I thought it wise to reintroduce myself (honestly, it is because I have writer’s block- I know it is said to be a myth but my creative bulb is out at the moment) as I have noticed my “About Me” page barely has anything about me and I saw it suitable for those who read and follow my blog, to get to a sense of who I am and who I am becoming. First and foremost, of course, Hello and how are you today? My name is Rudo Diana Mazvita Manyere, quite a mouth full but you can call me Rudo which literally translates to Love in English. I am a Zimbabwean, born and raised- I am of the born-free generation; those born after the liberation struggle. We are characterised as entitled and “disrespectful” when we question the system but that is a conversation for another day.
I am the middle child and I come with most of the characteristics “bestowed” upon a child who is not a mistake (I joke with my siblings about this, do not try it with yours). I am learning to show affection and build friendships with my siblings, I understand for some this might seem odd, but as I am maturing I see a pattern where siblings do not even see eye to eye. This is due to differences and misunderstands or something I might not understand but I have committed to being there and being present as much as I can (or circumstances allow me) for them. They are my first best friends and my original day ones-LITERALLY. I pray God strengthens our bond and we love, rejoice, fellowship and be patient with each other, without reproach (same with my parents). Just in case you are wondering what my siblings look like, they all look like me but we range from whitish chocolate, caramel and dark chocolate- me, of course, being the chocolate.
For as long I can remember, I have always loved school- the learning part but not the waking up at 5:30 am part. The idea of learning and knowing amuses me. I amslightly intrigued by how people think and dialogues-its sounds strange but I enjoy seeing people engage in conversation (though I rarely partake unless invited), what they say and how they say it. I think this is why I am drawn to writing, I love the idea of creating something in my head with different characters, different ideologies and different discourses. Writing is my escape, my happy place where I do not have to follow a certain structure or any rules. It is not always good nor is it always bad but I enjoy the growth and the reassurance of knowing I can improve.
My relationship with God is very essential. I slack ALL of the time- I mean daily. I struggle with building and being strong in my faith. It is a daily process which I do not always enjoy but need-the pruning being the excruciating part. I struggle with my spiritual life on a daily basis but I am forever grateful for God’s grace. He saw it fit to send His Son to die and love me unconditionally without failing me. I fail to understand how God is patient with me when I run from Him, how He still loves me even when I disobey Him. He is the best part of my life and I am made in His image. This revelation has helped me fathom that my identity is not what I have or what I achieve-but it is in Who created me.
I have struggled with low self-esteem from a young age and I have always thought my identity is in how people think of me. It took me a while to step out of that mentality, to accept myself for who I am. It is a daily process getting to love myself in my natural state but I challenge myself to face the reality of who I truly am not who I want to be seen as. It has been a challenge loving myself with short hair and without thinking I look like a boy or ugly. I still have days I do feel that way, but I am reminded whose image I am made of. I do not like taking pictures because I always feel I look awkward and my posing skills are way off, its so sad. I am a dark-skinned, head-strong (often confused with stubborn but there is a fine line between the two), beautiful, witty and smart (let’s not argue about this). I am getting to know my own strengths and submitting my weaknesses to God-which include control and fear of the unknown. I LOVE to read-I have started a book collection which comprises of different genres; and in the meantime, I am reading Becoming by Michelle Obama (my day book) and Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan, which is the last book of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy (my night book). I aspire to be a screenwriter/writer and I pray about it every day. It is not a career path that is accepted nor recognised as a “job” in the African community-so I am actually a disappointment to some of my elderly family members.
I am quite outspoken about certain issues that affect my day to day life, for example; racism, inequality, discrimination, etc. I subscribe to the notion that people are the same (you do not need to be Einstein to know this), and if you feel you are superior based on the colour of your skin or bank account; then I seriously recommend a MasterClass on How To Be A Human Being With Common Sense. I have been told I am uptight (which I might be depending on your point of view, for example, I do not believe in any form of physical contact before marriage), stubborn and all the name calling that comes with not abiding by everyone’s rules. I think I am a pretty funny person though,I also love giving people gifts (which once got me in trouble with my father),I am fond of babies and toddlers but only if I can give them back to their parents, amused by animations (my favourite movie genre),I love the idea of travelling (its an idea because my bank account will not allow me to be great), I am a pretty good friend-I commit to my friendships and I try to put in work as in any relationship and I love sorbets (I do not have a sweet tooth).
I hope this helps you to get to know me a little better and you might also tell my energy and views from my posts. Someone told me some of my posts sound angry- of which they do because I do get angry at how people are treated and how I am “advised” not to “act” angry because I do not want to be labelled an angry black woman. When the shoe fits, I happily strut in it but I won’t kick you though- maybe nudge but not kick (I cannot fight).
I do not really know how to close off this post, so till I post again.BYE!
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”.
(Image from Google)
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.
(Image from Google)
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
(Image from Google)
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
(Image from Google)
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.
(Image from Google)
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
(Image from Google)
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.
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
I know the heading is quite corny, I am quite terrible at topic so will let this one ride. Just a quick update of the books I have read since the last update, a couple of months ago.
1.I’m judging you.
This book has life hacks and gems-I like calling it “the guidance to common sense”.It has made me laugh and question my whole entire life at the same time. She talks about love, fame, religion and race. All the things no one wants to talk about but are always thinking about. I would recommend it to anyone going through a breakup or you just want to challenge your mind- GO FOR IT!!. Luvvie Ajayi also has a podcast with Yvonne Orji (one of my all time favourite actress and African public figures) called Jesusandjollof. Funny, inspiring and them sharing there testimonies have me believing my glow up is just around the corner. Try it out.
2.Maya Angelou’s Autobiographies.
Maya Angelou’s is truly a phenomenal woman-her life story showed me that if you are born for greatness, even when you lose focus-greatness will find you. From being sexually abused at 9, having a baby at 16 years old and to being a pimp and a prostitute at 18 (just in case you a gobsmacked and out of words-brace yourself because there is more!). Her 7 series autobiography will leave at the edge of your seat and reading slowly because you do not want it to end. I first saw Maya on Sesami Street and even though I have never met her-after losing myself in her world, I can say I feel drawn to her resilience and sassiness. Reader discretion is advised because you might never rise from your seat.
3.Martin Luther King (Autobiography)
This man made me feel as if I was not “saved” enough. I was just taken back by his compassion and level of forgiveness. After white extremists bombed his home numerous times, he chose forgiveness. Now, I do not know about you but if someone was to come for me and my family threatened and proceeded to bomb them? Personally, as a functioning human being, I would go through a spectrum of feelings but best believe forgiveness is not one of them it might not even be in the top 100. I understand why he was exclaimed and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
It is a good read and it urges you to self reflect especially as a Christian. At one point his love and tolerance had me asking if I am really a Christian? I will just say Christianity is a process and a journey.
4.Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.
I have read each and every published book and watched every Ted Talk and Conference video by Chimamanda. She is one of millennials greatest minds (in my books and brain) and she is fearless. I love how she delivers common sense like something we never knew we needed until it was “given” to us-like Facebook.
She inspires me to be bold and not to wait to be like for me to feel important. This book is like a sequel to We should all be feminists but it is more detailed. If you are a fan of common sense, read it and if you do not like it-keep reading, you won’t die.
5.Trevor Noah: Born A Crime.
I was first introduced to Trevor Noah by my best friend in High School when she lent me his stand up DVD. My friends and I became obsessed every statement had to have a Trevor quote or joke. I fell in love with his work and now having to read about him shows he is as African as I am. He talks of the struggle of growing up mixed race and he never fit in, poverty, identity crisis and his first heartbreak. It is funny and stirring at the same time.
I find myself laughing out loud and holding my chest at the same time because the stories are that good, especially the story about Fufi. It is one of my current collection which includes the other books on the picture.
This year I have dedicated to biographies especially by black/African writers because they are who I relate to. On my list are:
1.Shonda Rhimes: The Year Of Yes (because I love her mind and I want to be like her but on the African front).
2.Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart (because he is the greatest African writer of all times and I am diversifying my reading, touching all parts of Africa)
3.Frederick Douglas: Autobiography (he was an ex-slave who taught himself to read and write, helping other slaves to escape and he forgave his slave master!Reading is really revealing how I have a problem forgiving, you know?)
4.Shingi Mavima: Pashena (There are not a lot of Zimbabwean writers going big and it is always refreshing to read something that brings you back home even when you are miles away from home.)
5.Reni Eddo-Lodge: Why I No Longer Talk To White People About Race (talks about real issues in the UK and how racism is a very much alive.And to think it was a blog post which turned into a Sunday Times Bestseller book!I mean!!)
Initially called “For the men” for the sole reason of not being gifted in the good-post-heading-department, I decided to add a little pizzazz and name it “Dear men, it is human to have emotions”. Which I know sucks and does not have a kick to it, but I think it is an improvement.
Anyway, in today’s post, my goal is to try and convey the dangers of toxic masculinity and the dehumanisation of boys/men in our day to day lives. This might not apply to you but by reading this you might end up changing how you conduct with others (especially those of the male species) and how you can help. We live in a world where the symbol of masculinity and strength is portrayed by being fearless and emotionally unscathed. I grew up with this mentality too; expecting those of the opposite sex to be “manly” which in my head looked like James Bond-macho, driven and had his emotions “under control”. Looking back at it now, I am strongly of the notion that men are not COMPLETELY opposite to women. Yes, there are physical attributes and biological contrast e.g hormones and all that- however, we are all human and we all have emotions.
I was one of those girls who constantly nagged and told most of my male friends and family to man up! To be honest, I did not know what it meant but it was a phrase I used as a weapon to silence them when they tried to open up or show their humanity. I now cringe at that phrase because I now see the damage it causes and the way it reduced them. I profusely apologised to those I victimised in this way, they might have thought little of it but I meant it.
Being a person who tries to understand people before passing judgement; and also knowing that people are the way they are because of past experience-good or bad, I decided to pay more attention to the men in my life. I fail at times but I do my best to try and be in other people’s shoes (they might not always fit but I try to walk a km or two). This post is mainly based on that attribute and what I have learnt from the men in my life- from my father, brother, cousins and friends (acquaintances included). I am no psychic or the great oracle of knowledge and wisdom for all of humanity- but having spent over 20 odd years around and with the opposite sex, you tend to pick on certain things which are/caused by the root of something. I will share some of the things I have seen affect men around us, be it consciously or subconsciously, mentally, physically and spiritually. I will shed more light on 5 things which I will try to elaborate on.
P.S: This might not apply to everyone but maybe it can help someone you know.
Depression is a common and serious illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Though being confused with being a white people’s disease or weakness by most Africans- it has taken too many lives to be characterised as a mere issue. More than 6 000 men commit suicide due to depression every year and the ages range from 23-69. There are not many mental health clinics which cater to men nor are their programs that mainly focus on the mental well being of males in general. Men from a young age are taught to mask their emotions and get over situations that cause permanent damage, for example, rape and domestic violence to name a few. They are taught never to cry from a young age-“Do not cry, you are a man. Men do not cry. Man up”, they are told to sweep serious issues under the rug and just go about with life because it is what it is. They can not talk about their emotions, issues or plights because men are supposed to have it all together. This has caused a large number of men to lack communication skills or struggle with showing affection.
Most young men (especially Africans) do not have people to confide in- be it their fathers, pastors or any positive male figures. I was shocked and disheartened when one of my male friends told me he did not have a male figure to confide in, I am his friend to a degree and he does confide in me but I understand I will never fully understand his plights due to gender differences. I then resorted to ask the majority of them, if they have friends they go to, who do not laugh at them when they confide in them, who advise them and who they can openly cry in front of (crying is healthy, especially that one that leaves you with mild headache and puffy eyed-highly recommended for both sexes). Only three of them confirmed they had such friends but who would laugh after the situation had been dealt with (which I do not think I would personally appreciate but hey, each to their own). After that conversation, I realised not all men/ boys have positive role models to look up to and as time goes on, they end up looking up to people who are broken and damaged as well. I can imagine how frustrating it can be, to be told to be something you have never really seen a positive example and still being expected to be one. I believe this leads to frustration, anger, stress as well as depression and the fact that you can not express it is even worse. Just imagining it makes me angry and defeated at the same time, I get a glimpse of how most boys/men feel on a daily bases and try to conceal it too. It is not healthy and should never be defined as strength, that is no way for anyone to live. We are bound to live life abundantly and with joy and faith.
If you find yourself needing someone to talk to, try to talk with someone close to you and the might help you find help or they can help you. Also, pray for a friend with good counsel and who are also intentional ad committed. If you are in Zimbabwe, there is a mental health approach called the “friendship bench” which has elderly women counsel and talk to you about whatever will be troubling you. I believe it now caters for men as well (my apologies I could not find the link, but you can google wooden bench Zimbabwe and it will come up). Men, you really need to take care of your mental health; not for anyone but for you, because your life literally depends on it.
2.GENDER EQUALITY/ FEMINISM
Feminism sounds like a cuss word these days and it has also been redefined so many times it sounds as if it is a weapon of mass destruction against men. From what I understand, feminism is about equality but at times I fail to understand it because I do not completely agree with some of the things that are used to define it nor do I shame those who do. I personally believe in being equal but with different roles, I believe in submission to my husband (submission is not controlled nor oppression practised in God’s way) and I also believe in independence, I believe in being a career woman and a parent too, I believe in working for my family and providing for them and I believe in my husband taking care of our kids, because he is a parent and I believe in spoiling my husband as well as letting him unknowingly surprise me with shopping sprees charged to his card of course. So you see, equality.
On a more serious note, I understand why most men see equality as defiance against their nature. Men are raised to be providers, to be honoured and respected overtly, with reverence and grandeur. Most African men are raised to “receive” more than give- they are taught to expect a wife who gives them their all without question, who obeys them, cater to their every need, who is forgiving and whose strength is in how long she can put up with their “miscalculations” and will not accept anything less. I disagree with this because you can see the abuse underlining these “qualities”. At the same time, most men have grown in this kind of backgrounds and some of them do not know any better. Whilst this is not an excuse to be a jerk and menacing person, I can understand to a degree how hard it is, to have to learn something new after having to master something opposite to it, since birth. It can be hard, patronising even but very much possible. It is not about competing about which is the better sex but about us being equal in our differences. How women can be good at being engineers and men at being chefs, how women can be CEO’s and men can stay at home dads without shaming or being ashamed.
I do not believe equality is gender reversal as most people now see it, which I think is very petty by the way, but a way of men saying- we see you, and we respect you and women saying, we see you and we acknowledge you too. It is not to degrade men or see them as inferior nor insignificant. If it is still hard for you to comprehend and strongly believe and taught that women are inferior and insignificant; I reckon the next section is for you.
3. DO BETTER
Yes King, do better; you are more than where you came from or how “unconventional” your upbringing was. We all come from families who have differences and ways of life, however, I do not think to blame your mistakes or misconduct on how you grew up becomes old after a while. It could be how you never grew up with any examples of positive role models or how you came from an abusive household; doing better is a daily process but one which is worth it. It is easy to blame our backgrounds and dysfunctional families for all the things we do not want to face head-on (I am guilty on this too) but it is more rewarding and character building to do better and be better. For example, most boys/men have grown around environments where having multiple sexual partners or cheating is appraised, however, as you grow and realise your self-worth; you tend to realise your worth or masculinity is not based on your body count but who you are in Christ. It might seem feminine or unmanly to talk about self-worth as a man but hear me. After having a chain of girlfriends, sleeping with them and discarding them to be esteemed a legend amongst other men, do you actually have peace afterwards? Or you adamantly stating you do not care, is it because you are actually unremorseful or you do not want to face your emotions? I can also imagine the burden of not being able to tell anyone how the toxic masculinity weighs on you and also not forgetting the venereal disease you might be carrying.
It might be how you conduct with adults or people in general, using profanity and derogatory language. Come on now, do better, I can suggest a manual guide on How to do better- The Holy Bible or for light reading, Luvvie Ajayi’s I am Judging You. I use it too because I have days when I just want to blame my past for being sour. Do better by hanging around people who encourage you and see your worth, do better by choosing kindness over prestige on juvenile things. Be better by believing you are better, be better by knowing you are important and worth a lot more than your mistakes. Bringing me to my next point.
4.HEY, YOU MATTER!
You might not hear this enough or it might seem as if it does not apply to you, but believe me, you matter. You might not see it or it might not make sense because of what you are currently going through, the expectations, bills, economy, unemployment, suicidal thoughts, heartbreak, family feuds- you name it, YOU MATTER. The fact that you are alive today means there is more in store for you the fact that you feel and hurt, means there is more to you. You might be entering into adulthood or going through a midlife crisis but whatever age you are, you matter.
I have realised that most men scarcely hear positive words. They are rarely told they matter, they are loved, they are important, they are missed or appreciated. Most are told maybe after doing or giving something. I am talking about speaking health, love, peace into our fathers, brothers and spouses lives. To show them that they matter, giving them our attention and time. I am learning to do this for my brother and I love how it makes him happy and content that he has someone who values him and reminds him frequently. I do not want him to grow up in a world where he feels to be a man is to be emotionally constipated. I want him to know he can love and be loved fully and freely, that he deserves the best things in life, that his mistake does not define him- just like every human being alike.
I want him to understand that telling his friend he loves them is not gay nor is crying feminine but a mere human emotion and act. I believe all males should be their brothers keeper- be it brother by blood, hood, crime or in Christ. Which brings me to my last point.
5. YOU AIN’T TRASH, IT’S JUST TRASHY BEHAVIOUR.
Though I have thought this more than I have said it, I have come to realise that by calling men trash, we are low key referring to ourselves (women) as trash cans. Well, for the obvious reason that we are the ones who birth them. I think it is just trashy behaviours, it might not be you, but it might be that cousin of yours who has a dodgy business every week (scammer) or that friend who like a different girl each day of the week (which also brings your character into question). It could even be an uncle who gets a girlfriend every time his falls pregnant because he feels his needs are not being met or it could be that homeboy who talks down on dark skinned girls because he feels they are inferior to light skinned girls or worst, it could be you being around it but not saying anything.
I believe no one is born bad and can not become good. If you struggle with trashy behaviour, let those closest to you help you in prayer and accountability. Pray, have someone to confide in and ask for the Holy spirit to work on you daily. Follow the examples of godly men in the Bible, David’s resilience in pursuing God’s heart but not his murderous traits; Solomon’s wisdom but not his trashy womanising shenanigans; Abraham’s faith but not his lack of trust in God’s timing but by all means, go all Jesus.
I understand only covered a fraction of the plights faced of a daily basis, but I hope this sheds light, to women too, that men go through so much on a daily basis. Some struggle with their relationship with God, some are taunted by generational curses and other mental health. As a Christian, I feel obliged to look out for my brothers in Christ, as I do for my sisters in Christ. To love them as I love myself, to respect them as I also want to be respected and to treat them as I want to be treated. So to all the kings out there, go be royalty- because you belong to the KING OF KINGS.
Ok, let’s get right to it without shying away or filtering, RAPE IS AN EPIDEMIC WHICH HAS RAVAGED THROUGH COMMUNITIES, DESTROYING LIVES BUT HAS BEEN IGNORED NONETHELESS!! It is a topic that is rarely or never discussed in an African household. It is treated as something that never happens or a bad omen which brings 7 years of drought and plagues. Growing up African, when rape (chibharo in Shona) was mentioned, it was never discussed and was always an open and closed discussion which was always followed by an insensible and stupid statement which I will point out. Numerous issues need to be discussed within the African community or any community as to how rape is inhumane and traumatic to victims. I have heard and read stories of women and men (yes, men get raped too) who after decades are still suffering from the trauma of the event.
In Zimbabwe, over 75% of the population has experienced rape in their lifetime. Be it as a child or as a grown up, rape has even been categorised and redefined to make it less menacing by blaming the victim or “normalising” it so that it is not dealt with. For example, in the Shona culture there is ridiculous and cruel traditional practise called chiramu, where when a man marries a wife with younger unmarried sisters, he is allowed to “play” with them because they are technically his wives. Whilst this to an extent makes sense, there are many cases where the man ends up sexually assaulting (let’s call a spade, a spade) and even goes on to prey on young children (paedophilia) all in the name of tradition. Many people have not spoken up because they are told it is normal or out of fear. I will outline some of the statements used to justify rape and “protected” the perpetrator.
1.”Why was she/he wearing that?”
(Image from Pinterest)
If you find yourself justifying someone getting raped by this statement, please revise your moral ethics and thank me later. What people wear does not make them “eligible” for rape. I heard this statement so many times growing up, at one point I thought it true until I began to think for myself. Rape can never be justified and it should NEVER be given the time of day to be justified! Africans (most) have a tendency and culture (yes, culture because it is something that has been believed on a large scale) of blaming everyone and everything but not the perpetrator. Whether someone decides to wear lingerie in the streets or the shortest skirt, that should not justify rape. One might ask-Oh, why then are they walking around looking like that? Ask them or look the other way, your neck will support you. You will be surprised to know that the country with the highest percentage of rape in India- and do you know what they wear-long saris which cover from head to toe LITERALLY. Why not attack the perpetrator rather than attack the victim who will have to live with this blaming themselves and might never recover from the trauma?
I understand how it is easier to blame the victim than confront the perpetrator, in most cases, they are respectable members of the family, community or even church so we avoid a scandal, but what about the life of the victim? What of their mental well being, trust, damage and dignity? Simple clothes such as leggings or cami tops (spaghetti tops) have been categorised as clothes that attract men and many women have refrained from them out of fear or “respect” of the male sexual appetite. CRAP! Why are men not being taught to get a hold of there appetites and how to respect all human beings (men and women) regardless of how they dress or carry themselves?
2.”She/he was drunk, so they deserved it”.
This statement may and will make sense to the majority of people and will be justified by, what were are they doing there? I personally do not think there is a place you go and ask to be raped nor does being drunk imply you are inviting someone to rape you. YES, when people get drunk they tend to act out of character but in recent years, there have been cases of people having their drinks spiked. Rape drugs are being used to lace people’s drinks without them realising it.
Many women and men have been sexually assaulted after being drugged and some do not remember the accounts of what led to such a heinous event taking place. Some are taken advantage of whilst unconscious and even after screaming NO! and fighting- they are still told they deserved it. This has resulted in most people no reporting or telling anyone because they already “know” it is there fault. NO!It is never the victim’s fault it is ALWAYS the perpetrators and there are no two ways about it. Little children are being intoxicated and taken advantage of- DID THEY DESERVE IT? Honestly, there is no way I would think or justify someone’s rape as there fault because of there state of mind. Shaming and blaming victims has created and bred more rapists and they keep getting away with it because it is always directed to the wrong person- the victim!
3.”What did you do?”
This statement has discouraged many victims not to come out and talk to someone. It implies that one has to do something to get raped. African culture is so quick to blame the victim it even ignores when the perpetrator went into the victim’s room and violated them in their own house or just smiling at someone, that will be “you doing something”. On Twitter a few months ago, #menarerapedtoo was trending and there was a gentleman who opened a fake account to share his story. It is sad he had to open a fake account and use an alias so he could feel comfortable and safe to tell his story. I understand his approach because there is a belief man CAN NOT be raped and they will be enjoying- because how else would it happen if they do not “participate”. This gentleman was sexually abused by his baby sitter (Sisi vebasa in Shona) and her friend. He recalled how they used to touch and play his private parts and say how he is going to be “gifted” when he grows up. I hate how I have to censor the gory details because it only makes the matter lighter. So for the sake of emphasis and justice, I will say it how he said it: READER’S DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
They used to touch my private parts and play with them saying I am going to have a big penis and make girls cry. He was only 9 years old. They would stick their fingers in my anus and I would around the house naked. They would take turns to touch and had me touch their private parts and have sex with me. I ended up thinking it normal and began to walk around the house naked when there were people around. My sexual appetite was triggered at a very young age, when there was no one around, I used a broomstick and would stick it in my anus. I began to think I was gay and became a sex addict. It has affected me so much that I only think of sex. I was and still, am afraid to talk to anyone about it because it will be praised that at a young age I was having sex with older women rather than see the wrong in it. I am now in my 20’s and still traumatised and addicted.
I was livid and saddened by his story, I thought of all the times people have said men can never be raped and how many young men had their sexual appetites triggered at a young age or at any age in this way! If you find yourself justifying this by saying or thinking- “Boys will be boys”. Please feel free to take several seats and keep quiet! Do you see how he was damaged and is still traumatised, he might never have a stable life and his sex life has been affected because he is now an addict. He thought it normal and I am pretty sure he was amongst those boys who were only known for wanting sex growing up. Anyone can see how damaged he is and how he might never recover because he can not talk to anyone about it because of fear and to an extent his gender will have him praised for sleeping with older women at a young age. He was a tween when he was introduced to sex, in consensual-but, of course, he must have done something, RIGHT?
4.”You will ruin (their) lives by this nonsense” / “How many times did it happen?”.
I do not know if the number of times something happens justifies the intensity and impact of something. Sexual assault or abuse cannot be justified because it happened once or only one part of the body was groped! The trauma for the victim is something that can not be measured. We can not say a person who was raped once is better than a person who was raped 5 times- TRAUMA IS TRAUMA! This is how rapist gets away with such horrendous acts. Victims when they finally get the chance to speak up, they are silenced again because they are made to choose the perpetrators “dignity” and stature over their own mental well being and justice. Victims are discouraged to speak up because they will end up ruining lives- What if the perpetrator has a family? Did the perpetrator not think of their family when they were abusing the victim? Why are you lying, do should never lie on grown-ups! What makes you think the victim is lying, should you not be relieved they thought of you as a safe person to confide in? What will people say? How is that the victim’s concern? How many times did it happen? If it only happened once it is nothing to worry about but tell me when it happens again then we will do something about. AND STAY AWAY FROM HIM/HER! When they come, go to another room and make sure you wear something that covers up everything. We do not want it happening again. *SIGHS*.
The culture of protecting the perpetrator must be stopped! Most of these perpetrators are the pastor, rich uncles, housegirl/boys, nice neighbours, brother or sister in Christ. We shy away from exposing them because we do not want to shame the family name or have people look at the perpetrators differently. Young children have been turned away so many times because they lie too much. Ma’am, Sir do not be quick to assume a child is lying just because “children lie”. I bet the person who came with that statement is a paedophile at best. Having people think children lie to get attention. NO! It is a cry for help. Pay attention to your children/nieces/siblings- not financially but emotionally, physically and spiritually. Be present in your children’s lives, be their confidant and friend (I did not say best friend, I know how African parents are allergic to being best friends with their children). Do not protect the perpetrator and ruin more lives by silencing the victim.
5.”But they are your husband/ boyfriend/ father/ mother/ friend, how can they rape you?/ “What did you expect?”.
Yes, your boyfriend/ partner or husband can rape you. It might not make sense because you love them, you live with them or you have had sex with them before. If the person says no either with their words (shouting, politely declining, screaming or saying no once) or with their body (pushing your hand away, hiding, covering themselves, sitting away from you or protecting their private parts with their hands etc) and you go on to have sex with them anyway- THAT IS RAPE! There is a misconception that you can only be raped by people you do not know- a husband/ wife can rape their spouse. I know one might refer me to study 1 Corinthians 7 v 4 and have me revise what I have stated. Yes, a wife does not have authority over her body nor does a husband have authority over his-meaning they both do not belong to each self but to each other. And Ephesians 5 v 31 goes on to say they are ONE-meaning one mind, one soul and consult each other before coming to a decisions-CONSENSUAL. Both have to agree and if one says no, though the one saying no does not belong to oneself- the one with the authority over that body must be in agreement so that the ONE is not divided. It takes time to understand but what I am getting at is if it is not consensual it is wrong.
In the Zimbabwean community many young women and men have been forced or “persuaded” into sex by being told they knew they wanted it, they were just playing hard to get or they wanted it but were shy to ask for it. For example, a guy will keep persisting to have sex with his girlfriend to show that she loves him or because he knows how “women act shy” when sex is mentioned even when they want it. The girlfriend might have told him no repeatedly but no, she is probably saying that because she is shy and does not want to seem like she likes sex too much. Sir, if you love your girlfriend can you not wait? Love is patient, gentle and understanding after all. She might sleep with you out of fear of losing you (we need to talk about self-love and self-care) or pure fear. Another example, a girl might throw herself at a guy even after he has said NO! repeatedly, then the girl goes on to cry and blackmail the guy by telling him he doesn’t love her or she is not attractive enough for him anymore. And because it has been stigmatised that male attention/ love equates to sex, the guy ends up giving in against his will. Ma’am, will let this man love you correctly? He probably wants to make you a wife first then do all you want in love and respect.
Some people are raped by their own parent, yes as terrifying and unnatural as it sounds and seems, it is happening. Who do you tell when the person who is supposed to protect you is the one violating you? There are many stories of people who have thought it normal to sleep with relatives because they grew up in it and no one was to tell them it is wrong- incest. It is a scary world we live in and these traumas have ruined lives-people have committed suicide, many are church hurt, self-hate, trauma, mental breakdown and addicts. We are quick to blame demons in the victims before we sit down and talk to them without judgement or seclude them from our social gatherings. Victims are the ones who suffer and it just does not go away- people in their 70’s are still afraid to come out because perpetrators know how to cover their tracks. They threaten the victims family or they even go to the extent of creating ridiculous stories of how they will kill themselves if the victims say anything. Some will even blame the victim of being too good looking they could not resist.
Young men and women should be taught about self-love and self-care at a young age. They should know they can speak for themselves and be taught that their voice matters and as parents/ guardians, we should be welcoming and talk to them. It is not a white thing to be present and involved in your child’s life it is a human thing and logical to do. If you are an adult, have a group or a person to confide in and talk to, I know in this age and time of “cutting people off”, it is tempting to be your own person- which is good but for your life’s sake- have someone to talk to and trust. And also be that person someone trusts and confides in. Someone needs your help!
There seems to be a misconception that when an individual or a family, move from a third world country to a first world country- life is perfect and lived without caution or worry. This fallacy has led to most (not all) people in the diaspora to portray an image that makes it seem as if we DEFINITELY are living our best life all the time.
Even though there are those who are living their life to the fullest daily, this does not apply to everyone in the diaspora. Whether you have a red passport (code name: British Citizen) or you do not, life still kicks you in the shins as much as it pleases. Being amongst the majority of those who do not live life to the fullest daily, I will give you a glimpse of the day to day struggles (and pros) of living in the diaspora as an immigrant or as most natives like to call us; foreigners.
Yep, there is racism in England. I know right, SHOCKER! One would not notice until you really paid attention. You are possibly thinking, “Oh if you really have to pay attention is it really racism or you are just nitpicking?” or, “Is it not suppose to be as obvious as racism in America?”. Well, I am glad that has crossed your mind because I will gladly explain to you from experience. Racism in England is very subtle (amongst white people, do not get me started on Asians), it could be thought of as ignorance or innocence (the former yes however the latter, not so much) but it really is racism. As much as the country believes in tolerance, acceptance and equality, it is never really practised.
There comes a time in every breathing African (or black person, I am speaking from an African’s point of view because that is what I relate to) person’s life when we encounter someone who tells us how “articulate” or “well spoken” we are. This is usually said with such amazement and disbelief as to how an African can sound so well educated. It is mostly said as a compliment, like Oh my goodness, look at this black person correctly forming a full sentence in English. It is always followed with, where you born here and if not, how long have lived here? While these might seem like harmless and innocent questions, 98.4% of the time the questions lead to being asked if you are here for work or study (code for let’s hope you are not here forever) and of course, when will you be going back home. These questions are carefully orchestrated and accompanied with a smile, they would not want you to feel uncomfortable or have you think there is an agenda to the questions, now would they?. However, because you are a person with good home training, you answer with your articulate tongue and of course, a smile. Praying they do not interrogate you with sly questions of whether you are a citizen or you are here on a visa because that is usually the decider as to whether you are worth the tolerance or not. And most times, either way, you are not.
If it is not the 21 question routine, it is the look. The “look” of disapproval and disgust, that will put you in your place and make your black body feel pale making you wish you were invisible. It is a look which has questions and answers at the same time. “Who do you think you are? You are just a statistic from a country (or continent, apparently Africa is a country to most) ridden with poverty and primitive thinkers. If not the look, it is a White/Asian person choosing to stand rather than sit next to you on a bus, even if it is a 30 minutes journey. The worst part is, they never tell you that they do not like you however they smile and call you all names of endearment but behind your back, it is a different story. Personally, I think that is worse kind of racism (yes, it ranges from low to high BUT STILL IT IS RACISM) than someone who clearly says they are racist. I do not like it but I appreciate the honesty because now I know I have to avoid you.
You might then be thinking, if you do not like this why not go back to your country so you do not have to face this or complain about it? First of all, I am a global citizen so the whole world is my home. And just to give you a quick world history lesson, I am a Zimbabwean formerly known as Rhodesia- a British colony conditioned to think it belonged to Britain. Most of our history mainly concentrates on us being a British colony and it is what we have accustomed to. They wanted us to be British (civilised *inserts rolling eyes emoji*) so bad we were stripped of our identity, confidence and culture. Now that we are coming to join our long lost white brothers and sisters in the “motherland” – they have the nerve to tell us to go back home? PETTY!
There are also those who tell you England doesn’t feel “English” anymore (code name: too many foreigners, we do not feel at home). And those who literally do not have time for you and make sure you do not forget that you are black (white and the majority of Asians.) I think I will have to write a post only focusing on racism in this country to further stress my point and perceptions. And yes, whilst not ALL of them are racists, there are still racists and I frankly think and BELIEVE it is something to be talked about.
Nevertheless, these are some of the struggles immigrants are facing on a daily basis, if not hourly. You never really feel like you belong, you get comfortable yes, but you always have to look over your shoulder. It took me over 3 years to feel comfortable here, but I know I might never be completely welcomed. HELLO!!BREXIT!! It really gets scary because your future is always uncertain and this leads to my next thesis of what people in the diaspora go through.
Depression is real- I would like my fellow Africans to say this with me: DEPRESSION IS A REAL THING AND IT NEEDS TO BE TALKED ABOUT! I know this because I grew up having no knowledge of what it was or what it did. It was labelled as a white people disease- only for the feeble and faint at heart. I grew up believing black people always need to be strong and if you find yourself feeling low or like the image on top-you just had to snap out of it and get on with life. As much as that seems to be the safer option- of burying our feelings and blame a demon or evil spirit. It has to do with mental health (and no, mental health does not mean you are crazy- we are supposed to take care of our mind. We need to take care of it as much as we take care of our bodies- if not more). Depression has been stigmatised as something to be ashamed about, it is treated like a bald spot on a lady’s head. You may cover it with hats, wigs and weaves, but until you find the cause of it, it will never go away.
Depression is not always not wanting to get out of bed or being paranoid. Sometimes it is smiling on the outside but screaming help on the inside. It is telling people (even back home) that everything is alright when you feel like you have to purpose in life. Trust me, I have been there- I have had days when nothing makes sense at all, months when I withdraw myself and not talk to anyone. Sometimes I lose my appetite and sometimes I can not stop eating. I tell myself I am having one of “those” days, but it turns into weeks and sometimes even months. I know most people might think, “You are too young to be depressed, what are you stressed about, boy problems? “YOUNG PEOPLE GET DEPRESSED TOO- depression has no age nor gender, it attacks and slowly eats you alive from the inside out. I have heard so many stories of people in the diaspora who have had depression but can not talk about it or confide in family and friends because they do not believe it exists or (brush it off) you are being too emotional.
As much as depression has to do with emotions, it is not being “too much in your feelings” or too emotional. It is when the brain becomes ill and it needs attention, in the form of a friend to confide in, a professional therapist and when it is severe, please do not be ashamed to seek professional help. Most people can not tell people at home because they have it worse. You have no right to complain because “at least”, you have it better.YES, that is true financially we might be better but that does not erase the fact that we are also met with real issues that have nothing to do with money. Whilst we are on the subject, as much as money brings comfort and has its perks. IT IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE. People have died from exhaustion because of working 24/7 LITERALLY. They have to pay rent, buy essentials, save and send money back home at the same time. It is stressful because some people do back to back shifts where they sleep 2 hours A DAY. There is so much pressure and of course, you end up pushing yourself as the strong black person you are- however slowly but surely, it will catch up with you, physically, mentally if not both. People back home do not liaise with you, I think it is even worse for those who are by themselves here. Most people will stop answering their phones because they feel they are all they have got- they might stop replying to messages or Facebook pokes. And while it might be easier for those at home and here to think they are ignoring you- at times they are not, they are probably lying coiled in their beds feeling hopeless and needing someone to talk to or they are probably sick and tired of you asking for money every Friday. Which brings me to my next thesis.
For those who might not be familiar with the term BLACK TAX, I will kindly explain it. Black tax is when you share your salary with your family (including extended) and making sure they are well- taken care before you think of yourself. Whilst this might be viewed as a characteristic of love and compassion (which it is true for those who do it because they want to and not because they are afraid to be dishonoured), for most, it is a burden. Before you come to the conclusion that I am saying do not help the family- please take a seat and let us discuss this. Let us say hypothetically, I am the first person in our clan to move to the diaspora (for work/ school). Of course, it is expected of me (and I also expect the same from myself) to send money to my family (parents and siblings). In doing so, I am also preparing for my future (male or female, please ladies learn to save for your own future, not wait for a “husband” ) and I also have rent, essentials, transport and spoil myself(I am worth it, let’s not argue). For me to be able to pay for all this and take care for those at home, I need to work and for me to keep working I need to rest (self-care is important people). Obviously, one job is not going to cut it, so I need to get another job to try and balance things out so that we are all comfortable. I gladly inform my family that I now have a second job so we all live a little better- next thing, I receive a phone call that my uncle’s second wife’s cousin needs a pair of shoes or needs tuition for school.
I can not say no because, first off I am the breadwinner of the WHOLE family it is expected of me to “help” out and secondly, how do you say no to an African without being labelled inconsiderate and selfish. You will be constantly reminded how that aunt used to change your diapers when you were three months and shame on you if you do not remember that. That will be your label for life, while there are others who really do not want to help (one should not be cornered to help because I subscribe to giving because your heart is pushing you and you actually can help, not to be liked or make people happy while you suffer- you are abusing yourself), there are some of us who are struggling to make ends meet. People are LITERALLY dying from exhaustion because the wage of being abroad and working is a black tax.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not saying do not ask for money when you desperately in need but be considerate too. Give your relatives a chance to save first, invest and make something for themselves THEN they are able to take care of the whole clan. It makes no sense that as soon as the person lands, you are already asking for the latest phone because your current one makes you feel left out (well get a job or wait until you get a job to get the iPhone X which I do not even have) or a pair of the latest Jordans.
I would encourage the people in the diaspora to save MOST of their money. Yes, send money back home but make sure you are saving for your future and for those back home too. If one saves and builds something and they are financial literal, they will end up even helping those at home to go abroad and start a life for themselves. Black tax is real and it is a burden-the black community ends up being in a cycle where no one ever really succeeded because before we even get the money, it has already been spent. So it is always 2 steps forward 3 steps back.
Culture shock might be viewed as a minute issue when one moves to a different country. For most people, they seem to think it is an upgrade but personally, it had me question my manners at one point. Back home, we address elders with respect and you can not look them in the eye (no idea why, but you should never look grown-ups in the eye). Adults are never called by name and you can never be too comfortable to sit amongst them when they are talking. This is the culture had known to be correct and Godly all my life, however when I moved here I had a moment of culture shock (still do, like some elderly people do not want you to give up your seat for them because they are not “that old” (that could be a 98-year-old telling you that), so you brace yourself sitting whilst a grown person is standing *unsettling*). In most if not all Western country, one addresses people by their first name- Mr/ Mrs/ Miss are mostly for formal occasions. So you might HAVE to call a 78-year old by his name, Bob and a mother of 4 children with 2 grandchildren, Sally. It is not comfortable, it feels alien and unholy- but that is the thing, moving to another country is not so you feel comfortable but for the natives.
The dressing is another factor which has brought questions in my mind. Back home, morality was questioned due to dressing and manner rather than character. The reverse is true for the West, a person is judged by character rather than what they wear. To some extent yes, what a person wears speaks volumes however someone wearing a short skirt with red lipstick does not automatically mean they are prostitutes (come on fellow Africans and Christians) or always wearing long dresses and turtle necks mean you are modest. People wear for comfort and are not made to be ashamed because they decided to wear a skirt with a slip up to their hip. Personally, I think you should question WHY you are wearing something and if you are comfortable to have it on for the whole day, anywhere and anyhow. One has to adjust (if you want, it’s not forced but can be jeering at times) to this, and when one visits home they might dress that way because that is what they have become comfortable with my friend, do not think you will not have your whole life questioned. The safe option is to shop for “modest” clothes to wear when you visit home. I will be honest, living here has opened my mind not to think a person is “good” because they go to church 6 days a week and pay tithes on time but to question their character, despite age, race and gender.
Interracial relationships are something we have to accustom to-I rarely saw white people back home, seeing them court or marry each other was mind-blowing. I still find myself staring (rude I know) at interracial couples and smiling to myself because despite racism-love literally trumps all. I had to unscrew and change my mind and see that I am an equal to any living human being on planet earth. There are so many areas in which things are different from back home and one has to accustom to because, at the end of the day, the land is not for you to be comfortable but for the natives.
It is not always good or beneficial, the confusion and adjustments can lead to anxiety (one becomes uncertain as to whether they are doing the right thing or not), changing or altering your culture are always unsettling- it is a partial identity loss. Change of diet is a major factor, I have seen people who barely eat because their digestive systems do not go well with most foodstuff. One becomes irritable, ill and this might permanently affect one’s health.
Tolerance has become a characteristic of most immigrants. Having to agree or smile when opinions or behaviours you disagree with are being practised is something I fall short at. I am talking about tolerating someone asking if I have another name because my current one is too hard to pronounce. Honestly, I have one of the shortest names in the Shona vocabulary: RUDO. RU- (like how you say Ruth) and DO- (the sound a droplet makes when it falls into a body of water), yes it may take a while but please learn, the same way you learnt to say, Schwarzenegger. Sometimes you have to tolerate someone asking if you lived in caves and some even touch you to see if your “blackness” will rub off on them. I have had people stare at me, thinking maybe I will start shedding and become contagious. I have had people touch my hair and say it feels like a sponge (*rolls eyes*) and being told my behind is too big (well am I suppose to cut it off then?). You even have people who are shocked at how “pretty” (pretty is ok but I prefer beautiful, thank you very much) you are as if there are no beautiful people in Africa (*side eye emoji*). Most people tolerate this because your job or school results are on the line.
Whilst this might seem like not much of an issue, it is uncomfortable being seen as an object being touched or stared at. No, I am not overreacting and as much as most white people and Asians have never been exposed to Africa in its glory- I do not think it is excusable to go around rubbing on people and asking if they have lions in their backyards (hey, some people just might). GOOGLE IS NEVER BUSY and if not google, ask me to tell you about my country rather than just assume and making yourself look dumb. Now I am embarrassed for you and I am just smiling at you (feeling sorry on the inside) because I do not want to lose my job. This is the plight immigrants face, the West is so misinformed about Africa at times I get so angry when someone says Zimbabwe is in South Africa- not Southern Africa BUT SOUTH AFRICA. You have to tolerate someone asking if you speak African – oh why yes Rebecca, I did speak African but after coming here I have forgotten it so I mostly speak English which I am shockingly fluent in.
On a more serious note though, it is painful and worst seeing a black grown man/ woman laughing when they are being degraded and ridiculed. This obviously results in anger, low self-esteem (even older people have low self-esteem, SHOCKER!) leading to depression and that is not the way to live.
These are some of the real-life issues immigrants face on a daily. Life is not all roses (it has tulips and dandelions at most) all the time. Please liaise with your family and friends abroad- they need emotional, mental support and money from you too.BROKENESS (not a real word YET but you get it) KNOWS NO BORDERS!
Can I be honest? Can I be truly and transparently honest? I have a hard time trusting God. I know, tragic right but that is my honest truth. I FEEL like He has let me down so many times-trusting God are words I use to encourage others but never relate to. I FEEL like He has favourites who He gives abundantly and pays attention to and I am one of the black sheep who is given the crumbs and hardly any attention. I FEEL like this each time my hope is crushed and I have to piece it back together again-thinking, WHERE IS HE? DOES HE NOT SEE THIS? IS HE REALLY REAL? WHY ME?. These are the most frequent question that runs through my mind when I FEEL let down. I lose hope and I resort to self-reliance.
I take things into my own hands and deal with them on my own terms. I mean, if I fail or let myself down then I have me to blame. I do not have to wait for weeks, months or eternity-I CANMAKETHISHAPPEN!
I have done this so many times and have I succeeded fully in whatever I will be trying to do?NO!It frustrates me even more and I end up not knowing where to turn to. I throw myself a pity party and THINK of how I can not go to God because I am heavily tainted and unacceptable. I wallow in my failure-I let my disappointments soak into my soul and wash away any hope remaining. The fatal thing about it is, I actually like it, its comfortable and its satisfying for a little while.
This has been my dilemma for the last couple of months. I trust Him partially with the expectation of HIM letting me down. I do not give myself away COMPLETELY-I says it, type it and even like a post on Instagram when people encourage their multitudes of followers, but personally, I wrestle with it. I trust in God the same way I trust a friend who has let me down before(always have a backup plan, “just in case”). I always have to have some sort of control, I FEEL I have lost so much I just need something to hold on to and control on my own terms.
I have become conscious of the fact that how I feel and what God says are complete opposites. The reason why I was highlighting the words FEEL, COMPLETELY and THINK-is because God is not moved by my emotions or my thoughts. I do not have to stew in my emotions-because emotions are strongly attached to the flesh. It is human to be emotional, and we should be, but when it gets in the way of trusting God-it becomes destructive. It becomes a mini-god who we run to and believe over what God really says in His word.
Galatians 5 v 16-24~But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions.
This is one of my MANY struggles in my walk with Christ-I give into how I feel first before I believe what He says about me. So, I have decided to COMPLETELY trust Him in private and in public, when I FEEL like I should not or THINK I can do it myself. I am going to have faith that He will see me through as He said, and He will do it for me as He has done it for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I am sure He has been waiting all this while for me to just trust in Him-and understand that the closed doors I perceived to be disappointments-were just redirection. It is hard to fathom or accept but He does all things for our good. Christianity is dying to self each and every day and I am glad that He is perfecting me by forcing me to see my errors without abandoning or shunning me.
He is a good Father, even when I throw tantrums-He is patient with me, allows me to face the consequences of my errors but keeps holding me close. So this is literally me outing myself, confessing my shortcomings to my fellow brothers and sisters because after all His WORD says:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST, MOST TIMES THEY NEED REDIRECTION.
Today, we celebrate our kings from all over the world. The ones who have and the ones who are thriving to make it big in life. I will let their stories and joy speak for them.
Kareem was born on the 14th of March 2007, and he learnt his craft from watching others. According to his parents, his interest in art was piqued when they relocated. He watched as registered students drawing a composition of kettle and headphones, he stood at the corner and participated with them.
He is mastering hyperrealism painting, pen drawing, pencil drawing, wall art and other forms of art.
William Kamkwamba is an innovator, author and engineer. Now 30 years old, in 2007 he built a wind turbine to power a few electrical appliances in his family house in Wimbe, using blue gum tree, bicycle parts and materials collected from a local scrapyard.
Since then, he has built a solar-powered water pump that supplies the first drinking water in his village and two other wind turbines and is planning on 2 more, including one in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city.
Ramarni Wilfred is a young boy who has joined Mensa after scoring higher than Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates and Albert Einstein in an IQ test. Ramarni started showing signs of being a genius when as a child, his favourite book was an encyclopedia. He could read and write by the time he started reception at school and in 2013, at the age of 10 and still in primary school, wrote a philosophy paper on fairness that earned him a 2:1 and a mock Oxford graduation.
Maxwell Chikumbutso is a 27-year-old Zimbabwean who invented the world’s first ever green power generator which can produce electricity using radio frequencies. He has designed and built an electrically powered vehicle and a hybrid helicopter which uses six different types of fuel.
Having dropped out of school at 14 years old when he was a Form 2 at Kuwadzana High School, Maxwell has no formal training in technology or science, he has it all comes from revelations of blueprints and visions which he has used to formulate his inventions. He is the owner of the company SAITH Technologies.
In July 2017, he closed up shop in Zimbabwe and moved to California, USA. However, it is reported that after he made his announcement, he was never heard from again and he has actually gone missing.
I came across this picture on Twitter. There was not enough detail to research and write more about him but I could not add him to the list. This is a true definition of thinking outside the box. His furniture is amazing and so thought out.
If anyone has any details about him, please feel free to comment. The world needs to know about him and his incredible art.