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.

Questioning, querying, probing and poking….

I have been writing a column for the Southern Eye for a while now. The title of the column is ‘Agreeing to Disagree’.

I kind of use it as a platform to ask, probe, query and poke viciously at sleeping dogs. Here are just a few of the things I’ve been mulling over:

The elections are over, what else is left other than closing a chapter on Zimbabwe bearing in mind that:

What remains open is the next blank page after this chapter. What remains alive to possibility and what our hopes can latch onto and our dreams can hinge on, is the undeniable fact that five years from now there exists an opportunity to rewrite the narrative. It is an opportunity that can only be realised by the choices we make today and the resolutions that we commit to here and now.

…as long as we choose to care, hope is not lost

I think our commitment to the future of our country will be determined by the extent to which we are willing to care. When we get to that point where we want to throw our hands up in despair, it might be worth considering the possibility that caring is the only patriotic thing left to do because:

Indifference is the easiest thing in life. It is the most convenient cope-out of all. Just decide you don’t care. Decide you’re not going to lose any sleep over anything that doesn’t appear to remotely affect your bread-and-butter
issues. But the problem is that if you stop caring, you give power to those who would run the country aground and surrender your agency as a person to determine the course of your own life (to whatever extent it is within your means to influence political actors).
Five years is a long time not to care.

And then there was a week in which ZANU PF (in usual consultation with itself) conferred national hero status to three people…. it made me think about the selection criteria and wonder how much of the history I think I know is actually accurate. I think there’s a real possibility that we will remember historical lies for as long as ZANU PF maintains its hegemonic and monologic stranglehold on the nation’s liberation struggle narrative. In my musings I wrote:

It has been said that without memory we become less than ourselves and it matters what our real historical narrative is all about rather than having one party using history to claim political legitimacy. Where are the people who remember differently? Where are the people who were there when it happened and who can refute what the public media has constantly churned out, what the history books have claimed and what Zanu PF has insisted on propagating?
What really happened? Is it true that Zanu PF single-handedly liberated the country as they have claimed non-stop?

More recently, I wondered about the love and the hate that Mugabe attracts. I was thinking of my own ambivalent feelings towards the man. I agree with so much of what he stands for (it appeals to my pan-African sensibilities) but then I find myself vehemently opposed to the manner in which it is implemented (e.g the need for land reform was noble in principle but the land grabs were unconscionable). I do wonder at the way in which he is adored on the continent and I wonder what sacrifices I made to facilitate it because who’s footing the bill for Mugabe’s glory, if not ordinary citizens like me. While they may praise him, there’s another side to the story:

How do I tell these people who gaze at my Zimbabweanness through rosetinted lenses, of nights in which neighbors tossed stones on the roof to help me wake up and collect water from the taps because it had returned just for a few minutes? How do I explain standing in queues at borders hoping to go and buy basics from neighboring countries, queueing at banks trying to withdraw a set daily amount of money whose worth was devaluing while I queued, queueing at supermarkets where I joined stampedes for a packet of salt, and getting whipped one day by an overzealous city council security officer who was manning the queues at a taxi rank after I was pushed out of the line and he thought I was trying to jump the queue? There’s a part of me that feels like Mugabe wanted to make a point. If the adulation of the Africans I have met is anything to go by, he succinctly made his point, but he made it at my expense.

Suffice to say,I’ve got a lot more questioning, querying, probing and poking to do because somehow; the answers matter to me now more than ever before. It must be a mid-life crisis of sorts. But these things do haunt me and keep me up at night. Writing the column is becoming therapeutic – somehow.

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.

What will be…. will be

There is only so much one can do to prepare for life, for the future, for tomorrow and for the unknown – at the end of the day, what will be will be. As the year draws to an end, I am sure a lot of us will be taking stock of what we achieved, what we dismally failed in and what we let slip through our fingers.

Here are some of the things I gleaned over the course of the year and perhaps you will be happy to share a few thoughts of your own about 2012.

….take it one day at a time….that’s all you can do

Letting go: I learned that you can let go of people no matter how long they have been in your life. I learned that it will hurt and that you will miss them from time to time but it gets easier to keep walking once you’ve chosen what path you’re going to take.

The value of selfishness: I learned that selfishness can be a valuable commodity because it places your needs at the center and enables you to decide what’s best for yourself without being clouded by the pressures and expectations of others. I learned that it is okay to love people but not always wise to need them because much of life is a solitary affair.

You heal: I learned that getting hurt is awful but we heal regardless of the amount of emotional damage that has been inflicted on us. As my best friend Talema Moyo once put it, “So what if you get hurt? It won’t hurt forever. You will heal”.

You choose your suffering: I learned that we always have a choice and that whenever we insist that we have none – it is only because we want to avoid having to make decisions. I learned that we get to choose what we are willing to suffer, how long we are willing to suffer and for whom we are prepared to suffer. Suffering is a choice and we all make it either by staying in bad situations or getting ourselves into bad situations.

Forgive yourself: I learned that there is wisdom in forgiving oneself. We will not always get it right but we have to come to a point where we stop flogging ourselves for our mistakes and more importantly to stop allowing people to use our past misdeeds as a reference point in judging us – our worth is not determined by our errors.

Acceptance: I learned that there are things I can’t change and specifically that there are people I cannot change. I either have to accept them as they are or keep them out of my life because people change only when they want to and you cannot compel anyone to be what you want them to be.

People matter: I learned that people matter and how you relate with them has a bearing on the quality of life you will enjoy. I learned that if you cannot help a person, at least make sure that you do not harm them and that if someone loves you treat them kindly especially if you don’t reciprocate.

Cherish those who’ll mourn you: I learned that it is important to know the people who cherish you. Imagine you died today, who would mourn your loss and who would grieve for you? Whose world would irrevocably come crushing down? Know those people who would miss you if you fell off the surface of the planet and cherish them throughout the coming year because some of the people you’re obsessing over right now won’t even care enough to show up at your funeral.

Take care of yourself: Some years back someone I love very much was going away and his last words to me before he left were, ‘take care of yourself’. It made me wonder, who else would take care of me anyway – it seemed like an odd thing for him to say. But in 2013, I hope you take care of yourself… whatever taking care of yourself means to you. Whether it’s getting out of a bad marriage or making the choice to marry someone; whether it’s moving out of a comfort zone and taking a leap of faith; whether its making tough choices that will change the course of your life forever or deciding to trust in someone you want to share your life with – take care of yourself.

May you find what you seek: Finally, I learned the value of knowing what I want – really want. I hope in 2013 you find what you seek. The problem is so many of us don’t know what we want and wouldn’t be able to recognize it even if we received it. Sometimes we do know what we want but are scared to admit it to ourselves or to others because we are not confident that we can attain it. As the year ends, I hope you find what you seek in the coming one.

They say ‘man plans and God laughs’ because you just never know what tomorrow will bring. In fact you don’t even have a guarantee that your life will be what you expect an hour from now or even at the end of the day because anything can happen – and it often does. To quote from Oliver Mtukudzi, ‘parinonyura remangwana renezwaro’ loosely translated to mean, ‘as one day ends, another will unfold bringing with it God-knows-what’.

Whatever is your fate in 2013; face it because what will be will be.

2012 is the year I dare to educate…

I figured out a long time ago that I would love to spend my life helping young people out of any limitation (be it educational, geographic, emotional, mental, psychological, economical, social or otherwise).

I hate to see people being limited by their background, their past, their present, their circumstances and the disempowering stereotypes that most people (especially girls) internalize from childhood.

This is why I came up with The IMMA Foundation and 2012 seems to be as good a year as any to dare to change lives!

It is an audacious thing to believe one can make a difference. Perhaps this is why few people even bother to try.

So next year I am going to dare to bring my vision to reality, my dream to manifestation and my hope to fruition. Even if at the end of that year, I will have helped just one person – it will have been an improvement from having helped nobody at all in 2011.

I am going to change someone's life next year. Just one. And if I am lucky enough then maybe two or more...but one way or the other; I'm going to dare it!

I am passionate about education so I will start there. Helping young people to secure places and funding to pursue post-graduate study for the 2012/2013 academic year. Specifically Zimbabwean young people and particularly female young Zimbabweans.

I have always maintained that women’s emancipation will be the inevitable consequence of women’s empowerment and that women’s empowerment will be the inevitable consequence of education.

In 2012, I hope to play a part (no matter how small) in ensuring that someone somewhere in Zimbabwe will gain access to post-graduate education, will be empowered and academically emancipated.

If you still are curious about how grad school works Online Graduate Programs has more information on graduate education (in America) as does the Princeton Review Graduate Resource School. Simply put – the possibilities for someone with a graduate degree are sky high.

My appeal to you, dear reader (thank you for indulging me thus far especially if you’re a subscriber because I know this is coming straight to your inbox and you may be very busy and might have precious little time to spare reading this), my appeal is that you help me:

1. Identify scholarships for African students (I know some but my list is hardly exhaustive. You can post the link below on the comments section or email the information to me).

2. Identify Universities outside Zimbabwe (this is because there are no post-graduate scholarships for students in Zimbabwe so its easier to study elsewhere on a scholarship) that avail funds (usually part-tuition) for International students.

3. Identify scholarships or funding opportunities that are inclusive of Zimbabweans (this is because our country is not part of the Commonwealth and this has severely marginalized us in terms of being eligible for certain scholarly or fellowship opportunities).

4. Identify Students’ Exchange Programmes for which Zimbabweans would qualify (again the Commonwealth exclusion tends to deprive us of some of these opportunities).

5. Identify Fellowships and other Professional training opportunities that young Zimbabweans who hold first degrees can qualify for where belonging to a Commonwealth nation is not a requirement or pre-requisite (as this automatically would disqualify us).

6. Identify organizations that provide educational grants or institutions that offer short professional courses (the shorter the course, the less money required to sponsor an individual) – I am grateful that institutions such as Nuffic have generously included Zimbabweans as eligible recipients of their scholarships and fellowship awards.

7. Identify Foreign Embassies in Zimbabwe that are committed to affording training and educational opportunities to Zimbabweans in their respective countries (I am thinking of the exceptional work that the United States Embassy – Public Affairs Section (PAS) are doing from their base in Harare).

8. Identify workshops/conferences/professional training events within the SADC region, on the African continent and abroad that would assist young graduates to get exposure and training (AWID is very helpful in this regard and I’m sure there are others). Needless to say, such events might present the challenge of assisting aspiring participants to secure funds or travelling grants but there’s no harm in trying.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This post is that single step for me. Thank you for your indulgence and may 2012 be the year of dreams coming true (but remember you have to work for them).

It's unfortunate that people HURT other people just because they can... Instead I think it should be a good reason why we should HELP other people. We should help other people just because WE CAN!