashra.”(You had no choice, but to accept what you had received). “Makorokoto”(Congratulations) they said “Ndeedu tese” (Thank you) you said, half-heartedly, longing for them to stop coming to your house to wish you congratulations for this new baby GIRL – what you wanted was a BOY!
It is rather unfortunate that to you I am “just a girl” and so I am sentenced to life in waiting for Mr Right who ends up being Mr Right Now due to circumstances. I am more than the 7 or more cows that you see yourselves gaining by trading me to the man who will acquire me for the rest of my life. I have many ways to make you proud than to be sold out to a man who I should keep happy if I want to be happy.
Don’t look at me as a summation of my beautiful lady curves! Don’t look at me as a mere product of my biological makeup. I am more than my hips swaying gently from side to side. My arms do more than swing gracefully as I go about my daily tasks. My chest evolved from the flat boyishness to this very well rounded womanliness not to serve the explicit function of getting me the right suitor.
Your biggest fear is that I will embarrass you and not get married or even worse, that I will not even be marriage material. Should any of these happen then all your hard work would have gone down the drain and I will be a constant reminder of your failed attempt at parenting. In your books, sending me to university not only gives me a good education and social standing – it also increases the bride price. Sometimes you wonder if this university thing is even worth your money, especially because I will get married soon and you will not even enjoy much of my hard-earned cash which I will earn thanks to that very same university education that you strove for me to attain. So you spend your days in conversation between yourselves and with God about how I should get a man who can ‘take care of me’. We all know this really means who will not allow you to feel the financial gap should I be gone too soon.
Today is my rebirth, and I would like you to know that I am more than all these very important things! I am more than what my gender dictates I am. I am who I see myself as – as a daughter, sister, aunt, colleague, partner, wife, mentor and anything else under the sun that I want to be. This ME’s gestation period has been two decades longer than the nine months that it took for your disappointment to register. I hope that presenting this me to you will only bring you pleasure and unspeakable joy!
Let me introduce you to the new me, this me that you gave birth to, but who you did not see because her lady bits blinded you. It is my hope that you will see me as I see myself because I need your support as I nurture this lady into maturity.
I am waiting for Mr Right, but as I wait I make sure that he finds me right where I intend to be found. I aim to be a good, submissive wife who treats her husband with respect and love. I still look forward to my wedding and my marriage – both are constantly planned for in my mind. He will place value on me not based on the cows that he paid, but on the value I place on myself. I WILL be a source of pleasure for him, in as much as he will be mine. We will be equal, but different and I will know where our differences lie – I will know my position; using my shapely legs to stand right by his side as his helper. He will NOT acquire me, he will show his appreciation to you for bringing me to this world and you will accept his token of appreciation as just that – not a business transaction. I have a price tag – I AM PRICELESS.
I am not summarised as the aggregate of my physical body parts. My legs walk with purpose towards my purpose. My feet step in where I am seeing need, refusing to budge until that need is met. My thighs cradle my notebook at that informal community development meeting or whenever I have to write and write I always will. My knees hit the ground, not only to show respect to my husband; but for a prayer that will change this community. I will find a place to sit – a place where I sit by merit and to gain even more merit just as my male counterparts do. This belly, contrary to popular belief is where my strength stems from. My beautiful, enthralling breasts simply are proof that I am capable of bringing and sustaining a life just as I am. I am not fearfully and wonderfully made to be simply a sexual and manual individual, I AM A CONTRIBUTOR TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF MY COMMUNITIES.
My greatest fears are super failure and super success. I know that somewhere along the line, love and marriage will find me and I will be in the arms of that man who makes me happy and who sees me better than I see myself. You have taught me well the ways of a good wife, I will not let you down on that front. The who and when of marriage worry me sometimes, but they are no longer the constant preoccupation of my mind. Now I am more worried about the path I should take to put that “ding” in the world. The one “ding” that is proof of the forward movement of society, the one that will cause a persistent ripple in the stillness of this world. I AM A RIPPLE CAUSER & I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE FOR YOU.
Your little girl
The river flows. . .
It has been a really amazing whirlwind of a fortnight, I was quite busier and yet more fulfilled than on most days! Event hopping and even missing some events because of time or other such reason has been the order of the day. OK – for others this may not be event hopping, but for me it was, seeing as I was cooped up in an office for the past 3years and I had signed my life over to the company I worked for. Now I have free reign – well sort of, and I am making sure I use it wisely by NETWORKING and LEARNING, not from books and the internet only, but from others around me. I have met so many people and each meeting left me different in one way or the other.
I was part of the Hypercube Community Launch, the Super Hyper Dialogue and the Start-up Bus Launch. All these events marked the beginning of a new era, not only in the organisation or organisations involved, but in Zimbabwe. This change that we should all be anticipating will not only revolutionise the tech industry, but the ripple effect will be felt throughout all the industries. Hypercube not only wishes to act as a hub that brings together geeks and entrepreneurs, but it aims to get us all meeting, learning, working and innovating together. I really hope that my sisters out there and society will allow the said sisters to come to the Hub and see what lies in store for them there. Those with ears have heard, but those with understanding know that they should keep their eyes and ears on the Hypercube Hub – that is where all things Techno-mbwabwe (yes, that is a word!) will be born!
For the first time ever I went to the US Embassy Public Affairs Section, 7th floor, Gold Bridge, Eastgate. I am working on two workshops to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence and I had gone to attend a dialogue on the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women.After seeing The Embassy’s Facebook post saying that there was a dialogue at 3pm, I left the office in such a hurry. The dialogue was facilitated by Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau and I had to be there on pain of death. Even though I managed to get to the dialogue late I had an eye opening experience and once again, I met some brilliant people – particularly women. It was these women who showed me that the gender agenda is more than just Zulu Girl, Lorna, Sandra, Samantha, Girl Grandeur Bulawayo and a couple more individuals that I know who are moving mountains for sisters wherever they are.
Yesterday, I got wind of the screening of a documentary called ‘Girl Child’ which is a story about a Zimbabwean young woman called Glanis and was going to be followed by a discussion. This was to take place at the US Embassy and was starting at 2pm; I left work at 1504hrs and all the while praying that there would be enough of a discussion for me to feel like I took part. I sped into the elevator, pressed 7 and leapt out of the machine heading towards the door inwardly willing the guards to be quick with the routine leaving of the bag and mobile phone at the door. As soon as that was done the walk of shame due to lateness began. I pulled the door and walked right up to the front to take up a sit on the second row from the front – I had come for a discussion and that was what I would get – from the front. Yet again, this occasion extended my contacts list in a positive way and yes, I did take part in a very mind-jogging discussion in the most superb way if I must say so myself!
African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (Zimbabwe Chapter) was launching yesterday at the especially well regarded Meikles Hotel. I had gotten the news of the launch a week before and I fully intended to go, however there was one problem – it was raining. I was at Eastgate Mall which is literally attached to the Meikles Hotel, so I braved a couple of metres in rain just to get to the launch which was starting at 6.30pm GMT not BMT; or so I hoped. I was way ahead of the time – well, so it seemed because most of the people arrived a bit later (so it was 6.30pm BMT I guess). This was an event that I did not attend till it ended unlike the other three; I had to leave before the beginning of the middle or the end. Just before I left, Batsirai Chigama performed a poem with her signature style, the rhythm was just on point and I found myself swaying to the poem as if it was a song. Networking was quite limited because of the time that I left, but of course because I am on a roll I met a couple of new people. Attendance was worthwhile because AWEP is an organisation which I see as holding a lot of potential for me. The motivation of the women in this organisation was tangible. All of these women made me proud to be a Zimbabwean woman; from the Pan African Chairperson to the Zimbabwe Chapter Chairperson to the Board of Trustees and the members. If this is what Zimbabwean women are doing I am proud to be a Zimbabwean young woman. If they are working together to contribute towards and better improve the economy of our beautiful country I am extremely happy to be a young Zimbabwean woman in 2013. They are and so it stands that I am elated to be this born and bred Zimbo girl! #IamZIMBO!!!
We are all SUCH mine fields of information and we can easily receive and pass it on and by interacting with one another. Most people want to hold on to information, or to give it to someone who will fail to make proper use of it. The key to networking is to know yourself and the kind of person that you would like to be connected to. There are many high profile individuals that I would love to meet, however some of them really will just be an obstacle and meeting them would not be followed up by me or them. Do not go out of your way to meet people who you have nothing in common with, find people who ignite something in you and who you can have a constructive chat with. Don’t just meet people for the sake of meeting them. I would love to be here churning out the do’s and don’ts of networking – however, I have a list of contacts to have fun with plus a whole lot of experimenting to do! Till next time. . .
The river flows. . .
In secret I am pregnant and happy; the baby in my belly gives me joy. Each 8 week old flutter gives me such a delight as I have never known before. I wish I lived in secret while the world watched and thought they were with me. Then I would have my secret which housed my other clandestine matter. Alone with just her, my baby. Yes, it is her, it is she, and she is her; my baby girl. But then again, that is an underground matter.
She has a father who she knows, yet he lives in the great expanse that knows her not. “But he should know! He is her father!” I am walking towards him, silencing that loud-mouthed know-it-all in my head, or is it in my heart? I know he should know, but what then after? Will he go? Will he stay? Will I be alright either way? Well, I will let him stay, stay out there away from out secret!
The pads from last month have gone untouched. Thank God for locks on bedroom doors! Or else she would barge in on our secret! She would know – they Feelsure ‘cause they have Always had a Lifestyle or rather a life cycle! It seems to be getting to me – this baby brain! With half a reason to smile I know she hopes for the best for me. Still, my mother looks like she is in our secret. I can’t push her out – but I shan’t open that door! It is OUR secret!
She still plays house, bless her sweet soul. I won’t have long before I leave THIS house! I leave her a loony legacy, a crooked step ladder and grimy soul windows. Always with me, looking up to me, playing dress-up with my shoes; may she never walk a mile in these? I will surely see to covering these tracks, this path I have rated N for her. NO ENTRY; NO THROUGH ROAD; NO GO or simply just one resounding two letter word – NO! This path is not hers to explore! I cannot live with her having this secret! It is MY secret!
It’s one scandal after another in the hood! Pepukai has finally stood up for his penis’ actions, who thought he would? Especially after putting up a fight that put all those romps to shame! Boldly sashaying as if the world was her catwalk, Viola parades her baby bump! She wonders as do we all – whose baby is that? Nody waddles down the street; leaving behind a string of wagging tongues “only 19, very bright, paternity denied . . .” they go on. Whispers of loss of blood as the ambulance blares its siren and rolls down the road.
“It was a coat hanger!”
“No – it was the brown pill”
“I’m telling you, it was the alcohol and the really hot tub bath!”
“But why not cross the border? In SA it is legal!”
But whatever it is, it doesn’t matter because it did the job. She will be going to hospital, her body scrambling for life before she goes to jail and her brain wills death to pay her a visit because the one who put her here is nowhere to be found. We are deep in the throes of gossip, yet I, a normally willing contributor smile and nod vacantly. Not yet baby, we shan’t tell the world yet!
My uniform still looks good on me – cream blazer and all! It’s athletics season – I need an all year doctor’s note. I could have it BUT I cannot! Classes are interrupted by gagging and reflex with me scrambling for the nearest toilet. Today I am handed a scholarship application form. She truly thinks I can fill it in, but to me the difference is the same – I am sentenced to life. I forgive her, she knows not our secret!
Glassy eyed I sit through the agonisingly long service, is it 10am yet? I cannot go to the altar and sing, it surely is written all over me! They have experienced testing kits in their eyes. One X-Ray omitting look and my secret will be known to all. Being the purely untouched apple of my parents’ eyes makes this imperfectly perfect secret even harder to wrap. Like vultures waiting for the hyena to finish eating so they can land, these ladies will be in there like swimwear as soon as it is out. Let me guard my secret & my parents’ hearts a while longer.
I was young and in love, I still am young and in some form of love. My heart has expanded; I love her too – ferociously! I have so much to lose; he has nothing at all to lose. I had so much to gain, is it still accessible? Maybe he can start negotiations before I show. What option do we have? He said he would, those many days and nights ago. He would clothe me in respect if anything were to happen and happen it has! He said he would be there; just as he was after he was in and out. It was great and now I have an even greater secret. Shall I open the door and let him in on it? IT IS OUR SECRET!