Because the Internet never forgets – mud sticks so easily


 

An incident on Twitter inspired this reflective blog on how easy it is smear, slander and besmirch online.

And what is more damaging is not that mud is so easily slung but that it so easily sticks because – the Internet never forgets.

I write this blog for two reasons.

Firstly because the Internet never forgets, I prefer that the narrative of my life is not overshadowed by the malice of others and the vile ill-will from which slander manifests.

Secondly, because I have learned over the years that when I write no one can shut me up.

In writing about this incident, I will no doubt place added scrutiny upon the malicious slurs uttered against me but it is not my nature to let things go un-critiqued.

No doubt, this blog and that incident will be referenced in future online conversations by those trying to shame me into silence.

They can try. But that’s all they can do.

I have always insisted that my silence is a gift I will never bestow upon any one who seeks to gag, label, silence or malign me.

It all began with a tweet by a gentleman I follow and admire greatly.

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This tweet resonated with me because it is so easy to discredit genuine narratives when inaccurate content (text, image or video) is peddled to bolster legitimate grievances.

Something vital is taken away when the truth is forced to lean upon a lie…. when true events are framed and conveyed in accompaniment with unrelated images.

Something vital is taken away.

Anyway, @TrendsZim defended itself by pointing out that using file photos is common practice.

Which is a fair point.

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But using captions with file photos is equally standard practice.

In tongue-in-cheek response to @TrendsZim, I pointed out that the necessity of captions was to ensure that file photos do not end up misleading audiences and misrepresenting events.

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In an attempt to deflect from the issue of #Captions, @TrendsZim responded by bringing up my employer – as many are wont to do when they want to gag me.

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I was not going to be fazed by such an obvious tactic. Labels are an easy weapon and I have been labelled many things in my time – it is the price one pays for being contrarian in Zimbabwe’s fashionably polarised and sharply bifurcated public discourse.

In a blog titled CIOs come in all shapes, sizes, I discuss this experience of being labelled at great length.

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So. I ignored the reference to my employer and pointed out that it had nothing to do with the issue of #Captions that was the subject of the debate.

So @TrendsZim dug deep into its bag of easy weaponry – salacious, slanderous slurs.

The issue was no longer about my employer.

But about my private parts and the role they supposedly played in advancing my career.

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I was rather surprised that some of the people I get along with actually retweeted this

Now. There is nothing that so easily discredits a woman, than the claim or suggestion that she is ‘loose’ or a ‘hoe’.

Or (as in the present case) that the woman got to the top by lying on her back.

It is a potent weapon – this power to casually assign whoredom, and many wield it with reckless abandon.

And many a woman, has fallen victim to it and never recovered from it.

Luckily, I happen to come from very tough stock. So I am not easily broken.

But I am not oblivious to the power of perception and the devaluing of one’s brand, the soiling of one’s name and the impugning of one’s integrity.

The Internet never forgets.

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And of course, this had everything to with #Captions

I suppose, having falsely broadcasted that I am a whore, the person behind the @TrendsZim handle felt they had discovered my underbelly and could sink their teeth in and finish me off by casting aspersions on my educational pursuit and the funding of the same.

We will expose you for the filth that you are – such gleeful, boastful and hubristic gloating.

Pause for a moment.

How did we get from #Captions to labelling to ascribing whoredom and to the assignation of filth?

The answer is simply that mud is easy to fling online.

But it is also easy to fling offline.

The only difference is – the Internet never forgets and so, mud sticks so easily.

 

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It sticks so easily, that the likes of @mbindwane will not resist the urge to react – awu! indeed.

And as easily as that, people who do not know you – think they do know you or of you.

Of course. The issue is not me at all.

The issue (in case you got lost in all the deflection and digression) is about using #Captions with images so that narratives (online and offline) can be authentically told.

*I deleted my tweeted responses in favour of encapsulating my response into this blog, 140 characters is so limiting*

Several people sent me Direct Messages on Twitter, to privately counsel me to ignore and not entertain or respond to the vitriol.

But I had to. It is not the first time I have been on the receiving end of vitriol and it will not be the last time.

I will remain the contrarian that I am and I will, no doubt, attract backlash from those who hate being critiqued.

Anyway. If you forget everything else I may have shared in this post. Please remember what the topic was:

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In case this post goes viral (one never knows, lol) – I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to read some of my work:

My thoughts on Honouring Zimbabwe’s Freedom Fighters

My book (co-authored with @MakiL) titled We The People: July 31 – Our Version of Events

And my column on varied topics related to #DigitalDialogue

Lastly, I am glad the likes of @RangaMberi always provoke debate on topical issues such as #captioning images and truthfully #capturing narratives online. Social media so easily spreads falsehoods to the detriment of us all.

 

May your courage not fail you (for Collin’s daughter)


It’s been going on for months.

The torment of your fear-filled heart. And we’ve talked about it via Whatsapp chats but I haven’t really been paying attention. For this I am sorry.

I stayed up tonight to pay attention to your pain and to tell you that I understand. It is a frightening path upon which you tread – tread lightly dear friend.

Standing at the forked road between going forward with this man you pledged to spend your life with or moving on without him towards a destination where uncertainty is the only thing certain.

I am sorry I have not been paying attention.

Sometimes when you know that the heart heals, you are quick to dismiss the process of pain that comes with the healing. That’s what I have been doing.

Listening to you and knowing your heart will heal and not paying attention to the pain you feel in the here and now.

I want to give you answers. To assure you and give you guarantees but there are none.

There are no guarantees, nothing to hold us up when we venture into the unknown except our own courage and grit and will to live.

May your courage not fail you my friend. May your will to live not waver. It hurts I know and some days will be worse than others.

Osho - Courage Love Affair

And you will look in the mirror sometimes and wonder who that stranger is that’s staring back at you.

Life doesn’t always pan out the way we hope it will. Certainly not with intimate relationships.

I long to see you laugh again, to watch you throw your head back in mirth. I want you to find joy again.

You are so battered and so bruised and the laughter in you has since died away. It is frightening to see the hollowness in you and the shell you have become.

Sometimes when love goes wrong it takes so much out of us. It scoops out all the hope we hold and leaves us empty.

Come back to me. To us. To who you were before this love made you give until you believed you had nothing and were nothing without him.

You want to hold on because it is so much safer to keep holding on than to let go when you don’t know where you’ll land. But may your courage not fail you dear friend.

Because all we are is the sum total of all we have had the courage to become.

I have learned that there is no reward for breaking my own heart to spare the hearts of others.

There shall be casualties, make no mistake about this.

There shall be a price to be paid. Be willing to foot the bill because losing a lover always leaves a scar long after they cease to matter.

You will miss him on some nights and thoughts of him will pop up at random in the middle of the day and a pang of ‘something’ will hit your heart. A pang of regret, of sadness, of nostalgia and even residual heartache.

Be willing to have it so. Accept it and let your heart heal as it sees fit.

You will learn to live without him.

Because our very existence consists of things we have learned, things we have unlearned and things we have had to re-learn.

You will learn to ignore the urge to call him with good news and suppress the need to share your joys with him.

You will learn to resist the desire to reach out to him for comfort when you have bad news and want his strength to hold you up. You will learn to not need him.

And in time you will forget him for hours and eventually you will forget him for days upon end.

And it will surprise you, even sadden you… that someone who was once the center of your universe can eventually cease to matter.

In time you will be free of him. Free of your heart’s longing for him and free of your soul’s grief over how things ended.

May your courage not fail you my friend.

We cannot make people love us and indeed, they too, do not have the power to command their hearts to love us.

And similarly, we cannot force ourselves to love or compel our hearts to open up when there’s no inclination to do so.

Make peace with it. Heal. Laugh. Have hope. Live as you believe. And have courage Collin’s daughter.

I love you always.

The frightening ‘normalcy’ of domestic violence


One of the funniest stories my mother ever shared with me was a story about violence.

Actually there were two – one is just less funny owing to the horror I still feel when I imagine how it could have all turned out.

My mother’s side of the family had some colorful characters, chiefly my maternal uncle papeNever (the father of Never) and my maternal aunt mmeDubekile (the mother of Dubekile) who were both ex-combatants and had a penchant for regarding physical violence as the best conflict resolution strategy.

The first story my mother told me was of an incident that occurred when I was three days old.

My mother said that when I was three days old I was nearly killed by my uncle papeNever (her big brother) who had drunkenly and wildly swung an axe on the bed I had been laid on.

My uncle papeNever had burst into the hut my mother was resting in wielding an axe in hot pursuit of his wife, my aunt mmeNever (the mother of Never) over an unspecified dispute.

But generally, papeNever didn’t let not having a good reason get in the way of giving his wife a good beating – especially when he had imbibed.
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On that day, my mother had arrived from Beitbridge hospital with three-day old me – her first and newborn baby – exhausted from the rigors of labor, fatigued from the journey by bus from Beitbridge town which was concluded by an arduous trip in a donkey-drawn scotch cart that had to negotiate its way over and around bumps, ravines and crevices to get to her parents’ homestead in the hinterlands of Tshapfutshe.

And on that same day, my aunt mmeNever had been tasked with preparing a hut for my mum and she had taken to the task with much gusto seeing as she and my mum were very close – sweeping away the cobwebs on the thatched roof, applying a new layer of cow dung to polish the mud floor and making herringbone, chevron and checkered patterns as decoration.

She had attacked the mud walls with a stone to smoothen the inner wall surface and also used rich red, grey and white soils to paint the outer walls of the mud hut which she decorated with precise drawings of flowers on one side and shapes inspired from a deck of cards like the diamond, the heart and the ace of spades on the other.

I know all this because my mother had described it – she approved very much of cleanliness and was highly particular about the details of maintaining a presentable hut.

My aunt mmeNever had apparently done a sterling job on that day.

Everyone was excited about me, perhaps they were more excited about Virginia (my mum) the spoilt last born in the family, becoming a mother.

My uncle papeNever had missed my mother’s arrival as he had gone drinking – presumably.

Which is why when he had chased after his wife, all the way from his own homestead, yelling while she screamed – both of them failing to enjoy the beautiful orange hues of a setting sun in the horizon – my uncle had not known that mmeNever’s intended destination was the hut at the far end of my grandparent’s compound where my mother was resting.

He had chased after her, following blindly with the singular intent of catching up with her and teaching her some manners.

My aunt mmeNever had rushed into the hut and immediately dived under the bed which rested on bricks to elevate it (it made sweeping much easier) without offering any explanation to my mother who had been sleeping and oblivious to all the commotion.

Before my mother could gather her wits, my uncle papeNever, who had been about to catch up with his wife had also burst into the hut seconds later swinging his axe wildly – more for show than with any intent to actually strike his wife.

He was like that my uncle papeNever – always seeking attention by abusing his wife whom he knew everyone adored then waiting to be restrained and pleaded with and begged to ‘please calm down and stop doing this’.

On that day however, my uncle papeNever had not known several things.

He had not known that my mother was back from the hospital, he had not known that I was on the bed and that the bed had been changed from its usual position during mmeNever’s frantic spring cleaning so when he swung wildly, he tripped over one of the suitcases on the floor and his axe arced and impaled a shawl I had been wrapped in on the side of the bed where I had been laid.

My mother had moved me earlier to breastfeed me and had fallen asleep and had not laid me back on that shawl.

My mother told me that she had screamed. Screamed at her big brother.

Screamed for my grandparents to come and see, see papeNever try and kill her baby.

And my mother’s screaming mingled with mmeNever’s own screams for help whilst I obligingly joined this chorus with my own cries.

My uncle papeNever had not seen me yet and upon realizing who was in the hut he had tried to reach out and hold me, to quiet me down and meet his new niece but my mother would have none of it, screaming that he must get out.

It was my aunt mmeDubekile, my mother’s big sister, who had dragged my uncle papeNever out of the hut and then proceeded to viciously pummel him with fists, kicks and all manner of ex-combatant fighting moves until my grandmother had cried out to say she would not have it… she would not have anyone try to kill her son before her very eyes.

I was a newborn when this happened but my mother told me of it with such vividness that sometimes it feels like I remember the violence through her narration and experience of it.

The other story my mother told me, I cannot get into it in this post. Maybe next time.

I was reminded of this story some days ago when I read of a man that killed his 10 day old baby whilst trying to assault his wife.

It frightens me that the more such stories appear in the media, the less outrage and action they provoke.

I think that no matter how much we witness these incidents or read about them – we must never regard them as normal or as an unchanging and unchangeable aspect of life as we know it.

Perhaps we tend to think of domestic violence in terms of what ‘other’ people are doing and never in terms of our own actions, attitudes and choices.

It frightens me that violence against women, against children, against men should become a normative way of life as reflected in our media.

And I am frightened by our collective nonchalance because in many ways, I think the biggest challenge in fighting gender based and domestic violence is the perception that violence is not only normal but inevitable in our nation’s homes.

p.s: apparently my father hadn’t even had a chance to see me when this incident occurred as he was away on business in Bulawayo… so you can imagine how much ‘drama’ (I am understating it) it would have caused if any harm had befallen me

May I live as I believe


I woke up to a distant memory.

19 years ago an 11 year old staged a mutiny, rebelled against ritual and stood her ground against custom…. *sigh*

I’m making it sound more dramatic than it actually was.

Let me start again.

When I was young I went to boarding school for the better part of my Primary education and the family ritual was that we had to spend one holiday of each calendar year visiting my mother’s side of the family in Tshapfutshe and Tshaswingo, places that were remote and snuggled very close to South Africa.

Each year. Religiously. Without fail. Non-negotiably. We were packed into the car by my mother and transported to my maternal relatives.

I loved my mother’s side of the family but I did not like the discomfort of staying with them.

I adored my maternal grandparents but I couldn’t stand the fact that there was rarely a book to read and I would resort to picking up random scraps of paper in despair just to quench my thirst for the written word.

And my mother’s side of the family spoilt us rotten whenever they got the chance.

Goats slaughtered. Chickens and sheep too.

My maternal uncles would fall over each other parading their prized cattle before my grandmother insisting theirs was the fatter option to slaughter for the new arrivals who graced them one holiday per year.

My mother’s side of the family was full of fun, side-splitting family drama and one was guaranteed days of endless laughter, adventure and ‘royal treatment’.

But that holiday. When I was in Grade 6, I didn’t want to go.

I didn’t have a special reason for not wanting to go – I just didn’t want to go anywhere.

I wanted to stay at home in rural Siyoka, by the Makhado highway, close to the Jopembe hills and about 20 kilometres from Mazunga and approximately 80 kilometres before Beitbridge town.

This was home. It was where I wanted to be. I did not want to be anywhere else.

I was rather untactful in broaching the subject with my mother (something that the 30 year old me can now admit with the requisite winces and cringes).

I had interrupted my mother in the stream of her enthused speech about the pending holiday plans for Tshapfutshe… the clothes that needed to be packed, the date of departure and the estimated day of return as well as the things we could look forward to.

I had interrupted my mother midstream to mumble, “But I don’t want to go”.

Now I have to make something else clear.

These trips to my mother’s side of the family where ritualistic in more than one sense.

They were a ritual because we always went.

One holiday out of each calendar year we would be packed off.

But these trips also represented a more veiled struggle on the part of my mother who would begin negotiating with my father long before the holidays in order to get ‘clearance’ to ship us off.

And whenever we actually made the trips, it represented an immense triumph for my mother – she would have bargained her way into making the trips a reality and keep her family from complaining of how little they saw of us.

My father was stingy with us.

Not in a mean way. Just in a proprietorial ‘these-are-my-precious-kids-and-I-cant-really-trust-anyone-to-take-better-care-of-them sort of way.

It must have been annoying to all our relatives – both maternal and paternal – who wanted to have us over but had to contend with his ‘mother bear’ attitude.

Guarantees had to be made.

Guarantees that we would be safe while we were away. That someone would keep an eye on us at all times and that my father would be immediately informed if anything went wrong.

To understand this quirky behavior that my father exhibited you can read my blog on him titled “My Father – a man of emotions”.

Back to my mother.

So here I was. All 11 years of me. Interrupting my mother’s excited torrent of speech to say, “But I don’t want to go”.

She stopped and looked at me, “What did you say, Delta?”

And I looked at her and repeated a bit firmly, “I said I don’t want to go”.

I am not sure but I must have worn my expression.

My expression that said you can beat me up right now but I will keep saying exactly what I am saying and you can pack me up kicking and screaming to this holiday you’ve planned but I will keep reminding you that I said I don’t want to go.

The others were quiet. Looking at me like I was a troublemaker.

Looking at me like I would get all of them in trouble too.

My mother was Sotho, very light, with a light peppering of hair on a mole on her chin that was made more discernible by her light complexion and she had a fierce temper.

My mother’s anger was like spontaneous combustion when you tripped her up. Instantaneous. Lethal. And unbridled.

Her temper was made more fearsome by the fact that she was – on the surface of it – very accommodating, easy-going and warm until you got on her wrong side.

So here I was, 11 year old me saying I didn’t want to go and spend the holiday with her side of the family after all the trouble she had gone to with behind-the-scenes negotiations to make this trip happen.

I hadn’t meant to blurt it out.

But it slipped out. As a mumble. An ill-timed mumble that unfortunately coincided with her catching a breath in mid-speech.

I had said it and now I did not want to swallow it. Because I meant it.

And because the others were watching me.

And because I knew if she hit me I could take it.

And also because I had a niggling suspicion that if she hit me, my father would not be pleased that my mother was resorting to beatings just to get me to go on holiday.

My father would probably have said (rather gleefully and triumphantly I imagine) something like, “Leave her alone, if she doesn’t want to go let her stay”.

In any event that’s not how it went down.

Instead my mother gave me a penetrating stare as if to weigh the level of my determination by the look on my face.

Then she completely surprised me by saying, “Fine. If you don’t want to go, you are not going.”

Then she turned to face the others and kept talking, more enthusiastically now.

Painting vivid pictures of all the fun those who were going would have – placing emphasis on those who were going.

The conversation took a rather sour turn from there.

My mother spoke of how those who were going would naturally have to go into Beitbridge town and get new clothes.

Those who were going would naturally be gifted with chickens which they had permission to come back with and add to their existing flock.

Those who were going might even see my SA-based maternal uncles who would be coming down for Easter with lots of goodies just for them.

In fact, said my mother, those who were going should prepare a list of what goodies they wanted from South Africa so she would make sure that they were delivered.

And so it went. The subtle emotional blackmail. But I stood my ground.

Yes, it would have been nice to have all the benefits of going without actually having to go but I just wanted to stay home.

And so I stayed. And they left me. All of them. A whole holiday at the homestead by myself with no one except the help.

No one to play with. No one to talk to. Nothing.

That was when I wrote these lines of what was meant to be a poem;

We choose to stay when we can go
And sometimes we choose to go when we can stay
So I guess life is about choosing

I think I may have written a lot more than that but it escapes me now. Anyway.

That incident taught me something. The power of choosing.

If I could choose now, I would go.

I would go to make my mother happy had I known I would have her for such a short time in my life.

But what’s done is done.

I am very big on choices and on owning the consequences of those choices.

I have stayed in bad places because I did not have the courage to admit to myself that I had put myself in a bad situation.

And let me tell you something. Sometimes people are places.

They are places we create in our lives and stick to even when they’re so clearly wrong for us.

I have found that knowing I have the choice to go is what makes staying a delight.

There are places (read people) that I will never leave because they matter to me.

But then there are places (read people) I have come across and walked past.

Regardless of what others may have thought, regardless of what they will think and regardless of all the ‘fun’ they will have on their journey – I will always chart my own path.

I will go where I want to go.

I will love who I want to love.

I will leave whomever I want to leave (as others will choose to leave me too at one point or another).

I will be who I want to be.I will not apologize for this.

I will always be the girl who stays when others go or the one who goes when others stay for no other reason than that it is my choice.

As I turn 30, I remind myself to not inconvenience myself just to fall into the plans of others. I remind myself to live as I believe.

I am what I am.

Of all the things my mother got right (and there are many) - my brother Dalton is the best of them!

Of all the things my mother got right (and there are many) – my brother Dalton is the best of them!

Gratitude Memoirs #2: Here’s to life! (Guest Blog)


Written by Cheryl Khuphe
If someone at exactly this time last year had told me that I would spend my next birthday in Harare, I would have looked at them, furrowed my brows and told them to crawl back into whichever hole they came from.

That’s how mad the thought would have made me.

While I am definitely not attracted to easy – I like comfortable.

I was so comfortable in Bulawayo even high water would have cascaded with me to another part of Bulawayo.

...it was a tough 2013; but I learned courage

…it was a tough 2013; but I learned courage


Simply put I was not moving!

Until life happened. 3 days after my birthday, my work life changed. It felt like everything, I had ever known or held dear was dead.

In one day, I lost my innocence and realised that life could change in the blink of an eye, but sometimes even a blink is too long a wait.

In two days the faces in the office changed.

So there I was looking for my sanity, grappling at anything that would give meaning to whatever I was feeling, it was as if I were carrying a torchlight looking for a needle in the dark.

As I turn 26, young to some and old to some, I now know that sometimes we have to be uncomfortable to make life changing decisions.

Sometimes the rug needs to be pulled from under our feet for us to realise we were standing on a thin sheet of ice the whole time.

So it was during that week that I had a light bulb moment.

I realised that I could be comfortable but unhappy.

Does this mean happiness is in far off lands, God forbid!

Happiness is the state of your heart anywhere and anytime.

But my heart wasn’t really pumping in earnest; it was just pumping so that I could exist.

I had no new dreams and was simply immune to the ambition bug.

With no child, no love life, no business, no school I decided to grab life by the horns and move to Harare.

Of course I had to get a job first to make the move. I wonder how I must have looked like, checking in to the bus.

Multitudes of bags, teary eyed and continuously giving long hugs to my mother and brother but oh well, it’s not every day you realise I am leaving everything I know to everything I don’t know.

...I woke up one day and bade farewell to my mum, aunt and sisters...leaving everything familiar to face the unknown

…I woke up one day and bade farewell to my mum, aunt and sisters…leaving everything familiar to face the unknown


Months later, while I don’t have good days all the time, I don’t regret moving. Not because everyone says Harare will give me new opportunities but simply because I took the opportunity.

Simply because I folded item after item of clothing, neatly packed it, loaded my suitcases and presented myself to the City Link bus on a Saturday morning at 7.30am.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I know whatever challenges, obstacles and triumphs come my way, I will not shy away from the challenge.

I don’t have it all figured out but if I did then I wouldn’t need to wake up every morning.

I realise that I can’t have made the move, endured the uncertainty and made it through each day without the love and support of my family and my friends.

Since this is women’s month I will roll out the thank yous to the females that have been especially instrumental in the last 8 months.

I am a little apprehensive to do this in case I miss any names but it’s my birthday, forgive me!

Thanks to my mom (who loved me a whole 9 months before I took my first breath), my aunts (Sikhumbulani Mangena, Thabani Siziba, Thobekile Siziba, Medury Siziba, Noma Mangena, Leticia Siso) who never go a week without checking on me.

To my granny who keeps me grounded, my youngens Charlotte Khuphe, Charmaine Mhlophe, Shirley Khumbula and Tabita Dube who make me smile always and to my cousins Cindy Siso, Mpume Siso, Sandra Ndiweni, Khule Siso, one of these days we should all be in a room together mncwaaah.

For my older sisters from other mothers Mucha Ncube, Nhla and my mentors: Lucy Gimane and Karen Kelley who believe in me.

...my amazing mentor - Karen Kelly - thank you for believing in me!

…my amazing mentor – Karen Kelley – thank you for believing in me!


And to my gals: Chele Sidambe, Snqoe Ndlovu, Sile Mathe, Gracious Ndlovu Gumbo, Petronella Nyathi, Nothando Ndlovu, Buhle Maphosa, Nozie Mlalazi, Rorisang Tlou, Wendy Mutema, Snokuthaba Ndebele (lol Snowy), Claire Jones (haha), Sibongiseni Mthwazi, Tapiwa Malaba Ncube – I might be blowing my own horn but I know you will never think twice about picking up my calls.

You have been there through this challenging phase of my life.

While I didn’t really state it outright – my 25th was the hardest year I have ever had to endure!

Thank you God, for all these lovely ladies, in blessing – bless them indeed!

And note to self: have faith, live, laugh, be kind and simply be!

Gratitude Memoirs #1: For Confidence ‘Kisha’ Mshakarara, with gratitude


She stood by the doorway of the bedroom that we had dubbed the ‘girls’ room’ and spoke in measured tones, expelling each word carefully as if it was important to get the words out in their right order.

There was uncharacteristic hesitation in her speech, as though she knew these were the right words to say but that saying them was the wrong thing to do.

She sounded conflicted but resolved.

“I am going into town right now and when I come back, I want to find you gone. Take your pregnancy to its owner. I don’t want to see you in this house again. Is that clear?”

It’s been too long for me to remember my exact response to that but I am sure I said something like “Alright” or “Yes, I will” or “Okay”… I don’t know.

Perhaps I said nothing.

Perhaps I was too shocked and numbed at that point to think of an appropriate response to this woman who had been all but surrogate mother to me for the six years I lived under her roof.

Some memories lie buried deep under layers of greater events, more imposing struggles and instances of excruciating suffering which dwarf everything else that preceded them.

So my recollection of these particular events is neither sharp nor precise, merely a hazy outline of what I remember to have happened and now, after so many years, what remains are broad stroke reminiscence of pains that have long ceased to matter.

What I remember is that it was 12 July, a Monday in the year 2004 – a solid decade ago and so much has happened in my life since then as to render these events relatively mild in magnitude but not in consequence.

I was three and a half months pregnant and had been back home for just three days on semester break after writing my first year examinations at the University of Zimbabwe where I was student.

The circumstances under which I wrote those exams require a whole blog to outline, suffice to say that, I had been hit by a car along Harare’s Rotten Row the previous month and suffered injuries to my hip joint rendering me unable to walk.

I had written my examinations after being carried on the backs of fellow students from one exam room venue to the next – but that’s a story for another blog.

On this Monday of 2004, I was being kicked out and I had no clue how I was to walk from the house of my uncle where I had lived since I was 14 to my boyfriend’s home which was about 15 minutes walk away.

For starters, my hip hadn’t really healed so I had trouble walking – it hurt incredibly to even move, let alone attempt to carry my bags and measly belongings and present myself at my boyfriend’s doorstep claiming refuge for myself and the baby I was carrying.

As fate would have it, one of my dearest friends from High School whom I had not seen in over a year had returned to Zimbabwe and called to say she was coming over to visit me and catch up.

I remember telling her that visiting me was not a good idea because I had just been ordered to vacate the premises and I wasn’t even sure if I would be welcomed at my boyfriend’s home.

I don’t think I cried that day.

Maybe I had known and expected this course of action from my aunt – that kicking me out was what the average parent or guardian does under the circumstances.

Anyway, I packed what I could and my heart was aggrieved at all the piles of cherished novels and books I could not take with me.

I had no idea how exactly I would walk to my boyfriend’s house and my aunt had not specified what time exactly she would be returning from town so I had no clear sense of deadline, only the knowledge that I was no longer welcome there.

The answer came in the form of my friend, Kisha, who showed up at the door even after I had warned her that she might not be met with a warm welcome as I myself had now become persona non grata.

She showed up regardless of the fact that she had just arrived from a grueling 12 hour journey from SA and hadn’t even seen me in over a year.

She showed up because that’s what real friends do when you’ve gotten yourself into trouble – they show up.

It was Kisha who carried the luggage and it was Kisha who bore the weight of my body leaning against hers for support.

It was Kisha who made jokes about the situation, made me laugh so hard that although it took me double the time to get to my boyfriend’s home – I wasn’t in a state of despair.

It was Kisha who saw me off to what would become my premature marriage to a very young man of 23 that I was madly in love with.

What should have been the worst day of 2004 was saved only because a wonderful friend of mine showed up and for that I am grateful.

I don’t know how I would have made it without her, Kisha has a habit of ‘showing up’ especially when the going gets tough.

...Confi, we have come a long way from the girls we used to be..

…we have come a long way from the girls we used to be..


This blog is to say (in many words) that I love you and I am so thankful you showed up when you did.

There are thousands of memories I have of you and countless acts of kindness you have bestowed upon me but somehow – I remembered 12 July 2004.

Thank you Confie.

Wanting is a powerful thing…


Wanting is a powerful thing.

We get most things done simply by wanting to do them….we want to love and so we love; we want to stay and so we stay; we want to leave and so we go; we want to endure and so we keep holding on; we want fresh starts and so we give up some things…and so on and so forth.

That is the power of wanting.

AND the only thing I know that is more powerful than wanting is – NOT wanting.

Never try to compel a person to do what they don’t want to do; to be where they don’t want to be; to go where their heart isn’t or to become who they don’t want to become.

It is a waste of energy to try and change the mind, will or heart of someone that doesn’t want.

You know why????

Because your wanting is NO match for their NOT wanting.