Generation Z (the mid-1990s to early 2000) is the generation after the Millennials (1980-2000). It is the generation of no limitations and ultimate risk takers-be it lifestyle or business wise. By the year 2019, it is estimated generation Z will account for 32% of the global population. Despite being defined as “millennials on steroids”, having a lower attention span due to social media and spoiled, we can not deny that some of the most extraordinary beings are from this generation. They are the generation of early starters, individuality, they are justice-minded, independent and they do not always follow the outlined course of life structured by the generations prior. They practice thinking outside the box from a very early age, to the age is literally just a number and believe even the sky is not the limit. Today’s post focuses on the few of the many who are living their lives fully, with passion and purpose-inspiring me to do the same.
This list is in no particular order.
1.Yara Sayeh Shahidi
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Yara Sayeh Shahidi (born February 10, 2000) mostly known as Yara Shahidi is an Iranian-American actress, model and activist. She is best known as Zoey Johnson on the sitcom Black-ish and its spin-off, Grown-ish. Yara started her career at the age of 6 years and appeared in adverts for McDonald’s, Ralph Lauren, Disney, GapKids, Guess Kids and Children’s Palace. She made her cinematic debut in the movie, Imagine That (2009), starring Eddie Murphy, which then led her to win the Youngest Artist Award nomination for the best performance in a featured category.
She is well known among her generation as an activist and is the founder of Eighteen x 18with the American social news publisher NowThis, which is a platform to encourage her peers to vote for the very first time in upcoming American elections. Her other organisations include Yara’s Club which is a partnership with Young Women’s Leadership Network of New York, which provides online guidance in hopes to end poverty through education. She has been admitted at Harvard University and made the Times Magazine list for Most Influential Teens in 2017.
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Donel Mangena (16 years old) is a Zimbabwean-British pop-star who was a finalist of The Voice UK. He is also a writer and penned some of the lyrics to his debut single, Bang Like A Drum. Whilst coaching him on The Voice UK, Will.i.am likened Donel to the late Michael Jackson stating, “Donel could be the biggest artist on earth, the way he is in the studio, how attentive he is, mentally, spiritually, his excitement and dedication. That’s what Michael was like”.
Donel has won hearts all across the nation with his incredible performances, he was personally invited by Prince Harrywho is a fan, to the Queen’s 92nd Birthday concert earlier this year. Prince Harry introduced him on stage as: “one to watch, a star of the future”.
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Adut Akech Bior (born December 25, 1999) is a Sudanese-Australian model, who made her fashion runway debut as an exclusive in the Saint Laurent S/S 17 show and went on to close both the Fashion Week 2017 and S/S 18 shows as an exclusive. Adut was introduced to the fashion industry by her family and despite being scouted at 13/14 years, she began her career at 16 years. Within the fashion industry, she preferred her birth name, Adut and signed with Chadwick Models in Sydney, Australia.
Adut’s first runway debut was in a local show put together by her aunt, she went on modelling at the Melbourne Fashion Week and she has been unstoppable and has walked for Kenzo, Tom Ford, Prada, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Zara, Bottega Veneta, Burberry and Versace. She has done editorials for American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Italia, Vogue Parish, WSJ and Vogue Australia to name a few. She made history by being the second Black Woman to close a Chanel Haute Couture.
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Caesar Sant (born August 1st,2008) is an American young violin prodigy who was born with a form of chronic anaemia called sickle cell anaemia. At the age of 2, he started playing the violin and at age 4 he was playing Vivaldi. He has had 3 strokes in a span of 2 years, however despite all these obstacles, he has shown stupendous courage and resilience.
In 2016, he played for the most prestigious violinists of the world and his idol, Mr Itzhak Perlman. By the age of 5, he was already fluent in 6 languages and when he was 22 months, he conducted a Beethoven 5th Symphony.
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Malala Yousafzai (12 July 1997-) is a Pakistani activist for female education ad the Youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in her native Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls to go to school.
In 2009 when she was around 11-12 years old, Malala wrote a blog under pseudonym BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. The following Summer, a journalist from America, made a documentary about her life and she rose in prominence-which made her a target of the Taliban.
October 9, 2012 while on a bus after taking an exam, Malala and two other girls were shot by a Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation with her activism. Having been hit by a bullet in the head, Malala was in a critical condition ad remained unconscious. She survived, relocated to the UK and is currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
In her first speech following the attack, she addressed an international Youth Assembly at U.N Headquarters: Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution.”
6.Triplets Ghetto Kids
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Formed of 9 members-Ada, Patricia, Ashley, Nyangoma, Fred, Kokoda, Ronnie, Isaac and ManKing, Triplets Ghetto Kids is a Ugandan dance group that has swelled and touched hearts all over the world. The group has members which range from 6-17 years old and even though they were all homeless, orphaned and impoverished-dancing brought them purpose and hope.
Having been dancing for many years, their big break came when they were featured in French Montana and Swae Lee’s Unforgettable video. Their fame skyrocketed and they have become popular all over the interwebs. Previously known as Sitya Loss Kids by the media as it was seen as suitable and would make them stand out, they chose to be called Triplets Ghetto Kids because to them ghetto is not an insult or fashion but it is their identity and a way to embrace their roots.
After the feature on French Montana’s video, they appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show and performed at the 2017 BET’s with French Montana. They currently have an album called Ghetto Dreams which has sold many copies.
Penn (born February 10, 2000) is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, animator, artist and the CEO of her eco-friendly fashion company Maya’s world. She started her company when he was 8 years old and spoken at TEDWomen and has 2 official TedTalk.
She is the creator of an animation series, The Pollinators which emphasises on the importance of bees and other pollinators. In 2011, she founded her own nonprofit organisation Maya’s Ideas For The Planet and was amongst the people chosen by Oprah on SuperSoul 100 list of visionaries and influential leaders in 2016.
8.Kylian Mbappe Lottin
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Kylian Mbappe Lottin (born December 20, 1998) is a French professional football player who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Sain-Germain and the France national team. At the age of 19, he was named the best young player in the world and has been projected as the future best player in the world. He made his debut into the football world at the age of 16 in Monaco and quickly made his way to the top as a goalscorer for the first team in the 2016-17 seasons.
He made his senior debut for France in 2017 and at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he became the youngest French player to score at a World Cup. He became the second-highest goalscorer as France won the World Cup ad he received the accolade for Best Young Player Awardfor his performance.
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Tanya Muzinda (13 years old) is a Zimbabwean Motocross athlete who at 6 years old became the first Zimbabwean female motocross champion in history. Earlier this year, she ended up pulling out of the 2018 FIM Africa Motocross of African Nations Championships in Zambia, because there was no class for her to ride in at the big continental event. Tanya rides the 85cc (big wheel) and the only class that was available for females was 125cc.
At a young age, Tanya’s love for the sport encouraged her father to reach out to Motocross legend Stefy Bau. Stefy travelled to Zimbabwe in 2013 and trained her for 2 weeks and afterwards, Tanya dominated a second overall in the very competitive division of the 65B class. Her dream is to be the first African women to reach international success. She is currently in between the UK and the USA to be coached and has enrolled at the Coventry Motocross Junior Club, an opportunity which will open more doors for her.#TeamTanya is a project that was formed to help Tanya conquer in the male-dominated sport and for her dreams to come true.
10.Sheila Sheldon Charles
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Sheila Sheldon Charles (Generation Z)is a 9-year-old Kenyan artist who has caught the attention of many people including the President of Kenya himself, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Not only is she an artist but she is also a model, vlogger, dancer and is in Class Four in Mombasa. Having started at the age of 6 untrained, Sheila’s artistic talent is incomparable to her age-mate.
When asked what inspires her to draw on an interview with BBC Africa, she stated that she does not know why she draws but it is God-given and it is something in her. She likes to draw cartoons as they are her favourite things. She encourages young children with talents never to give up and to have intelligence and character-and to always thrive to be there best selves.
Tapfumaneyi looked at the black velvet box and he put it back in his pocket, as he sat back in the restaurant chair and checked his phone. It was now ten minutes past the time he was supposed to have met up with Gamuchirai. He peeped out the window of the restaurant, hoping to see her arrive at the restaurant. It was a snowy January evening, the streets were caked with snow and all one could see were the streets lights and lights which illuminated the restaurant entrances. He checked the time on his wristwatch and realised he would not mind her being late as he needed more time to brace himself for what was to be one of the most important decisions or mistake of his life. He stared out the window again, his body suddenly rigid, skimming through the unfamiliar faces outside, trying to calm himself.
“Excuse me, Sir, are you ready to order?”, the waitress asked, towering over him. She looked right at him waiting for a response but he just shook his head forcing a smile. The waitress walks away leaving him to his thoughts. He took out his phone to see if Gamu had contacted him but he could not get past the wallpaper of him and Gamuchirai. He could not help but notice how happy she looked on the picture. It was from their last holiday in Tenerife, which she had demanded to go to for her birthday. She was all made up, the skin was sun-kissed, spirit free and he thought, as often as he did, what a beautiful woman she was. She wore a yellow summer dress which complimented her complexion as she sat on his lap.
“You are lucky my guy, a woman like that is hard to come about. Educated, smart, ambitious and puts you first. What more can you ask for? She loves you, man, if I were you I would marry her before another mandem steps in.”, Takunda always reminded him every time they met up. He had come to understand that Takunda actually liked Gamu, the way he always insisted on them meeting up at his house rather than anywhere else, knowing fully well that Gamu usually worked from home. He would sacrifice driving from Swindon to London for every match of the Premier League, to watch it at his house. He would always say it was because his TV was bigger and Gamu always made snacks. He was right however, Gamu was the woman of every sensible man’s dream. She cooked for him every night, drew him a bath with special bath bombs she bought from Lush when he had had a bad day at work and most nights she would stay up just to have her dinner with him. She knelt down when she greeted her elders, his Aunt had commented on her manners when he went with her to Zimbabwe. She ticked all the boxes of the ideal woman. It made him feel pompous amongst another man, he had what every other man was scouring for at the bottom of every barrel on dating sites, bars and church. He understood this and he was aware that she loved him, but he did not feel the same way. Over the last year they had courted, he had tried all he could to inflict this feeling of infatuation that left you breathless but not wants to be rescued. To him “soulmate” was more of a myth or a once in a blue moon event which only happened once in a lifetime, if not at all. He had taken all the recommended steps of a gentleman in love, asking her to move in with him and had even started saving money for their children to show and prove to himself that he loved her, at least enough to see a future with her. He knew he was being unfair to her, she had given him everything he wanted and needed, but still, she would never be enough to completely give his heart to.
Tapfuma looked at his wristwatch again and began to get annoyed. He thought about how hard it was for people to keep time when all one had to do was be on time and be time conscious. One memory kept rewinding in his mind, he tried to eliminate it but the words “time conscious” had triggered his memory box.
“Aaah Tapfu, you are too time conscious. I am not even that late shaa”, Zadzisai would always say each time she made him wait. He always had a menacing look on his face and it annoyed him how she was never on time.
“Aaah no Zadzisai, I always tell you kuti being early is being on time and being on time is being late. It is not that late kuita sei kwacho? It’s about principle”. He would rant about and refused to even look at her, but she always had a way to make him come around.
“Sorry Shewe, I am very sorry. I promise to try and be principled like you. You are a very principled man huuuh. Please teach me how to be like you, kurongeka kwakadai.?”.
He enjoyed her sarcasm but he mostly loved how easily she would change his mood, he vowed never to tell her. He always ended up shaking his head with a chuckle, kissing her forehead and saying,
“What can you not get away with?”. He caught himself smiling at himself but he quickly dismissed the memory from his head and talked himself back to reality. He took a deep breath, sat back and looked around the restaurant and was met with unfamiliar faces, except for the waitress.
It was an Indian restaurant that Takunda had recommended, it also came with good reviews too and was named the most amorous and idyllic restaurant in Oxford Street. It was dimly cool, the atmosphere was laced with the aroma of rich spices and conversation. He signalled the waitress and asked for a glass of water.
“She must be very special to have you wait for over an hour”, the waitress said to Tapfumaneyi when she brought the water.
“Excuse me?” he said confused by her statement.
“You have been sitting here for over an hour, obviously waiting for someone because you keep looking at your watch.”, she said smiling at him. He had not realised he had been sitting there for over an hour now, and Gamu had sent him a text eighteen minutes ago informing him about the snow storm. He smiled and nodded at the waitress hoping for her to leave him to his thoughts. As soon as she left him, his mind wandered again. He began to question if marrying Gamu was right for him. He felt he was ready for marriage and a family at 26 years old. He knew what was expected of him at his age and reassured himself he was content and fulfilled by Gamu. Soon he would be promoted to Sergeant from a Police Officer, he was financially stable, he had investments and he was paying up his mortgage on his 3 bedroomed house with 1 and a half bathrooms. This time he felt he was ready and it was different from his first attempt to marry. Then, he was young and a student when he had to bring himself to plan for a future with a wife and child. He distinctively remembered the day Zadzisai came running to his house with tears in her eyes, terrified. The look on her face narrated everything and without question, he knew he wanted to be with her.
“Zadzisai, what happened? Is someone dead?”,he said as he stood from the tattered leather chair he sat on and walked towards the bed in his room.
“Tapfuma, what are we going to do? I told you to be careful, now hona?”, Zadzisai began to wail louder. Tapfuma walked towards the door to check if anyone was in close proximity to hear their conversation. Mainini Rumbie had gone to kumagrosa with Tanaka, his cousin. He closed the door and began to console Zadzisai who now had her face in her palm, crying.
“Tapfumaneyi, ndine nhumbu.I am pregnant and I have no idea how I am going to tell my parents. You told me you were being careful. What are we going to do because handiskuda kuregedza kuchikoro? I can not stop going to school because of this. I told you to be careful and you agreed,” she said as she walked towards him and tried to punch him. He blocked her hands and pulled her close to hug her, she began to sob again and he held on to her.
“Zee, it’s ok. I am here, I am here”. He towered over her and held her tightly, he leads her to his chair and went out of the room.
Tapfumeyi came back with a glass of water and gave it to Zadzisai. At 21 years Tapfumaneyi was mature for his age, he had taken a year off school to work so he could support his Aunt and cousin. After his parents had died when he was in primary school, Mainini Rumbie had taken him as her own son. She made sure he did not feel like an orphan and after Babamudiki Ngoni left, he became the man of the house. Mainini Rumbie unfailingly reiterated that there was nothing he could not do or solve, even his future she believed was his to build.
Zadzie took a few sips then looked at him, searching his face for any sign of anger or remorse but Tapfumaneyi looked at her and smiled. Zadzisai was confused and it angered her, she sneered and as she stood up to bolt out of the room, Tapfumaneyi stood in front of her.
“Iwe Tapfumaneyi Mhodzi, you are smiling? It’s not a laughing matter. My life is over and it hasn’t even started. I can not keep it, where will I put it and in whose house? And in whose house, you know my father! Maihwee zvangu, my father! What am I goi…”, she began to cry again as it dawned on her that she had to inform her parents. Her war-vet of a father who still wore a red beret to commemorate his lost friends and right arm which he lost in the Chimurenga . Tapfumaneyi looked at her with hurt eyes, he sat searched for her eyes.
“Zadzie, we will make this work. I am so sorry this has happened but please, let us think it through. I am smiling because I am happy the woman I love is carrying my child. I will take care of you both, I do not know how but I will”.
The next morning Tapfumaneyi woke up to go Zadzisai’s house by himself. It was a warm Saturday morning in September and even though it was 9 am in the morning, it felt like 12 pm in the afternoon. He had told Aunt Rumbie the night before, she had not taken it very well but he had explained himself and had promised to take care of Zadzisai and the baby. She had wanted to go with him but he had told her it was better if he had gone by himself. He did not want her to be burdened by his situation and he knew he had disappointed her.
“No Tapfuma, you can not go alone! Hazvina hunhu, do not act as if you come from an ill-mannered household. You already disrespected them by defiling their daughter, now you want to show up at their house by yourself like a grown man? If you do not want to go with me, go with Baba Netsai. You can not go alone, no!”. Baba Netsai was their neighbour who was the only father figure Tapfumaneyi had since his father passed away. As it was a Saturday, Tapfumanei went and told him everything and after what seemed like a couple of hours, Baba Netsai talked briefly with Mainini Rumbie and they were off to Zadzisai’s house.
“Babe, oh my gosh babe, I am so sorry. It’s like people become dumb when driving in snow.”, Gamu said as she walked towards Tapfuma and kissed him on his lips. He had not seen her as he was lost in his own thoughts and had to conjure his mind to the present moment. She stood opposite him with a wide grin on her face, searching his face for a response.
“It’s ok,”, he said as he stood up to pull the chair for her,”…I was just lost in my own thoughts. I was..how..ho…how are you? You look amazing..beautiful.., you look great.”, he said as he sat opposite her, trying to compose himself. It dawned on him that he had not even rehearsed his proposal and had been reminiscing about Zadzie and the baby he was told was stillborn.
“Thank you, baby, you do not look alright. We can go home and I will make you something and draw you a bath. Oh and we might watch The Help ag…”.
“Will you marry me?”, Tapfuma blurted it out without realising it. He had been caught up on his past, the thought of not having Zadzisai or no one at all scared him. He was as shocked as she was by what he had said. She looked at him with tears in her eyes and began to cry and laugh at the same time. Tapfuma wished he had not said it, he tried to take it back by trying to explain but Gamu was already saying yes repeatedly catching the attention of the other diners.
“What I meant to say was, I am grateful and glad you are part of my life bu..”, before he could end his explanation, he was interrupted by the waiting staff who came with a dessert plate written congratulations in chocolate, champagne and the waitress who had served him earlier began to sing a harmonised rendition of Marry me by Bruno Mars.
Gamu was still crying tears of joy and she stood in front of him with her hand stretched out in front of him. He was very bemused he did not even think of the black velvet box in his pocket.
“The ring, man. Show her you mean it.”. A man from the table behind him shouted as the waitress was singing. Everything was happening so fast, he was caught unaware when a bottle of champagne was popped and the waiter poured into the glasses on their table.
“Come on man, do not keep your lady waiting. Ask the question again..with a ring this time”.
Seeing how he had no way out and Gamu was the best thing he had since moving to England, he knelt before her, took the ring from the box and proposed. She said yes again, his time without tears but glee on her face. As he stood up, Gamu hugged him tightly and he retorted by hugging her tighter. Assuring himself that this was the best decision, he was to be promoted and he was in a comfortable place. He kissed her deeply as their audience cheered them on.
“This is beginning of a new life and tomorrow is a new day, what could go wrong?”, Tapfuma said to himself as he raised his glass and gulped it down together with his doubts and his past.
LOCATION: Great Manchester Police,09:25
Tapfumaneyi sat at his desk and looked at the file. He picked it up then put it down again and put his head in his hands. Phones were ringing on every desk, the smell of coffee filled the office. He shuffled in his chair and picked up the phone but he put it down again. He picked up the file again and as he was about to browse through it again for the 12th time. Sergeant Major Finley came to his desk, he was a hefty man who took pride in his job. He was more of a legacy as his father and grandfather had all been part of British law enforcement. He always finished every sentence with “love“. For a brawny man, he was very soft and he always words of wisdom for everyone he saw at the office. Even when the criminals came in for questioning, he took a few minutes to sit down with them and talk to them about Jesus. Many convicts had complained about it, he ended up being given a higher rank where he would have minimum contact with any of the criminals.
“Taps, did you get a chance to look at that file with the kidnapped child. I have Officer Bailey on the case with you and he is doing more research and has gone to the airport to find out when and how she made it back. Gosh, I can not believe someone would travel all the way from here to Africa just to kidnap a kid and come back. And you know those immigration officers actually held her at the airport but it was for her passport, not the kids. Poor little love, hope she is alright.” he said as he sat down opposite Tapfuma with a file in his hands.
Tapfumaneyi still looking at the file mouthed the child’s name then looked at Sergeant Finley. He looked at the picture of the little girl in the pink tutu who had been reported missing 5 days ago in Zimbabwe, he could not explain how or why he was drawn to her, but he was. She was kidnapped by a young woman who was supposed to have been her nanny and supposedly, her biological mother the file stated.
“You know Taps, if I did not know any better I would have thought that was your child. Look at those eyes! I do not want to come off ignorant thinking all black people look the same but ..”, he said opening his eyes wider gesturing for him to look at the picture again.
“If I had a child, I think I would have known. And I m not that type of bloke, I am old fashioned like that”, he said as he swung in his chair, trying to get his mind off the little girl.
“Oh yeah, you are old fashioned like that. Congrats mate, Taku told me the good news last night when he came on his night shift. Gamu is a good one, my Anne said the same when you came over with her last Easter”.
“Thank you, Sir, she really is special”, he said. “Alright then, make it quick with the investigation mate, we have to make the arrest today. The parents of the girl contacted Interpol, so the case was given to us. Problem is, the parents of the little girl did not have a lot of info on the kidnapper. The mother was heart-rendered she could hardly remember much only the name Zazie. Are you familiar with that name? It is a Zimbabwean name.”,he said to Tapfuma. Tapfuma shook his head, he tried to ponder on the name. He presumed it could be a Venda or Nyanja name or another different tribe within Zimbabwe.
“No Sir, I am not familiar with the name,” he said.
“Well, for all we know it could be a fake name. We got a number though but it was registered to someone called …Dhadhirai Moyo. Not sure if that name rings a bell, though I feel I am saying it wrong.”, he said handing Tapfuma the file he had. He scanned through the file and recognised the name, Dadirai Moyo.
“Oh yes, that is a Shona name.”, he said putting the file down.
“Well, better get it moving we do not have much time. Those Southern buggers could not take it because they are swamped with similar cases. Better call your young bride to tell her you will be late because it is going to be a long day”.
An officer came and called Sergeant Major Finley to the holding cell, there was a young man who had been arrested for selling marijuana and was asking if he could give his life to Jesus. He gestured to the officer that he was on his way.
“I do not know if it is the reefer talking or not, but I shall continue to pray for the young man. I hope it is not a scam to be let down easy”, he said walking towards the door. Tapfuma looked at the picture again and weighed up on why he felt drawn to her and could not stop repeating her name.
A few moments later, Officer Bailey came in delirious and almost out of breathing and told Tapfuma they have found the woman’s address and name.
“What is her name?”,he asked almost falling out of his chair.
“File is in the car mate, we need to go now. She is a flight risk.”. They both ran out of the office and headed for the police car. On the way, Tapfuma browsed through the files, ruffling through the pages to find the name of the kidnapper. And there it was highlighted in green: Zadzisai Justine Mwoyo. Tapfuma could hear his heartbeat loud in his ears. He was completely oblivious that they had been driving for over two hours. His mind ran through the course of his courtship with Zadzie, how old the little girl was and how she resembled him. There was white noise in his eyes and he could hardly hear Officer Bailey informing him they had arrived or the sirens of the other two police cars which also parked in front of the house.
“Sir, let us go. She might not be here.”, Officer Bailey said as he stepped out of the car drawing his gun. Tapfuma got out of the car and knocked on the door with four officers behind him with their guns pointing at the door.
After knocking twice, the door slowly open and there was Zadzisai with tears in her eyes. She looked past Tapfuma without recognising him and focused on the officers who had their guns pointed at her.
“Zee…Zadzie..”, Tapfuma whispered to himself but he could not bring himself to his emotions, he had to be professional.
“Are you Zadzisai Justine Mwoyo? he said with his head down staring at the file. She nodded then looked at the person asking her the question.
“Tapfu, is that you? Oh my goodness, it’s me. Tapfu it’s our ba…”, she said opening the door wider for him to see Angelica who was standing behind her.
“Ma’am, you do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something…”, he began to read her rights. Before he finished reading her rights, two officers stepped forward and handcuffed her, walking her to the police car. She began to cry saying it was a misunderstanding, she screamed Tapfumaneyi’s name until they put her in the car and drove off.
“Sir, do you know her?”,Officer Bailey said as he stood next to Tapfuma, who was on one knee peeping inside the house. He looked up at Bailey and told him, he used to know her but not anymore. He opened the door wider and he saw Angelica, holding an Elmo puppet, eyes teary and scared. She stared at both of them and stood still.
“I will go and call the Social Services and inform Sergeant Bailey.”, he said as he walked away.
“Hey sweetheart, are you ok?”, he said smiling at her. Angelina looked at him and asked where they had taken her “auntie”. Can I go with her? I am scared”, she whimpered as tears trickled down her tears. Tapfuma walked towards her and picked her up, wiping her tears.
“Sweetie, you are safe with me ok. Someone will come and get you, they will take care of you. She stared right at him confused. Why can you not take me, you said I am safe with you.”.
Tapfuma simply smiled and walked out of the door with Angelica in his arms. Officer Bailey was on the phone and some of the neighbours were standing by the yard.
“I miss Auntie Zazie.”, Angelica said as she played with her Elmo puppet in Tapfuma’s arms.
“Me too”, he whispered to himself and kissed her on the forehead.
Real~actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.
•Breathe~take air into the lungs and then expel it, especially as a regular physiological
There comes a time in every upwardly mobile woman’s life when one encounters someone who asks-Can you cook? How will you get anyone if you look like that? Men do not like that kind of thinking. How will you keep one?. First of all, a person is “kept” only if they want to stay. Culinary skills or looking like a snack 24/7 will not keep anyone who does not want to be “kept”. Society (especially African culture) has put so much pressure on women having us think we need to tick certain boxes to be considered real ( mukadzi chaiye in Shona). We are trained to be wives more than we are trained to be a decent human being. We spend our whole girlhood intaking messages about how we are supposed to sacrifice and always be at service to others before we are taught self-love.
While there is nothing wrong preparing for your husband and having “home training” (I am for it), what I find hard to fathom is when simple human skills are now categorised as weapons or snares on how to be desirable or acceptable for marriage. Character and basic building tools are being misused and redefined to “create” a real woman.
I will elaborate on why I believe and know why so much pressure has been put on women to think marriage is the major goal in life. And how basic skills are meant for us to be decent, functioning human beings and not guidelines on how to be a “real woman” because come on, if you are breathing, you are real. READER’S DISCRETION IS ADVISED, YOU MIGHT FIND THIS UNCOMFORTABLE OR NONSENSICAL BUT SINCE YOU HAVE ALREADY STARTED READING, YOU MIGHT AS WELL CONTINUE.
The number one skill a woman should have before leaving her father’s house. Legend has it, it is the true path to a man’s heart. Which is true but honestly, isn’t food the path to any human beings heart. Food is the backbone of our existence, after God, breath and bathing (this one is debatable) obviously and this should be a skill every human being is well versed in. I know I am probably getting the side-eye or you are thinking- but guys cannot cook or as a guy you are thinking but I have never been taught?
If you can read, you can cook. Read instruction and before you know it you are Gordon Ramsay flipping skillets and inventing recipes. Every human being can cook-it might not taste good but if it is fit to keep you alive, my friend you are doing well. Culinary skills should not be skills we are taught to “steal” men or keep them. I know a couple of Auntie’s who make dishes that make you want to slap your mama but they were left by the husband’s they lured or stole with food.
Personally, I can cook but I do not enjoy it. I know, in most of your eyes I have not made the cut of a real woman (it is ok, I have accepted that I am a lost cause in the real women club). My African aunties are probably praying for me now, asking God to fix this uncooking demon which has possessed me. What I am reinstating is, cooking is not only for women but for both sexes, this whole theory of saying men cannot cook is as real as Santa Clause/Father Christmas. The most famous chefs in the world are men, Gordon Ramsay, Antonio Bourdain, Gringo the Best Cooker and so on. I think we should be taught to cook to survive not to be deemed acceptable for marriage. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to cook for your family, go be great but do not believe the lie that it keeps a man. I personally do not enjoy cooking but because I do not want to die, I have to. So, fellow human being due to the fact that we do not want to die, let us equip ourselves before people have to write eulogies of how we died of hunger by choice- goodness, my corpse will sure be embarrassed.
2.RIDE OR DIE/LOYALTY
Apparently being a ride or die chick/girl/woman is one of the boxes women have to tick to be surveyed as a real one. Whilst being a ride or die is deemed as loyalty, I believe it has been redefined to fit ridiculous “standards”.Fair enough if it means standing by someone through the hard times (by hard times I do not man him cheating on you a jabillion times) and being a supportive partner. However, when it means standing by someone and being “loyal” when they cheat, lie and do some heinous things-that is when common sense fails us. Women we have a tendency of wanting to be “fixers” (I have had a couple of guys I tried to fix, to my dismay of course)-we are all Olivia Pope’s in our minds. Any kind of person (especially men) we believe we can “fix”, we are born that way or we are taught to be that way in our “how to keep a man” classes, I do not know. I subscribe to loyalty going both ways and it should not be part of you Fit To Be A Spouse Resumé. It should be a human basic quality, not something that qualifies one to be real or be rewarded.
Women are classified to be real when they stand by their men even if they are to do things that degrade them- because we just have to, which I personally do not understand. We are told real women do not expose their husbands infidelity because it will embarrass them (I hope this sounds stupid to you as it does to me, what I am getting here is- it is alright for a man to embarrass his wife by beating/cheating on her but shameful for the wife to call him out for betraying and hurting her.) We are to stand by them and of course, attack the young/ older women who we believe are a threat to our relationships and marriages but shy away from confronting the man. In modern society this could be in the form of an I am coming to you as a woman text.
I had a discussion with a colleague and we were talking about things that would have us divorce someone (God forbid but it is one of those discussions we have) and for me, it would be: cheating, molester, murder, abuse (all the abuses) and being gay. We stressed on cheating and she was saying how I would have to stay if he cheats because of the kids and because that is what men are like. I explained to her, that knowing myself I would constantly remind him of what he did. He could bump his toe on a stool and I would console him by telling I felt like that when he hurt me, only it was worse and in my heart. I do not think I am mature enough to stay if that happens, I will moonwalk out of that relationship faster than Michael Jackson on his 1992 tour. How about the kids you may ask- I leave because I love my children. I believe they deserve to be in an environment that is not toxic and where they are also respected and appreciated. They deserve to grow up knowing love does not hurt but it is patient, kind, truthful, is not rude, arrogant or envious.
3.“BE NICE”/SACRIFICIAL LAMB
For aeons, girls from a young age we have been taught to sacrifice for our children, husbands and practically everyone. We are taught to be nice so that we are liked and again-wait for it-deemed to be “real”. I personally prefer kindness to niceness due to the fact that with being nice- you are letting people walk all over you so you will be liked. However, with kindness, it is being friendly, considerate and generous. Kindness is more of a characteristic as niceness is a mere act. I believe niceness confides you into a box and it is more based on what people think/say about you rather than who you truly are.
We are told women should be nice, poised, soft, gentle and “weak”.I am pretty sure if you are old enough to be reading and understanding this-you have met women who have neither one nor any of the “characteristics” mentioned above. As a Christian, it is a daily process and the Holy Spirit has been working overtime on me to be gentle, kind and patient-not to be walked over but for me to be strong in my faith. However, in our (African) society, these characteristics are enforced on us so that we lower ourselves, shrink ourselves so we do not intimidate the man. Urged to not speak up (be nice), to not argue (be soft), to not oppose or ask questions (because no man wants that) and not to do “manly” think because it emasculates the man. Allow me to call CRAP on this because these are things we are taught to get a man not to be a decent human being. Of course, these traits are good, acceptable, plausible even- what I disagree with is WHY we are taught to be like that. So that we are deemed “real women” – you are not a real one if you are outspoken (controlling), assertive (aggressive) or have more than your husband (emasculating).
I for one pray to be on the same team with my husband-not his competition or only his cheerleader. We sacrifice together (time and money), we stay/ take care of the children together (fathers do not babysit or are to be thanked for changing their own kids- they are supposed to take care of them). I do not want to be nice so that I am liked but I want to be kind because every human being deserves kindness.
We all want to be called beautiful-which we ALL are but we fail to see our individual beauty because beauty has been redefined. In this day and age, beauty is being light skinned, petite, long straight hair, curvy body, flawless skin, neon white teeth and a face beat for the gawds. I understand whilst these may be natural traits for certain people, it puts a lot of pressure on those who are not “blessed” with those features. Most women and girls have gone through an identity crisis trying to fit into the new “standards” of beauty. I too have gone through stages where I would cry, blaming God for making me ugly whilst others wake up looking like they just came from a Vogue photoshoot. I would scroll through Instagram or Facebook seeing all these women looking flawless with bodies to die for. I would also make the mistake of going through the comment section because there, people would be commenting on how these are real women. I would self-hate and think of how I am never going to be good/beautiful enough for anyone. It bruised my growing confidence and I had to go back to my never-going-to-be-beautiful-for-anyone cocoon. I still have those days but they are lesser than a year ago. I personally do not like make up (nothing wrong with it) mainly because most of my teenage years my face was swamped with pimples and acne and now that it is clearing up, I want to allow myself to love and embrace my skin and also because I can not put on makeup to save my life.
I believe every human being should be clean, well-kempt and smell good. Good hygiene is a form of good manners and it is healthy too. Whilst from a young age, we are told to be clean and look good for husbands – I am unlearning all this and learning to look good for myself. I wear things that make me feel confident, good and sometimes sexy (FOR ME!). I understand in our society, there are certain clothing items that are viewed as “thirst traps” for example, jeans, leggings and mini skirts. Apparently they are clothes that trace every inch of our different body types and they might tempt men and we should avoid this – I have a problem with this, for the sole reason that we have to be responsible for men’s actions (instead of telling girls to stop wearing certain clothing items, does it not make more sense to teach boys/men to guide their minds and hearts especially Christian men). From petite to plump, there are certain clothes forever body type that we are not permitted to wear (too revealing or tempting) or encouraged to wear (thirst traps) so we are deemed, real women. If you are a person who lives to please people or who wears certain clothes or puts on make up for men, please do not stress yourself. What I need you to do now is look at yourself on the mirror/ front camera/ reflection on your computer screen and tell yourself you are beautiful just the way you are.
The pressure of looking a certain way to match the criteria of being “wifey” material is so much, most women have resorted to taking matters into their own hands. Bleaching, taming natural hair, endless diets and procedures that do not even make sense, such as anus bleaching (yep, this is how the human race is slowly becoming stupid and extinct). Whatever shape, shade or height you are, God made you and said it was good – who then is going to oppose the Creator Himself? You?
Once in a while, I ask myself why I am a Christian-I make sure I am honest with my answer because one of my mantras is to never lie to myself because I will only be fooling myself. Whilst the answer has varied from wanting to go to heaven, wanting something to being one because everyone in my family is. I have grown to understand God is my Father who loves me, cares and hears me – not a vending machine. and Jesus is actually brown with hair like wool. ( see Revelations 1 v 13-15 and if you find it hard to believe, let us resort to geography and ponder on where He was born and the ethnic group He was born into). The environment I grew up in presented Jesus as a white man with blonde hair and blue eyes and God as a white bald old guy, with a long silver beard who was waiting to just punish me. I grew up scared of God because hell was preached more than Jesus’ love and grace. I was fearful of God and on top of that, I was told for me to get married and be a strong African woman-I had to be prayerful and godly. How was I suppose to pray to someone I feared but not know, I did not know. My prayers were fuelled with fear rather than faith. I was constantly told a woman’s prayers to hold a household-her husband and children. Being taught that a woman had to pray more than a man (my mother’s prayers are not going to save my soul.The grace of God and my relationship with Jesus are what strengthen me, the same way they strengthen every human being male or female).
Women are taught to pray for husbands and marriage before they are taught to have a relationship with Jesus. We go to church 6 days a week, serve in the church, pay tithes and plausible members of society but we do not have a relationship with God. We only know of God on Sundays but during the week we are alien to Him. We put our Sunday best outfits and “show” how Christian we are but our hearts are calloused and vile. Our prayers are misdirected because we are not sure we are praying to. Like I always say, it is a process and you never really arrive. I would have appreciated if I was taught of the love of God and His grace more than going to hell if I talk back or disrespect a grown up by telling them no when I am uncomfortable.
I thrive to be a Godly woman because I love God and I want a relationship with Him. I want to seek His face and be more like Him. His word encourages us to seek His Kingdom first and all shall be given according to His will. Husbands come from God, they are not trapped by culinary skills, being light skinned or by being nice. I am confident in God not what I have been told will lure a man, especially basic skills which men and women should be well versed in. I am for submitting to my husband, even though now submission has been redefined to mean control. I understand submission in the example of God the Father and Jesus the Son. They are equal but have different functions- both their posts are essentially important but they just have different roles. Just like how a husband and wife become one and are equal but have different roles.
For me, submission is I am going to trust you to lead (us) because you have a plan, drive and God being the centre. And I believe submission is not controlled and when you are with the right person you will not mind them leading. So, no Auntie Noprah (an Oprah who gives bad advice), I will not be submitting to a man who does not have a personal relationship with God, does not have leadership qualities or cannot cook. There is a fair chance we will send him back to his father’s house to be taught good home training.
So to all the women, we are all real as long as we are breathing. Find things that you like and love to do for you. Do not plan your life around marriage, for all you know you have been called to singleness. It is His will after all