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.

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!

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.

We’re just a bunch of ‘tryers’


My close friends and I congregate around whatsapp messaging quite often because most of them live out of the country so keeping tabs on one another is an endeavor requiring more effort than before.

Over the years, I have noticed that the texture of our conversations have changed and without realizing it – adulthood crept up on us.

...if we've survived the drama of the last decade, we'll survive whatever the next decade throws at us!

…if we’ve survived the drama of the last decade, we’ll survive whatever the next decade throws at us!


The carefree years of high school life (where the biggest problem was which love proposal to accept or reject) made way for bigger dilemmas involving whether to accept and live with the fact that our husbands have mistresses or simply pack up and get out of the stagnation caused by interminable love triangles.

We have chosen different paths, prioritized different things and now with the age of 30 looming ahead of us – we are all taking stock of what we did with the last decade of our lives and grappling with whether or not we made the right choices.

All I have been able to ascertain as I have reflected on where the years have gone and on what we did with our lives in that time frame is that we did with our lives the only thing anyone can do – we tried.

All of us tried.

Whether we failed or succeeded, at least we gave it all a shot and for better or worse the choices we made over the years have brought each one of us to where we are today.

We are just a bunch of tryers.

We have tried to follow our hearts, and where we lacked the courage to do so, we have followed the expectations of others.

We have rebelled against our families in the name of love, shacking up with men who never paid any bride price but went on to impregnate other women while we waited on them to go meet with our elders and set things right.

We have wasted years deserting our spouses only to reconcile with them before changing our minds and calling it quits or we have spent the years following our men across the globe – trying to make the reality of marriage and relationships tally with what we once fantasized it to be.

We have held on longer than we should and sometimes we have let go too soon but in all those things – we have tried.

We have made mistakes in some things and we have learnt from them but the older we grow the more afraid we are of making the wrong choices because it seems as though our chances of rectifying them become more limited with each passing year.

As we get to 30 we start to think, ‘if I don’t do this degree now, I might never get round to doing it at all’ or ‘if I don’t accept this marriage proposal now, I might never find someone else’ or ‘if I don’t have a child now, I might struggle having one later’.

It feels as though the clock ran out on us and suddenly we’re just trying to catch up with all the things we thought we’d have done and accomplished at 30.

Whether we choose our careers ahead of our love-life or chose love and familial duty over careers – we get to stop in our tracks now and check if the gamble paid of.

I may not be certain as to what the next decade of our lives will hold but all we can do is what we have been doing all along – all we can do is try.

Try to make the right choices and where we fail, we simply dust ourselves up and try again.

We will try to love the right people for the right reasons and at the right time and in the right way – and where we fail we will bruise our souls, break our hearts and grieve our spirits on our way to getting over them.

We will make tough choices and sacrifices concerning whether we will leave or stay; fight or reconcile; hold grudges or forgive.

We will just try to do the best we can with what we have wherever we will be. No more, no less. So to my girls…here’s to another decade of trying.

Conversations I have…


I have realized that sometimes, I order my thoughts best during random conversations with people. One such conversation took place a few days ago from a guy I vaguely know as a regular contributor to my weekly column in the Sunday News. We don’t converse often and he just stumbled into me on Google-chat. He was in the mood to pick my brain and the conversation went like this:

7:08AM fuzaneb: hi D, always been a breath of fresh air when it comes to your outlook on life, but ha, sometimes i find yu kinda too radical, militant and plain bullish!

7:09 AM me: I am only that way just to demonstrate that I am dead serious about some issues and once that message gets across…I relax and chill

7:11 AM fuzaneb: which makes a politician of sorts out of you?

7:16 AM me: lol, I wouldn’t say that

7:20 AM fuzaneb: ha ha ha, there is a coward in you too – just pulling your leg. i often see a Margaret Dongo in yu though – remember her? out of interest, does the word loyalty exist in yo vocab?

7:21 AM me: loyalty?

7:21 AM fuzaneb: yep loyalty, control, conformity,subordination …. that kinda stuff

7:21 AM me: oh.
7:22 AM I would not put loyalty in the same bracket as subordination
7:23 AM Loyalty, like submission is an act of the will….it cannot be forced on someone

7:25 AM fuzaneb: there yu go nw D, raving philosophical – i can tell yu already activating yo defences – relax bo

7:25 AM me: Submission is voluntary, subordination is not
you just flicked a switch in my head, lol

7:25 AM fuzaneb: ok, how about control?

(5 minutes later)

7:31 AM me: what about it?

7:32 AM fuzaneb: your thoughts on it, being the damsel who insist on 152.78% freedom?

7:34 AM me: It depends on what you mean by control exactly. Do you mean power relations in relationships? Control over resources or control over persons?
7:35 AM me: Or control over self?
7:35 AM me: To me freedom is control over self….whether the self is packaged in a male body or a female one….as long as that person can claim to have control over them-selves – they are free

7:36 AM fuzaneb: wow, love the diversity and depth of your perspective. I mean it in the parochial sense of power dynamicss in relationships

7:37 AM me: you were not particularly specific….lol
power dynamics in relationships are inevitable but the manner in which they manifest is often what I may take issue with

If they manifest as physical or emotional abuse, economic deprivation or any other negative and harmful violation of another person’s dignity – I resent those manifestations of control


7:39 AM fuzaneb: so, if yu cant give up at least partial control over self, how do yu build bridges with the other person. aint compromise imperative there?

7:43 AM me: Of course you can give up “at least partial control over self” (as you put it) because if you own your self, you get to do with yourself as you please….including giving yourself – whole or half – to another

7:44 AM fuzaneb: WOW, I LOVE THAT – think this enigma packaged as Delta is getting more and more unravelled in a positive way. have always held this stereotype of a completely intransigent, riotous Delta, if yu get ma point

(9 minutes later)

7:53 AM fuzaneb: nice chatting with yu D, may yo star continue to shine hey. remember to start looking outside the window too phela (males) rather than always looking at yo mirror (women). that for me should widen and balance your perspectives and debunk a number of unwitting stereotypes and myths about us

7:54 AM me: thanks…sorry I am multi-tasking

fuzaneb: fine then, catch yu some other tym – wat’s on the menu this Sunday?

7:56 AM me: Havent decided yet….something on marriage though

7:56 AM fuzaneb: look forward to that, bye

And I wonder; what is your take on freedom? What does it mean to be free? What does control mean to you and how should loyalty be defined, expressed or manifested? This conversation got my thoughts churning….now I ask your indulgence – what are YOUR thoughts on these things? (Now I know most of you ABSOLUTELY hate leaving comments, and I respect that choice; I just hope this one time you’ll make an exception). Could you please have this conversation with me?