Basic Girl

Chipo.

Chipo and Tonderai

(Image from Pinterest: Chipo and Tonderai as a married couple.)

P.S: Brace yourself as this is one of those “quite long” short stories.

I held her hand as she laid on the bed, snoring softly. I took in every inch of her face, the chocolate skin that masked her body, the once long and bouncy curls that were now patches on her oval shaped head. I traced her nose which I kissed each morning before she woke up, the full lips which produced malicious words when her brilliant brain could not solve a problem or when I could not understand what she meant, even after explaining it to me numerous times. The lips I loved to kiss, the lips that uttered I love you first before I was ready to say it.

I won’t lie, I was taken back by her boldness. Not because I did not know that I loved her, but because I was so used to the typical Zimbabwean girls who showed their feeling by being passive aggressive or ignoring you. Chipo was different. She knew what she wanted and she was never afraid to speak her mind. She made me uncomfortable, her boldness I could not fathom, her resilience and mysterious mental agility kept me wanting to unveil her for my own understanding. She was a breath of fresh air, but she suffocated me sometimes. I can never say I have fully known or understood her. She cannot be defined by one word. She is both an introvert and extrovert, shy and outspoken, kind and selfish, sweet and has the temper of two-year-old. She kept me on my toes, and I loved that, I still love it.

As I sit here seeing her weather away, I can not help but think God is playing a cruel joke on me, I can not stop thinking about the time I wasted looking for something I already had. I can not stop thinking about the first day I met her. It was a blind date, Mazvita had set us up. I had known Mazvita to like me for a very long time, but I never engaged. I do not know if she set me up with Chipo because she was genuinely wanted me to find someone or she was being passive aggressive, subtly telling me that she wanted me by making this move. Typical Zimbabwean girls, they can never say what they really mean. Haphazardly, Chido and I got along quite well. I took her out for ice cream, it was May but summer was still very much around although the breeze was cooler. She wore a dusty pink top that shaped her torso, had a red maxi skirt and yellow pumps. Her hair, God, her glorious hair, was big and free. I could not stop looking at her. She, well, at first she seemed a little shy but as I got to know her, it was not because she was shy, she was studying me.

” Tonde, you just don’t start yapping about around new people. You study them, sense their energies, then you engage.” She told me when we started dating. On our first date, I did all the talking. She asked questions here and there. My occupation, how I knew Mazvita and other basic things. We sat on a bench at Africa Unit Square, a bit clichè, yes, but I did not know where to take her. She would lick on her ice cream and observed the people in the park. Just across us, there was a couple who were having their picture taken. They were posing awkwardly, the lady was trying to sit on her lovers’ legs, but they were too short to support her bountiful bottom. We both involuntary laughed and looked at each other.

” So, how is this going for you so far?”, she asked me. To be honest, I was not having the best time but I was comfortable. I was not really feeling anything, to be honest, she was attractive yes, smart and creative but I did not have a flutter in my chest or sweaty palms. I was planning to drop her off at her house, delete her number and try my luck elsewhere.

” Well, it’s fun. Nothing beats sitting next to a beautiful lady and eating ice cream in a park.”, I said trying to charm her. She did not look amused.

” Hhhmm, so you think there is going to be a second date?”, she asked me so calmly, looking into my eyes. I was uncomfortable and to top it off, I was about to lie, which I am very bad at. I remember chuckling and looking away. What is going on here? I thought to myself. I had never been with a girl who was so direct, I was used to girls who would shy about and just do what they thought I wanted. They seemed to want to please me more than to also be pleased but this one was different and I was not equipped.

” Ehm, yeah, yeah. Of course.” I stammered, which made her laugh. I was confused but I laughed with her. The way she threw her head back as she laughed caught my attention. She laughed with the freedom of a child.

” You do not have to lie. I can tell you are not particularly enjoying this.”. I just smiled, I was a loss for words. I licked on my ice cream which was dripping on my hand, hoping for this awkward moment to pass.

” I am looking for consistency, respect, honesty and fun. What about you?”, this woman asked me as if we had known each other for the longest time. Like we had gotten to the stage of calling each other by childhood nicknames, but it was just our first date.

” Ok, uhm, I value openness, sense of humour and stability”. I said.

” Haa! Did you just say the same things I said using different words?”, she laughed, this time shaking her head. Touchè, she had caught me.

” Well, haha..”, I was a loss for words. She seemed to have called my bluff. She was studying me.

” Ok, I will give you another chance. Tonderai, what are you looking for? You know, using your own words this time. Not copying or twisting other peoples words.”, she said as she flashed her carefully arranged dentition. She had, she has a pretty smile.

Chipo And Tonderai

(Image from Pinterest: Chipo and Tonderai on their first date.)

” Alright, alright. I see what you did there. You are mocking me, aren’t you.”, I am not proud to admit it, but I was blushing. She made me blush but thank God for my dark skin, one could never tell but the dumb grin on my face betrayed me. We walked in silence to my car which I had parked a few metres from Herald. As we approached my car, I went over to open the door for her so I could drive her home. However the Council had other plans for me, they had clamped my car over a speeding ticket I had forgotten to pay for. She looked at me and shrugged. ” Kombi, I guess?”, she said as she closed the door. I smiled at her sheepishly, embarrassed by the Council exposing me like this and also the fact that we had to walk in silence again, annoyed me. She did not seem annoyed or embarrassed by the situation. From my history with Zimbabwean girls, a car was what made you graduate from a “maybe” to a “definitely”. She appeared not to be moved by the fact that we had to walk from 2nd street to Copacabana where she boarded her kombi.

” Do not worry,  I understand how hard adulting is. Trust me.”, she said as we walked past Angwa street, it was rush hour. Harare was its peak with cars hooting, drivers shouting and hwindis cussing in defence of their driver’s manoeuvring. I walked close to her, to protect her from the pickpocketers and waifs, who now prowled the streets hoping for a score, but mostly so I could smell the scent of lavender wafted around her. I do not know why I boarded the kombi with her, but in a few minutes, we were headed to Westgate where she lived. Our silence was filled by the raspy voice of Oliver Mtukudzi as he lamented Pindurai Mambo through the speakers of the kombi. Being the gentleman I am, I paid for the both of us. She was a bit hesitant but she let me pay. She sat by the window and I was wedged between her and a lady was talking on the phone tumultuously, it was as if she was in a tag of war with Mtukudzi, competing over who would be the loudest. We alighted at Westgate shopping mall and began to walk towards her house. She told me about her childhood, growing up an only child and how she was close to her family. She told me about how she was frantic about moving into her own place, but she had gotten used to it now, how she became to discover she loved art and how she was planning on making paintings that would be shown in some of the most popular galleries and museums.

” Even at the Louvre!”, she exclaimed as she stood in front of her door, her keys clutched in her hands. I was amazed by how she talked about painting and art, how her eyes widened and brightened, the excitement in her voice when she told me about her favourite artists and their patterns. I love how she lost herself in her imagination as she explained how much art had been her escape. We were bonding, we were now past the awkward stage.

” This is me.”, she said pointing at her door as if we had not been standing in front of it for the last 20 minutes. She looked at me and smile. She moved closer to me and leaned forward. After our bonding session and her teasing me earlier, I saw my way in and kissed her. ” What do you think you are doing?”, she exclaimed as she moved away from me. ” Well, you leaned in and I thought yo..”, I tried to explain myself. I had misread her leaning into her wanting to kiss me but she was leaning in for a hug.

” Well you thought wrong. I only kiss my husband wanzwa? I clearly do not understand how you thoug..”

” Hold on. Husband? Are you married and you had me take you out on a date in broad daylight?”

” No! I mean to say I am, well, I was saving my first kiss for my husband, now I.. mxm actually, please leave.”, she snapped at me as she struggled to unlock the door.

” Wait, aren’t you like 26 and you are telling me you have never kissed anyone?”, I asked her, making sure I was not misunderstanding her.

” Please leave.”

” Wait.”, I insisted, holding the door which she was about to shut in my face. ” Help me understand. You said you were saving your first kiss for your husband. Where is he?”, I could not fathom what she was saying. Was she in an open marriage? Was her husband Jesus? I had so many questions.

She looked at me for what seemed to be the longest time then heavily sighed. ” Ok, the thing is, I made a vow to God that I would wait until marriage to have an intimate physical connection with anyone.”, she said it so confidently and so matter of factly. I do not know why, but I laughed. I had never heard anything like that before. She was one of those girls who would use these tactics to play hard to get, I thought. She sneered and before I could explain myself, she slammed the door in my face. I knocked but I was reassured this was how the night was going to end by the key I heard turning behind the door. I stood outside her door trying to explain myself for a good 10 minutes, but the only response I got was her turning off the light on the porch where I was standing. With that, I knew she was not coming out.

I won’t lie, I was annoyed. The whole trip from Westgate to town, leaving my car on 2nd street and walking all the way to 4th street to get a kombi home to Masasa Park. I remember calling Mazvita to tell her how sensitive and uptight her friend was. ” I know you were trying to help and all, but please do not set me up with any of your friends,” I told her as I stood in the middle of my living room, shouting at the top of my voice. ” Wow, she really did a number on you, huh?”, Mazvita said at the other end of the line. ” She is just, I don’t even know what to say.”. I was not very sure why I was so annoyed by it, was it because she had not played to the beat of my drum or because she was hard to read. I too was a bit confused by how irritated I was by the whole ordeal. I thought of texting her and speaking my mind, but I got a hold of myself. She had clearly made it clear she wanted nothing to do with me, so I also wanted nothing to do with her. ” Ah, so if you don’t want me to set you up with my friends, pasara inini.”, Mazvita cooed on the other end of the line. I barely paid attention to her, my mind was still trying to perceive what had happened earlier. ” Haha, Mazvita so. You know you are like a sister to me, you will always be my girl, but these your friends. Please, no.”

For two months, I went on with my life. I did not try to contact Chipo ask about her whereabouts, but I could not stop thinking about her. I could not stop thinking about her, the images of her smile, free afro, gentile but confident air haunted my mind. I tried to go on dates with other girls, I tried to engage with them but I found them lacking something. They all talked about how they wanted to please their man and do whatever he wanted. What do you like? What are you looking for? I wanted to ask. I stopped going on dates and decided to be the bigger person and text Chipo. Technically, she had told me to leave her house but not her. So I still had a chance there. I had to know why she was still on my mind, even after I had blocked her on all the social media platforms to restrict myself from stalking her.

It was a Saturday morning when I decided to text her. I had nothing planned for the day, so I had all the time to plan out my strategy and see how this would work in my favour. I did a few push-ups and lunges before I texted her, I do not know why, but I felt like I needed to be ready for anything.

Chipo

She blue ticked me and never replied. I spent the day playing Fifa and checking my phone. I decided to be more intentional because I knew texting would not get me anywhere. For all I know, she would have already blocked my number. I decided to go to an Art Exhibition at the Rainbow Towers where Mazvita told me she was showing her art pieces. I saw her standing by one of her pieces, it was a painting of a man, big and strong, his muscled looked as if they were about to pop out of the canvas. He was shielding a woman from what seemed to be a falling building. The woman seemed to be putting a crown on the man’s head. It told a story. She had her hair tied in a huge bun, which I got to learn to do later in the course of our marriage. She had on a white shirt and black cigarette pants that traced every curve and black open-toe sandals. She looked beautiful.

I waited until she had finished her exhibition and when people had displaced. She was packing her things and was not aware of my presence. I stood behind her for a solid 3 minutes, thinking of what to say.

” Need any help?”, I blurted out moving in clear view. She looked up at me and sighed.

” Oh, it’s you. You have come back to laugh at me again?”, she said, shoving the remaining pieces in her carry case. She seemed to have a funny expression on her face, her lips were tight and her eyes opened wide. I could not tell if she was being sarcastic or serious. I did not want to take my chances.

” No, please. Hear me out. I am so sorry for laughing. That was stupid of me. Truly. Let me make it up to you.”, I genuinely meant it. I could not get her out of my mind, I had to know why I was so drawn to her, why a 30-year-old man laid awake in the middle of the night, thinking of what to say to a woman he had only met once.

” And if I say no?”, she said looking at me. She made me nervous, her confidence, it was her confidence and awareness of self that interested me.

” Well, I will keep showing up.”

” You know that is called stalking, right?”, she said, her head tilted slightly. Her responses always left me speechless.

” Ok, will you give me another chance, please. We can go anywhere you want, but let me make it up to you.”

” Hhhhmm, anywhere you say?”, she asked, her arms crossed around her chest, with her index finger tapping her chin.

” Yes, anywhere.”

” Ok, next weekend Sunday you can come to my church.”

” Ok, cool. You go to New Life right?”.

” That is correct.”

” Ok. That will be alright. First service, second or the third one?”

” All of them, I guess.”, she said shrugging. I did not want to protest to the idea of attending to all three services which first started at 7 am, the second at 11 am and the last started at 3 pm. I just nodded my head.

She took her bags and walked closer to me, I straightened up and looked at her. ” Just so you know, I am stretching my hand so we can shake hands. I am not leaning in forward for a kiss, ok?”, she said it with a smile on her face. I laughed as I also stretched my hand to shake her soft hand. I walked her to her car and helped her put her things in her car.

Chipo(Image from Pinterest: Chipo at her exhibition.)

I did not contact her the days prior to our meeting. I arrived around 6:50 and found seats not too close to the pulpit. I texted telling her I had arrived and had saved her a seat. She replied and asked me to look behind the pulpit. I turned my gaze towards the pulpit and I saw her sitting amongst people who wear the same coloured clothes as her. She was in the choir. She smiled and waved at me as she was fixing her microphone, I did the same as I took my Bible off the seat I had reserved for her and placed it on my lap. Well played, I thought to myself. This girl was putting me on a test to see if I was serious or not. She was going to be singing at all three services, which meant I would see her after 5 pm. Challenge accepted, I said to myself. What harm would come from hearing the gospel for the whole day? I sat through the first service quietly, listening to the Pastor who was talking about the joy of the Lord. The second service I pay more attention and even took the time to turn to my neighbour and reassure them, their blessing was around the corner. By the third service, I was standing with the church mothers who hollered “Hallelujah” and ” Hameni” when the pastor prophesied that we were no longer slaves of fear but children of God or that victory was already ours. I had even forgotten about Chipo.

We had an early dinner and talked about the service. I told her about how the church mothers reminded me of my mother who had died of cancer a few years back. How she always stood in the church throughout the service, shouting hallelujahs and amens back to the Pastor throughout the service.

” I am sorry about your mom.”, she said as I walked her to her car after dinner.

” It’s alright. Such is life hey.”, I said. ” Thank you for inviting me to your church. I really enjoyed the service.”

” No problem. You should come again.”, she said as she opened her car door getting in.

” Yeah, sure. Definitely.”, I replied, closing the door for her.

” I guess this is goodnight.”, she said as she started her car.

” Yeah, I guess it is. Goodnight.”, I said, thinking she was going to say something else, but she closed her window and drove off.

I stood in the parking lot dumbfounded. This girl had brought me to the church, which I enjoyed, but she had barely said anything in regards to us. I knew there was not much but just leaving me hanging like that was just cruel. As I was walking to my car, I heard a car slowing down beside me.

” Hey.” It was Chipo. She had driven back after driving off a couple of minutes ago.

” Hey.”, I responded, not sure what to say.

” Are you free next Saturday? I have an exhibition at the Meikles Hotel, and I would love it if you come.”, she said looking out her window. I was still walking but a bit slower now. I tried to come up with quick quip to make her laugh, but I could not think of any.

” I would love that.”, I responded.

” I would love that too.”, she said then slowly drove by me to my car. We bid each other goodbye, both in our cars. And from that day, it was smooth sailing.

I will not lie, we had our ups and downs. I remember the other day when she annoyed me. I am a person who hardly holds grudges, but I knew I would not be as lucky again and have her suck up to me. So I took the chance and faked being angry with her. I won’t lie, it was hard waiting that long to reply to her. I wanted to talk to her and text her all day, but I had to stand my ground. It was my time to shine.

Chipo and Tonderai

I know it was petty, but I saw my chance and grabbed it. We would later laugh about it when I told her.

We courted for 8 months before I proposed. If I am being frank, I took that long because I did not want it to seem as if I was rushing her, but I had been ready from the time we went on our third day. We would go out every Saturday night after her choir practise. We met each other’s friends and families. We spent most of our time with our friends, but Friday night was our day. After our 9-5’s, we would meet and chose a restaurant to go to or watch a movie. At times, we made plans on Saturdays and would drive to any direction and just explored the country. We made sure not to spend too much time alone. The day I asked her to be my girlfriend, she had told me we better not do anything sexual because she was more afraid of disobeying God than losing me. She made sure I knew her deal breakers and I told her mine. She told me if I cheated there would be no talking or reconciliation. Me betraying her like that, simply meant she did not mean as much to me. I knew she meant it and I believed her.

The day I proposed, we were at her house where she was putting the final touches to her art piece. I had overheard her tell her friends she did not want an extravagant but spontaneous proposal. ” I wouldn’t mind being proposed to on a Tuesday at 14:39 or something. I just want it to be me and my future husband, take in the moment of the new chapter and savour it.” So that is what I did. She always listened to 90’s R ‘n’ B when she worked, so that day I made a playlist which included all her favourites, Kci and Jojo, Boys II Men, Joe Thomas, Donell Jones and all the men and women who made us believe in love. She sang along, sitting on her stool, darting different colours on her canvas. I was waiting for Joe Thomas’ No one else come close to play so I could propose. She had been used to wearing headphones when she worked, but I had hidden them, so she listened to the music on the speaker.

Chipo and Tonderai(Image from Pinterest: Chipo doing her art.)

I knelt behind her with the ring in my hand. I was so nervous I did not say anything to her or called her to turn around. I kept repeating the song, she sang along as always, until it repeated again for the 6th time.

” Hezvo, what kind of shuffle is this?”, she shouted, thinking I was busy on my Play Station. I remained glued kneeling on the floor. ” Baaaabe.”, she called but I kept quiet, still kneeling, hoping she would turn around soon because my knee was giving way. ” Baabe!”, she shouted again. ” Where is this fine man of mine?”, she said under her breath as she turned, facing me. She froze when she saw me on one knee. She had that look on her face, eyes open wide, stone-faced and holding her breath.

” Chipo, you have been someone I never thought I wanted but someone I definitely needed. You challenge and push me in so many different ways and I-I want that to be the rhythm for the rest of my life. Please, will you make me the happiest man on a Tuesday at 14:39 and marry me?”, I was nervous, I looked down at the ring and extend my hand to ask for hers. ” About time!”, she said as she jumped on me. I dropped the ring as she jumped into my arms. We both fell on the floor as my knee gave way. We stayed on the floor and laughed. ” I am going to need you to say it before you trick me out of it.”, I remarked as I gazed into her eyes. ” Hhhmmm, say what?”, she responded smiling. ” Oh, you are no getting away with this one.” , I laughed, reaching my hands towards her and started tickling her. ” YES!”, she bellowed as I tickled her. ” Thank you! Was that so hard to say?”, I asked as I sat up to look for the ring. ” I love you Tonderai.”, she said as she grinned moving towards me and knelt in front of me. ” And I love you Chipo.” She leaned over and kissed my forehead, I took her hands and kissed them. ” Now, help me look for your ring before I demote you to girlfriend again.” We laughed as we scurried the floor for my mother’s ring which would now be hers.

Most people talk about the three-year itch but never the one year glitch after marriage. We were just off. We were like roommates who shared a bed and the last name. We were not fighting but we never talked. We could not explain what it was, but it seemed there was a dark cloud over us. I no longer woke her up with kisses and made her late for woke with the long showers we took. She no longer waited for me to get home from work, opening the door wearing only lingerie. We became strangers and barely spoke. We were in a mundane place. We both yearned for each other but no one knew how to initiate the conversation or make the first move. She began to paint more and spent most of the day in her in-house studio. I started working late more and that is how it started. Her name was Tsungai and she was my secretary. She reminded me of the Chipo I fell for, the Chipo who never missed a chance to make a joke and leave me speechless. For 3 months, I emotionally cheated on Chipo with Tsungai. I had become bothered about Chipo, she appeared to be more forgetful, disoriented and always complained of being tired. She would spend the whole day in bed and would not be aware of the time or date when she woke up.

Chipo(Image from Pinterest: Chipo.)

One day when I came from work, I decided to tell her about Tsungai. I had meant to tell her sooner, but there was never the right moment. She looked at me for a long time, I saw the disappointment in her eyes and I began to cry. ” Why?”, was the only word that came out of her mouth.

” Chipo, I love you ver..”, I belted, walking towards her. She had grown thinner than I remembered.

” No. That is not what I asked you. Ndati why?”, she snapped, walking away from me.

” Baby, we were not talking or anything. I was lonely and I-I am so sorry.”, I begged. I was disgusted by myself. How had I got here? How had I become the person who would hurt the person I vowed to protect.

” So you were lonely and decided to get attention elsewhere? Do you think I wasn’t lonely too? You think I didn’t miss you and yearned for you?”, she said stand further from me.

” Chipo, I ended it and we can work this out. We can work on us.”, I pleaded, I felt my eyes stinging. I was going to lose my wife.

” Tonderai, you remember 2 years ago when you asked me to be your girlfriend? What did I tell you?”, she asked me sternly.

” Chipo please, we are marrie-..”

” So, do you think us being married will make this invalid?”

I do not know why I brought our marital status up, but it made sense at that moment. She began to cry. I wanted to hold her but I knew I was the last person she wanted to be close to. She began to sob so hard I felt my heart ache. I felt helpless and the only thing I could think of was to get her a glass of water. I hate myself for this part because when I came back, she was lying on the floor unconscious. I ran over to her and shook her. She did not wake up. Knowing the terrible medical service here, I did not bother calling the ambulance but I carried her to my car and drove her to the hospital. I shouted for help as I got through the hospital doors, with her lying limp in my arms. The nurses took her from my arms and laid her on a stretcher which they wheeled on a room I was not allowed to enter. I stayed in the waiting area pacing up and down, I was confused and afraid. Was I going to lose her twice? I had caused all this and killed the woman I love.

” Mr Tonderai Moyo?”, a man wearing a white coat called as he approached the waiting area.

” Yes!”, I jounced as he turned towards me.

” Yeah, uhm, your wife is conscious now and we have made her comfortable. However, I am afraid her tumour has advanced and is inoperable. We would suggest you prepar..”

” Wait. What tumour?” Had he mixed up his patience or were there 2 Chipo Moyo’s? It made no sense because Chipo had never informed me or, no, she would never hide something this big from me.

” Yes, sir. I am afraid she does not have long. On our last appointment, we had suggested treatment but her tumour seems to be growing quicker than we expected.”, he explained it so calmly, I wanted to shake him so he would see how this made no sense to me.

” Appointment? Wait, whe- when was this?”

” The appointment? Uhm, about 2 months ago. She had declined treatment anyway. She said something about everything falling apart and being betrayed. We believe she was talking her brain betraying her but we cou..”.

” She knew!” She had known about Tsungai but never once did she mention or say anything. But why?

” If you would like to see her, I can take you to her room now.”, he said gesturing his hand to lead me to her room. Everything felt louder and brighter. How was I going to face her now? I had cheated on my wife when she needed me the most. How could I not tell she was sick? Her sleeping too much, being a bit disoriented and fatigued, was not because she was in a “rut”, my wife was suffering from a tumour and her beautiful mind that I had fallen for and loved so very much, was wasting away.

When I got to her room, I saw her holding a clump of her hair. She was cutting it off and putting it in a bag that was on her lap. I softly knocked on the door, she looked up, looked at me and continued cutting her hair. I walked into the room whose smell brought bad memories I had fought to stash at the back of my mind. Each tube that was connected to her and the white covers that shielded her now bony frame, took me back to 10 years ago when I lost my mother to cancer. My initial instinct was to run away and leave the building, not because of her, but the building I had avoided for as long as I can remember. I gathered all the courage I could scurry for in my being and walked in. I did not know if I should sit or stand, which she probably did not take notice of because she was looking at her self in a hand mirror. I stood beside her but she ignored me. So I knelt beside her bed and reached for her hand. She pushed me away.

” W-why didn’t you tell me?”, I asked her, my eyes itching with tears again. She looked different, her big bright eyes were now hollowed, her once bountiful flesh I loved to touch each morning, had been replaced by a bony frame I could not recognise. And her hair, the hair I loved to run my hands through when I kissed her, was no more. Only patches and bald spots. I wept.

” Would you have stopped cheating?”, she asked me so calmly. I could not read if she was angry or not. She tied the bag with the hair and handed it to the nurse.

” I am sorry, I- I am so sor-. Tell me how I can fix this, please.”, I begged her, kneeling beside her. I was not doing this to manipulate or try and have her to forgive me. I meant it with every ounce of my being.

” I am dying, Tonderai. What is there to fix?”, her demeanour was so calm whilst I was in shambles. I did not want her to bear my mistak-, choice but I am sure it played a part in her tumour growing so fast.

” I am sorry. I didn’t know you were so sic-“

” Please don’t.”

” Are you going to leave me? I understand if you do because I do not deserve y-.”

” I am dying Tonderai. Whether I stay or leave, I am dying.” Each time she said dying, my heart dropped. It was dawning on me that I was losing my wife. I was going to lose the person who had been by my side and who had taught me so much. I was going to lose her twice, first as a wife and eternally. She laid on the bed and switch off the light in the room. I was still kneeling beside her. She turned and faced the wall.

” Can I stay with you here?”

She did not reply, but I stayed. I brought the chair next to the bed and sat there. Staring at her and watching her chest go up and down slowly. When she started snoring softly like she always did when deep in sleep, I reached for her hand and touched it. I looked at the veins that ran across it and I noticed she no longer wore her wedding ring. How had I missed that?

I took in every inch of her face, the chocolate skin that masked her body, the once long and bouncy curls that were now patches on her oval shaped head. I traced her nose which I used to kiss each morning before she woke up, the full lips which produced malicious words when her brilliant brain could not solve a problem or when I could not understand what she meant, even after explaining it to me numerous times. The lips I loved to kiss, the lips that uttered I love you first before I was ready to say it.

They say you never miss a good thing till its gone, but what do you do when it is within reach but you can not have it back? I looked at her breathing softly, connected to different tubes and barely looking like herself. I had so many things I wanted to say, so many wrongs I wanted to make right. I believed her when she said if I cheated there would be no talking or reconciliation, which is why I was not surprised when the nurse woke me up a few hours later and told me my wife was dead.

The end.

Africanness

“ Every black person should please remember that you are African before you became anything.” Bose Ogulu (2019)

Identity is one of the is the magnet that draw us home. It gives us security and reassurance of who we are and where we belong. With over 3 000 tribes and over 2 000 different languages in Africa, a sense of belonging and being part of a community is comforting. It is home. It is a sacred and magnetic force that beckons us to find our source of peculiarity, knowledge, perseverance, drive and Africanness.

1. Malenga Mulendema.

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Malenga Mulendema is a Zambian writer and creator, whose show, ” Mama K’s Team 4″, was picked as the first ever African original animated series by Netflix. Set in Lusaka, Zambia, Mama K is about 4 black teenage girls who are recruited by a former secret agent -Mama K- to save the universe with limited resources. At the same time, doing their homework and being good citizens.

Based in Lusaka, her animation writing journey started when sh was given a opportunity to pitch an animated TV series to Triggerfish Animation Studios’ Story lab in 2015. She grew up watching movies and series with superheroes, and as an adult, t is still her favourite genre. Her passion for the genre has taught her that anyone can b a superhero, and with a little “extra” something they can do great things. She emphasised on how it was important for African girls to be represented in animation.

2. Simon Petrus.

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Simon Petrus is a Namibian student at Abraham Iyambo based in Oshikunde village, who invented a cellphone that does not use airtime. Whilst in Grade 12, Simon invented the free call mobile which only needs radio frequencies to work, using spares from a phone and television set. Comprehensive with a light bulb, fan and charger socket, the handset fully functions off power dispensed through a radiator and is able to call anywhere through the radio frequencies.

He is reported to have won a gold medal at national level in 2015 for his invention of a two-in-one machine that works as both a seed drier and cooler. He said he invented the phone in the hopes that it would be successful and carried further. Sadly,  he failed to meet the minimum university entry requirements but has registered for two subjects which he will sit for this year. He has also bee raising money for Namcol by driving villagers to town with his uncle’s truck. Despite all these obstacles, he has also invented a free call SIM-free telephone that will also be operate wireless.

3. Flaviana Matata.

Flaviana Matata is a Tanzanian beauty queen and fashion model. She is one of the top Seven list of models that have recorded the highest income in Africa mentioned by Forbes in 2013. The barrier-breaking model competed in the Miss Universe pageant in 2007, making her the first woman from Tanzania ever to do so and to top it off, she did it with a shaved head. She has walked a long list of runways which include Vivienne Westwood, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch and has appeared on campaigns for Topshop, Diesel, Aerie and more.

However she is far from a pretty face, she studied electrical engineering before pursuing her modelling career. She is also an entrepreneur who has launched a non-toxic line of nail polish which is available in six countries, and has also started a non-profit organisation The Flaviana Matata Foundation, which aims at empowering Tanzanian girls through education.

4. Edmund Albius.

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Edmund Albius was born into slavery in St. Suzanne, a French Island and became an important figure in the cultivation of vanilla. At the age of 12, he came up with a method for pollinating vanilla orchids quickly and profitably. In the 1800’s before the revolutionisation of vanilla, the world was producing not more than a thousand vanilla beans, as a result of the pollution of bees. It was Edmund who came up with the practical process for the pollination of vanilla.

The vines in St Suzanne were sterile because no insects would pollinate them. Edmund showed his master Ferreol how to pollinate with a thin stick or blade of grass and a simple thumb gesture. He soon travelled the island teaching other slaves how to pollinate vanilla orchids. His method was used around the world and has been the patents method for hundreds of years.

Africa to the world.

Africa is well-known for her breathtaking landscape, majestic wildlife and favourable weather. She is the second youngest and populous continent and harbours 54 sovereign states. She offers different climates and sceneries. From sunny and dry weather in Southern African, hot and arid weather in Northern Africa, warm and humid in West Africa, pleasant and cool in East Africa and in winter, snow in Lesotho, Morocco, Algeria and a few parts of South Africa.

However, what makes Africa is not a great landscape or variation in weather, but her people. With over 1.2 billion people, over 3 000 native tongues and hosting the largest diversity of ethnicities and cultures, Africa births greatness through and through. Her people show her beauty and majesty. Today, we look at those who were still able to make it in Africa, equipping themselves with what Africa is known and admired for – authenticity.

Hamamat Montia

Hamamat Montia is a Ghanaian model, entrepreneur and a former Miss Malaika Queen. She is the owner and founder of Hamamat African Beauty, a brand of skin care products which are all handmade with raw, authentic natural ingredients with freshly unadulterated Shea Butter being the main ingredient. Her technique takes people on a journey on how Ghanaian ancestors had a deep and rich connection with the land, and how they utilized on its produce. The focus of her brand is to utilize ingredients from the three regions of Northern Regions of Ghana and a mixture of Africa’s best kept natural remedies. She aims for men and women around the world to maintain a youthful, healthy and natural skin glow, and to make skincare regimes simple.

She has grown her empire in Ghana and has expanded it by opening a village spa and hotel called “Hamamat African Village”. She has helped her village by creating employment as they help with the processing and making of the raw shea butter products. She runs one of the most successful self-made and African based skin care companies and the first online-based retail to ship freshly handmade shea butter directly from Ghana to the world.

Maxwell Chikumbutso

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.

Sherrie Silver

Sherrie Silver is a Rwandan creative editor, dancer and actress who is best known for her choreographing of “This is America” by Childish Bambino. She moved from Rwanda to England when she was 5 years old. Having been inspired by African church culture of dance, Sherrie was always been passionate about dancing and performing; which her mother did not view as a profitable career but through her hard work and drive, she persevered.

Before catching the attention of millions, Sherrie got her start recording dance videos and uploading them on her YouTube channel. She travels the world to bring African dance to the world and regularly makes appearances at festivals and also host small group dance classes. She is also a dedicated advocate and activist, who has financed 200 Rwandan citizens’ healthcare, holds community events and donates the proceed to various charities and on her own, she rents out a home in Rwanda to shelter displaced and underprivileged children.

Peter Tabichi

Peter Tabichi is a Kenyan science teacher and Franciscan friar, who is the winner of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize and the prize money of $1 million. He is a teacher at Keriko Mixed Secondary School in Pwani Village. The school is in a semi-arid village in Rift Valley, a region affected by famine and drought. He gives 80% of his pay to support pupils at the school, who could not afford uniforms or books. Most of his students are orphaned and almost all come from underprivileged households.

When asked at the why he sacrificed his income selflessly, he said, “It is not about the money but as a teacher, working on the front line I have seen the promise of the young people, their brilliance, belief and spirit of inquiry.” The award had 10 000 other nominations from 179 countries.

On receiving his speech, Brother Tabichi exclaimed, “It is morning in Africa. The skies are clear and the day is young. There is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time”.

It’s a season.

You know when you feel like you are in a rut and badthings.com seem to have your personal address? It’s depressing, it’s sad and you go through different emotions, and sometimes even create different scenarios where it even gets worse and you brace yourself for it? I know, its a dark and lonely place, but I just want to remind you that it is only a season.

Just like seasons, this too shall pass. There is a time for EVERYTHING, and it might seem like you are not only in a season but more of an era, but it shall pass. You might have been waiting for that big thing that you have given your all to and for, that you pray morning, noon and night but it seems you are so far from it. It feels like you are chasing the wind and grasping in the dark for something you can not touch but dream of, but I just want to encourage, maybe it is not YET the season for you to have it, maybe you are not ready. I will share a story with you.

When I was in high school doing Form 3/ Year 11, I was amongst a group of people who were chosen to go to a leadership camp, to be prepared and selected to be prefects. Just like everyone who went, I was hopeful. We went to this camping site where we did different outdoor exercises eg rock climbing, waking up at 5 am to hike and do exercises, we were tested on our communication skills, leadership skills etc. It was fun but scary at the same time. On the last day of the 5-day training, we were given our results. They mentioned how good I was good at communication, but my leadership skills and risk taker qualities, were quite low. ( P.S: We had to jump into rivers and climb high mountains with a rope around your waist, I already am not a fan of heights and large bodies of water, so I knew I was going to fail.) The prefects and hierarchy were not mentioned on that day but after the holidays. So from the camp, we went on holiday for about 4 weeks. You can imagine the anticipation, the nerves of having to wait that long to know if you were amongst the chosen or not.

The first day of school, I went ready and prepared for the best. I was confident that I had made it and some of my family and friends were also confident that I was going to be prefect. At the assembly, after the national anthem, pleasantries of being welcomed to the new term blah blah blah, our headmaster got to the exciting part- announcing the new prefects and the hierarchy. I had sweaty palms, butterflies and my heart jounced at every name that was being called out. When he got to the last name, I waited in anticipation, overwhelmed by emotions, feeling ready, but it was not my name that was called. I was crushed, I could feel my heart tightening then slowly deflating as I stood there. Most of my friends had made it but I hadn’t, and it hurt. I felt like a failure, like I wasn’t good enough, like this was my life. I remember I cried and I told my sister about it. It didn’t help that people were always stopping me to tell me how it should have been me and how I deserved it. It was a dark time.

Two years later, I was now about to start my 2 years of A Levels, I was amongst the people who were picked again for another leadership camp. The memory of what had happened before was at the back of my mind. I had fun, we did almost the same exercises but this time around it was more intense. At one point we had to build a boat/raft in the water, and I hated that bit. I was so scared for my life, but I made it through with the help of others. The same thing happened, we went home and came back for the next term. At the back of my mind, I was ready for failure, I had dismissed the idea altogether and had decided to skip the first day. I had to prepare for the next day too because we were going to South Africa for a basketball tournament ( to be honest, I was just a place holder, I never played and only went for shopping.🤷🏾‍♀️)

I was at home sleeping at 9 am when my school called asking me to come to school. I told them I would come tomorrow since I was preparing for the trip, but they insisted I come. So I showered 🙄, took 2 kombis because my dad had gone to work by then. They started the assembly late that day, I stood amongst my colleagues annoyed that I had to come and have my heart broken again. The whole thing was like deja vu until the names were announced. Guess what, I was amongst the “chosen” this time around. I was happy, and I was ok with that. When it got to announcing the hierarchy, they called in ascending order. They called the games captain (was definitely not going to make that cut.), they announced the senior prefects, they announced the vices and to save the best for last- the head girl and head boy. When I tell you I was shocked when they announced me as the head girl! My heart dropped. A whole me was chosen to lead the school and be the head of all the girls from Form 1 to Upper 6. A whole me they rejected 2 years ago, who thought she would never be good enough. Me!

( The official portrait of the heads and vices. From left: Kudzai, Tineyi, yours truly and Alice.)

(Not the exact day but happy nonetheless. With Rachel on the left and Stacie on the right.)

I went through different emotions, friends celebrated with me. Of course, other people came to tell me it should have been them if only they had done something different etc, but this was my moment. They had seen that I was ready. God had seen that I was ready.

( Top row, 2nd from the left, being nosey on our inauguration.)

I will never forget this story/memory because it clearly depicts how God works. 2 years prior to that, I was not ready or rather, I was thinking too small. God has plans way beyond my imagination because I had never EVER thought of being the headgirl of a school. So as much as it seems as if you are not good enough or things are very dark right now, it is only a season and it too shall pass. God had plans bigger and better than what you can ever imagine. I know He has amazing and unimaginable things and it scares me when I think about it. Have friends and family to talk to during your season, but be VERY careful. Not everyone in your bad season is there for you or ready to help, some are there because they want to feel better about themselves. They thrive on seeing you in a bad season because it shows how “better” their lives are, forgetting seasons change. They love hearing about the dooms of your life, but as soon as the dynamics change, when you now also bear good news, you see their true colours. They do not put the same energy they did when you were in the mire, your good news is just browsed through and they quickly segue into other topics apart from you. Be very careful, see how people react to your victories and also your losses. There are also those who will only show up during good times; those who stick around just in case something big happens in your life so they can claim they were always there. Protect yourself in each season, ask God to reveal those who are not part of your journey whilst you are still in this season so they do not contaminate your good season. Also, be careful those who make you feel bad for being excited about your breakthroughs or who quickly make everything about them. Do not share much with them, they will kill your dreams and discourage you from what God has said and ordained you to do. Yesterday at church, the pastor said, the people who kill your dreams or distract you, are not strangers but close friends and family. I pray I am never this friend/family member, I rebuke that spirit n Jesus’ name.

God is on your side, don’t always run to people for help or advise, ask God first. As much as people have different opinions and solutions, God has the plan and the means. He is the one who has promised you, He is the one who has instilled in you. You know what He has assigned you to do, you know. You very much know it. Also, do not wait for people’s validation, do not try and please people to be liked or accepted. Grow and improve yourself, like who you are first and always be authentic, trust me, a lot of things will not get to you. Validate yourself, validate your work, validate your art and if it is the criticism you seek, I would strongly advise you ask experts in your field or someone you know has a bit of knowledge or is excited by what you do. Everyone is not going to like your work, craft or just you in general, but keep pushing forward. You will fail, you will be mocked, looked down on but keep pushing, it is only a season and not your life story. And like the Shona people in my country say Mwari ndewe munhu wese which means God is for everyone. He sees you and He knows you, come on, we can do this. We will cry, attempt to give up, lose friends along the way BUT we know the plans God has for us.

So from one person in a bad season to another, keep your head high and just know your time will come. Maybe you are not ready, maybe what you want is not what God wants you to have or maybe, just maybe, you are thinking too small. Keep doing you, keep thriving to be a good human being, keep drinking water, keep minding your business, keep competing with yourself and keep trusting in God.

Ok, fine. I cheated.

Remember a few months back when I vowed to read only 12 books this year because I wanted to “study” and fully fathom the writer’s intensions? Well, I failed, DISMALLY! I was very determined to go by my list, and I tried, believe me, I really tried but then new books began to show on my raider. I cheated on my list and to be honest, I do not regret it.

For someone who does 85% of things by the book, this was a bit out of my element, this cheating. I only managed to read 2 books from the acclaimed list: The Narratives or Fredrick Douglas and The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I enjoyed both, took my time to savour the words on each page, took a minute to ponder. I did all that to try and buy time but I ended up realising I am book junkie.

From January till now, I have read (still reading) 7 books. 5 of them were not part of my list and to be quite honest, I knew I was setting myself up for failure. How was I going to read 12 books in one year?! Gosh, 23 year old me was naïve and should have known better.

Let me tell you how it all happened. So, as I was busy committing to my list, someone I follow on Twitter posted about An American Marriage. Me being me, you know, respectful and courteous, I did not want this person to feel as if they were not being heard. You know Twitter can be a cold place; no likes or retweets et cetera. I opted to look at the book, see what it was all about, no harm in that. I was even holding Frida Kahlo at the time, we were about to spend some time together. I quickly read the reviews and even went on to peep at the #anamericanmarriage thread.

I did not mean to, but 3 days later, I found myself in a bookstore buying the book. I do not know what happened, but in 4 days I had read the book from cover to cover. It was so good, like the forbidden fruit, I savoured each word and pleasurably engaged in discussions about it on Twitter. I thought about the characters for a long time, I held on to the last few pages of the book because they were to decide the fate of the characters. I forgot about Frida, not because she did not matter but…

I fell into a rabbit hole and before I knew it, a few days later I found myself at a book discussion. I found out about it on Twitter ( I am beginning to think there is a pattern here), about the highly acclaimed and controversial House Of Stone about Gukurahundi. This one has already stolen my heart, as I write this, it is in my gaze and I have been confined in its pages for the last 5 days, drinking every word. I think this is the only book so far, that has challenged me to know more about my history. My parents history, what kind of people they were before they became my parents; how were their lives altered by the Second Chimurenga; did they have hopes and dreams et cetera. It provoked me to question history and to also realise that Zimbabwean and black history, is also world history, no filter!

I began flirting around with Jazz by Toni Morrison, which has been hard because Jazz demands fully and undivided attention. I appreciate Toni Morrison’s way of writing, she said that she writes for the black audience. Her writing is highly intelligent and supreme, she forces you to look up new words and better yourself. She shows that black people are as smart and intelligent, fearlessly.

I messed around with Ordinary People, it was a window into living in London as a black person. I could see everything that was being described, not that I have been to the areas which the writer was writing about, but because the description was so vivid and crisp I could almost taste it. It was a glimpse into marriage, how at times, love fades and people fall for other people whilst married. Cringe! I am still reading this book, it is welcoming and warm. Takes you through an emotional rollercoaster of love, pain, confusion, guilt and anger but its worth it.

And then last by not least, I have been on and off with this book. Not that there is any bad blood, but because it is mandatory and suitable for any season. It is my go to when my Spirit man is parched. It guides me and helps me find my strength. I feel freer and more hopeful in my faith because this book for the last 2 years has helped me realise I need a personal relationship with God than just being religious. My anxiety is almost nonexistent ( but it shall be HALLELUJAH), I am more hopeful of my future and more confident in who God says I am. It has helped me relearn how to pray and to read my Bible more frequently.

So, this is how it all went down. How I ended up cheating on the other 10 books on my list. I feel them gawking at me from the shelf. Longing for me to flip them open and spend time with them, hoping for me to smile into each page and stain words with my tears. I too hope for that day, not now but soon, because as we speak, my Amazon basket has 19 books waiting to be checked out. I admit, I am a serial cheater but please do not save me.

You are doing great sweetheart.

Hey there!

I am not going to take much of your time but just a quick reminder: YOU ARE DOING GREAT! You know when you feel like you are a failure and you are just pathetic at what you do? You think you are the definition of failure and dead end? If not that’s great and I commend you for that, but if you are, like me 90% of the time, I just wanted to let you know, tell the committee in your head that tells you that to zip it!

Whatever you put your mind to, you can do it and do not succumb to the fear of failure. Just to put it out there, I am talking about heinous crimes like tax invasion or bank robbery. Please, I do not want to be an accomplice and end up being quoted in the Court of Law. I am referring to hopes and dreams that bring peace, joy and all the fuzzy feelings that leave you giddy. That thing that keeps you going and is always on your mind.

I have heard it being said that failure is a bruise but not a tattoo. You are not your failure and it does not define you. I always try, after a few days of ugly crying and wallowing, to find a lesson in my failures. Where and how can I be better? It is not easy because I do not always want to be positive. At times I choose to dream than actually put in the work, and I believe, actually, I am certain that is the one thing that kills most dreams. We spend so much time imagining and fantasising how it is going to be like but hardly put any work towards it. Most people die dreaming and to be honest, that is my worst fear. Well, it is actually a draw with human trafficking, but you get my point.

Do not dream but do. You will feel like you are not good enough, that is guaranteed but just do. Everyone is not going to like your book, song, drawing, dish etc, but just do it. Do it when you do not feel like it, do it when you definitely feel like it. You are the one who knows what is in you and what God has trusted you with. A few months ago, someone suggested I should write in a certain way. That I should structure my writing in the way people would like to read it. As always, well usually, I am open to criticism ( I am working on not taking everything to heart) but the way it was relayed to me, it implied I had to write what people want to read. To be frank with you, I spiralled into a minor identity crisis, I felt like the way I was writing (the authentic and purely Zimbabwean me) was not good enough to produce quality material. Each time I sat in front of a keyboard to write, the words always took precedence to my ideas. I was stuck and every idea that did not go inline with what is perceived as “good”, I quickly eliminated it. I lost myself and my writing lost meaning to me.

It took me time to get back up ( I am still picking myself up), but I realised I was only fooling myself. I am not saying do not take criticism, by all means do. However, be very careful of some of the advice you get. If it involves you completely changing yourself or craft to fit certain people, you might need to take a step back and reevaluate. You more than anyone know what is in you. You know what God whispers to you behind closed doors. You know what you want to say and what you want to be. So start, now and it is guaranteed you will be rejected and sidelined BUT keep going. You are doing amazing and please, do not die with your dream. The one thing that keeps me going is, every day I am quite aware I might die. The worst I can do is die without fulfilling God’s purpose in my life. I do not want to be the servant who buried his talent.

Also learn to take compliments, you might not be used to it, it takes time. At times you do not realise how good you are because you are used to yourself. You do not see your importance because you are ordinary to you but not everyone else. With that in consideration, do not wait for other people’s validation or approval, give yourself validation and permission as Ava DuVernay once said. You do not need permission from anyone but yourself. So start now, start small, start unmotivated. Do not wait for motivation, create bad craft because there is beauty in that. Allow yourself to be crappy and bad, you will get better eventually. I have not got a hold of it but I working towards it, so brace yourself for some bad and crappy stories but I will keep going.

Oh, before I forget ( I wasnt really going to forget but anyway..), I met Novuyo Rosa Tshuma recently and she encouraged me to keep going. I was so happy and what moved me was that she saw something in me. It ignited in me the fire that was almost out because of doubt. It was not validation but more of recognising yourself in someone. Check out what she said:

I know right!? I geeked out for a long time. I just want to thank God for making me go, He knew I needed it. She is one of the most popular Zimbabwean authors and a kindred spirit. She started working on her book when she was 23. She has walked so I can run, just like the other women who inspire me Tererai Trent, Shonda Rhimes, Toni Morrison, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Luvvie Ajayi, Maya Angelou to name a few.

Keep pushing and pray for God to show you the way forward. Be a doer and put in the work, because you are doing great sweetheart.

P.S: Sorry it ended up being long, thats how much I believe in us.

Relationships and all the other adulting stuff.

Hey there.. How are you today? Oh me, I am highly favoured, thanks.

This might seem as an odd way to respond, but I am learning to speak positively upon my life. Which is something that did not come naturally, I had to learn it. Actually, I am still learning and it is safe to say I am almost past the cringe moments, when I question if I really am favoured. As usual, the Holy Spirit is working overtime to show me I am worth dying for and God has a plan for me, a good one. Which does not involve me stressing,doubting or overthinking- as I usually do. He wants joy for me, peace, a house in Maui, hope and relationships. GOD WANTS A RELATIONSHIP FOR ME.

Now, before you think I am taking about a significant other- to an extant, yes but not really. I mean God specifically wants godly friendships for us. He wants us to have friends who encourage us and push us to be better. Who are truthful and tell it to us upfront but with love. Who teach us to be hopeful and who teach you new ways of thinking. Like one of my best friends, every time I text to ask how she is, she never says I am good or alright. She always, I mean always says ,I am blessed, thanks.You?. ALWAYS. At first, being the dark-cloud-over-my-head-always-second-best thinking person I was, I always found it odd. It was foreign to me, it did not immediately register to me that she was/still is speaking and claiming blessings upon her life. And boy is she blessed! She is one of the most blessed people I know and I am grateful that God brought her into my life. Mind you, I prayed for Godly friends ever since I came here a few years ago. I realised the same way we pray for our future baes and wait patiently, is the same way we should pray for godly friendships. And choose wisely, do not just take people at face value. Ask God if they are meant to be in your life or you are just thirsty for a friend at that point. Trust me, I know!

He wants the same for you too, you might have found them already and thats good- but never stop praying for that relationship. It is very important and just like any relationships, it has its challenging times. There will be fall outs, misunderstanding and silent treatments. Which isn’t good but it happens. Pray with your friends, celebrate with them and do not compare their lives with yours. Just because you are godly friends does not mean you have to imprint on each other and have the same things happen at the same time. You might feel disheartened when it seems they are getting ahead and you are just lagging behind. Or they seem to have it all together and for you, the only thing that is stable is your breathing pattern. Please, do not compare yourself. It is an easy and comforting thing to do but very deadly! Talk to God and your friends too. The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy and friendships are not excluded.

As I am approaching my birthday (04/04) just incase you are curious, so many people have been telling me I am now “ripe” to be a wife. I know, you should see the look on my face as I am writing this. Anyway, whilst I have nothing against marriage, I am not sure if I am for it- as yet. Now before you gasp in horror and holding on to your seat because of this bomb I have just dropped- let me try to explain myself. First of all, I love love ok. My name literally means love, i am in love with love. I mean cry-in-the-theater-googly-eyed-aaaw-thats-so-cute-love loving person. I wear my heart on my sleeve and the primal receivers of this love are my siblings, friends, puppies and babies. So there, I am not Medusa or the Wicked Witch from the West who has a vendetta against love.

However, I do not see it happening anytime soon. This I have realised, is due to so many factors I was not aware of, to which 3 I shall share with you. The first being fear. I am not afraid because I was heartbroken and can not trust again- nope, not at all. I am afraid of marriage because of the examples I grew up around and the relationships I am seeing now. I fear I am going to be another statistic, a single mother before my baby is even a year old. A bitter divorcee who preaches all men are trash. The church mother who preaches men are just being men when they cheat. The girlfriend who casually slides in how she caught her boyfriend with another girl- AGAIN but she will forgive him because she feels its her fault.

Whilst some divorces are due to serious issues such as abuse on both sides. I fail to understand when and how people wake up and turn against each other? Mind you, I am not naive to how people are different and how bills, families and all take a toll on people but what happened to for better and for worse? What happened to, I love you and I will not hurt you? What happens to, you are the love of my life? What in the heavens happens to, its you, me and God in this?

I have so many questions which are always met with- you will see when you get married! Its life, thats how it is. As women, it is our job to take care of our men and stand by them when they mess up. Ah, ungarambe munhu nekuti aita small house? ( You are breaking up because he had another girlfriend?).

These answers force me to go back to my relationship drawing board and rethink this marriage thing. It consumes me so much I push back what God has told me, because the negative examples are louder than God’s voice when He tells me to write to my future husband. People are settling for less and still being dumped yet God keeps raising my standards, and I think, what chance do I have? It is a lot to process and it does not help being from a generation that does not solely believe in marriage. Come on, do not act as if you are not aware millennials will settle to be forever girlfriends than die alone. Its sad but true, and I wrestle with this. And dying alone is a very viable option for me.

The other thing is, I feel like my life has to be in order for me to start dating. Yeah, I know. Hilarious! Like who ever has their life together? Seriously, who can boldly stand there and say they have everything figured out? Everything!? From your mommy/daddy issues, finances, emotional wellbeing, healthy lifestyle, God’s right hand man, skin popping no ance, I woke up like Jesus on the third day glowing to I drink water and mind my business? If you are one of these people, I salute you and I lowkey envy you.

I am that kind of person who has to plan things ahead and strategise certain things to get the best result. Which however, is the complete opposite of God. Man, if I tell you how God has been interrupting my plans and making me question my entire life, you will not believe it. You might not see it because its more internal than anything but all I can say is WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW! He has been teaching me to leave everything to Him and trust Him. That He has my back and will not leave me, He will not abandon me. He. Will. Not. Abandon. Me.

Abandonment is another factor that has scared me off marriage. I am afraid of being left. Too many people have left me, friends included. Just iced me out, no explanation or goodbye-you-wont-see-me-ever-again card. Now, before I play the victim, it could have been they prayed for godly friends and I did not make the cut- ouch!! Nonetheless, there are people who just left me, high and dry. It might not be physically but emotionally- people who just thought I wasnt good enough to hang out with. It hurts, it really does and it still hurts. I realised I still carry this mentality with me, which is toxic, because I push people away before they even try to make any contact. I feel safer closing myself off than allowing someone in. Believe me, its safer and if I miss an opportunity at least I would have let me down, not anyone else. I can stand letting me down, I mean, I cry it out and regret it and it only pushes me to a mild depression but I will be A ok after a few weeks. See! I am goooood!

Ok, FINE! I am lying. Of course I am not ok! How can I be? I am literally blocking my blessings, slowly but surely. How can I say, I am blessed thanks and you in this state? I am a mess, a hot, piping one and I know that, I will acknowledge and expose it but I am not going to claim it anymore. I am going to be hopeful, expectant (one of my resolutions) and claim my blessings. And I must say, talking about this has made me realise I legit need therapy.

Sharing all this has made me realise that adulting is a scam. You deal with a lot and you are just suppose to suck it up and deal with it like the rest of the world. You have to deal with your emotions and spiritual life, family feuds, bills and tax! Do not make me talk about tax! Gooooosh, its the worst. Its like paying for being born, I did not ask for this. I am also a victim. And as a black person, on top of tax, you have black tax too. You have to take care of the whole clan, by clan I do mean the whole clan. I miss the times I took sleep for granted, now I just want to sleep. Anywhere and everywhere is a bed, I just want to stay at home and binge on Netflix and repeat Shrek for the umpteenth time.

Adulting is scary, weird and stressful, and the fact that there is no adulting manual makes it harder. I think I will write one and I think, I THINK I will title it: Oh, so you think you are grown now? Ok, watch life knock you out and God revive you. I do not know about you, but that pretty much sums up my life. That was a joke, or way it?

Anyway, I hope you have a blessed day and you are highly favoured. Please, let us all learn from my friend and claim our blessings. Even if it sounds weird, claim it. Its yours. God wants us to know and believe it and to step out of fear into favour. It will not be easy but it is possible, I will be your example.

Selcouth

Discovering and getting to know myself has allowed me to take different views and perceptions about life. It has matured and pushed me to think differently, broadly and challenge my thought processes regularly. I have come to realise that I love movies and books which are based on true events. I have mentioned my love of biographies in my previous posts. The ones I truly love are the ones which provoke the world’s monotonous view on certain issues such as race, companionship and privilege. I will name a couple of books with movies that have challenged my world view and have encouraged me not to lose hope in humanity, even when the future looks bleak and dire.

1.VICTORIA & ABDUL

Victoria and Abdul is based on the friendship of Empress of India, Queen Victoria and an Indian servant Abdul Karim, in 1889 when India was under the British rule. Abdul had come to England as “a gift” for the Queen with the intention of being a translator for the Indian princes at her 50th Jubilee.

Her unlikely friendship with an Indian, who was deemed to be inferior and uncouth, was not met with good merry. The Queen was deemed delusional and was at some point, “forced” to abdicate as she was seen as unfit to rule a nation.

Her unusual close friendship with Abdul went on for 14 years and during that time, he became the Queen’s munshi (teacher) and taught her Urdu, introduced her mango and Indian curries. She gave him gifts, titles and honours, which did not sit well with the members of the royal family.

When the she died in 1901, Abdul was forcibly deported and all his letters and mementos were burnt by the queen’s children. His story however, lived on thanks to his journals and oral history.

2.LOVING

The Loving story is one of my all time favourites, it reminds me of Ruth and Seretse Khama’s story. It is about how two people from difference races fell in love and literally fought to be together. In 1967, they fought the State of Virginia and took it to Supreme Court where they won the case.

Richard and Mildred Loving got married in 1958 and 5 weeks into their wedding, they were arrested in their bedroom early hours of the morning. Interracial marriages were illegal and were punishable. They late on pled guilty to violating the state’s Racial Integrity Act with a judge telling them if God had wanted blacks and whites to be together, he would have put them on one continent.

The judge allowed them to flee the stare of face prison. For the next five years, they lived in exile and had three children. In 1967, Mildred sort the help of Robert F Kennedy, who referred her to the American Civil Liberties Union which agreed go take their case. The judges unanimously ruled in the couple’s favour and interracial marriages were legalised. Eight years after their win, Richard was killed by a drunk driver in an accident. Mildred never remarried and died in 2008.

3.LION

Lion is a story about an Indian boy Saroo (meaning Lion) who got lost when he fell asleep on a train whilst waiting for his brother who was scrounging for money and food to take home to his mother. He was only 5 years old and would spend several weeks hungry, scared and confused in the streets of Calcutta before being placed in an orphanage.

He was later on adopted by an Australian couple who welcomed him and did not treat him differently. He settled well with his new family but he always felt lost and could not stop thinking about his mother, brother and sister. When he discovered google maps, he saw it as an opportunity to trace and find his Indian family. For five years he became obsessive and searched the radius of all the railway lines leading to Kolkatta. In 2012, after more than 20 years, Saroo went to India were he met his biological mother and sister. His mother said she always had hope he was alive.

4.THE UPSIDE

The Upside is based on a movie (The Untouchables) which is based on a true story and memoirs about 2 men whose friendship seemed unlikely but deferred all odds. It is based on the lives of Phillipe Pozzo di Borgo a French aristocrat and Abel Sellou an Algerian ex-con who migrated to France and later on became Phillipe’s life auxiliary. There friendship crossed a lot of social boundaries such as race, classism and giving a second chance to those who are deemed to be least deserving.

After Phillipe had a paragliding accident which left him a quadriplegic, he had to look for someone to help him with his day to day activities. After interviewing over 90 people, of which most were professionals, Phillipe chose Abel. He said he chose him because of his character, he did not feel sorry for him but acknowledged and overlooked his disability. Abel on the other hand, had only gone for the interview so he could keep on claiming his income support.The two men have an everlasting bond and are still friends to this day.

5.THE BLINDSIDE

This has been one of my favourite since I was a little girl. It is based on Michael Oher, a homeless teen who had drifted in and out of school and had no one to permanently look after him. He was later taken in by the Touhy family who ended up adopting him into their family.

His tremendous size and protective instinct, secured him a place in the football world. His personality won the Touhy’s over and they accepted him as their son. It is an uplifting story that will have you hope in humanity again.

Tripping But Still Trusting God.

Have you ever had moments when you know God has promised you or put something on your heart, but because it has not happened yet, you start doubting? Yep, that is pretty much how I feel 360 days of the year. There are certain things in my life God has told me (through the Holy Spirit) that will happen and He even reassures me by giving me a peace of mind. I will ask Him if He really told me that or I just thought He did and yet it was my idea.

I believe I have missed some, if not most of my blessing because of my doubting. It is something I struggle with on a daily basis. I even have anxiety because I even start questioning my faith and if I am suppose to be expectant of that, or if I am not expectant enough. Be it liking someone but not wanting to admit it because I am a strong woman of God and having a crush is a taboo. Its ok, I laugh at myself too at times. It is natural to like someone and to have a crush, and I have realised that trying to hide it and bury it will only make it worst. It is not a sin to be attracted to someone, but what you do with the feelings might lead you to sin.

I have doubted that I will actually meet someone who will not be afraid of my candour and “passionate” nature. Someone who is not intimidated by my outspokenness on things that matter and my stubbornness when my opinion is not valued whilst it makes sense. It is unreal for me to even think there are men who can actually accept all this and not want to shrink my personality. However, I still think of the letters I have been writing since 2016, letters to my future husband and I see women with strong personalities or who have been deemed unsuitable for marriage like Serena Williams and my hope is revived again. I do not believe God would just put it on my heart for me to write letters then not have anyone to give them too. It could be possible though, for example, I could died any second from now hence I would have written them because I thought God told me but it was probably a spur of the moment I made out to be God. See, I am doing it again.

(Image from Pinterest)

This does not only happen when it comes to relationships, but my aspirations too. If you have read or followed my blog, I am sure you have come to realise, I LOVE WORDS. I love writing and making up characters in my head, they help me cope with my everyday life and I believe all of the characters I have made up have an element of my personality somehow. Writing is my way of facing reality but escaping it at the same time. I find joy in writing, and you know that feeling you get when you like or love someone? The butterflies in your stomach, heart beating fast, smiling and beaming when you think of that one person? That is the exact feeling I have when I have a storyline, when a character comes to life that I can almost put a face onto them. It is the same feeling that pushes me to keep writing even if friends and family put me down and tell me its not good enough. Or when I feel I am not being supported enough.

My take is, it is God who gives me these ideas and equips me with enough knowledge to create characters I have never known about or thought to exist. I also think it is God who pushes me to write because I believe one day, my stories will be shared around the world and will help black or Zimbabwean girls and boys to know that where they come from does not determine what the future holds. And then there are days I believe its only the hype of seeing other people succeed, that it will never happen for me because come on, who am I that I deserve a good life with hopes and dreams that will actually come to pass? What do I offer to the world to be recognised as a sound voice amongst the youth and a prominent writer in future. At times without realising or on purpose, my friends drill it in me how not good I am. I know I am not a published or accomplished writer, but one good word might lift my spirits. Even saying nice font or nice spacing, I will take it.

I start tripping again, and doubting my ability and gift in using words. I beat my spirit up until I just believe its a hobby that will not get me anywhere. That I will never be recognised because people like me (always feeling like second best) do not get picked or chosen. Then I remember that there is no way I can come up with these amazing ideas and think they are just that – amazing ideas which do not yield good content. And I also have an amazing sister who takes time to hype me up and tell me how my stories are amazing and overlooking that they are not as perfect yet. She takes the time to tell me she is proud of my writing and she sees the same vision that I have, without thwarting it or overriding it with hers. She allows me to tell her about them even if I keep repeating myself because she knows how much it means to me.

Sometimes, God sends other people to believe in what you have. To help you see what you overlook because you have gotten used to yourself, you forget. There are also other times when no one believes in you or envisions what you see to be possible. Times when no one believes you will make it or you are good enough, and even though it hurts, it shows that at times you need to do what God says even when no one is there for you or to help you. It is uncomfortable and you will be crippled with doubt and fear at times (tripping) but be obedient and trust in what God has trusted you to carry. It is ok if it does not make sense now, sometimes the things of God do not make sense, but that is because we can not fully comprehend His thoughts and His power.

Yes, you can have moments where you will be tripping and popping off, and that is ok. However, do not dwell much into it that you forget Who created you and what He has told you to do. Keep on keeping on and know you are not alone in this. I have days I wake up afraid to do or say what He has put on my heart because it might offend or not make sense, but the things of God are always meant for our good. To pray and believe what we ask for is in alliance with His will.

So from a Christian trying to find her way and choose God on a daily basis to another, let 2019 be our year of fully trusting God even when doubt is banging at the front door of our minds.

New Year,same old gnawing questions and views.

Happy New Year to you all, I know its well over a week into the new year however, this is my first post and better late than never. On this post (which is quiet short and serious, you can tell because there is no picture) ,I have more questions than facts or opinions because the topic is quite heavy and sensitive – domestic abuse.

I had a conversation with my mother today about a Zimbabwean man who killed his wife and children recently in London. I was quite curious as to what her views were regarding the topic and serious issue at hand; and her perspective was, most Zimbabwean (African) men do not like the idea of an empowered woman. They feel emasculated and challenged if a woman gets more money than them and is independent (does not ask for money from her husband to buy certain things or anything at all) and that when they move to Western countries,they feel outlawed and are not given the proper respect and honour a man deserves. These are all valid points and I do agree with her, some men have this kind of mentality and that has crippled the system and has misinterpreted the word “submission”  to mean control.

Whilst she was informing and explaining her views, I recognised how this has been one of the major reasons why most women are being abused and killed by husbands/boyfriends and we have fought to be heard and pleaded with men to stop beating their spouses. The way I see it (you can take this with a grain of salt), I believe pleading with men to stop and marching against domestic violence, is similar to removing the top of a weed without getting rid of the roots. We might combat ourselves against men, hate them and trash talk them as much we can but I think until we look at the real cause or rather, the root,we will keep hearing stories of women being murdered by their partners. I believe the root on this issue is men’s mental health, yes I know I have said before and gave elaborate points as to why it should be taken seriously but I think we need to openly talk about it. As a Zimbabwean, I was conditioned to believe certain things about men which dehumanized them and I was biased for a long time.

I now view every human being to have the same emotions and have the right to express them. I believe men need to be allowed to freely express themselves without being judged and “emasculated”. To cry, yes, I said it, CRY without being told to man up or be laughed at. Goodness, men go through a lot than we think. They are pressurised to have a car, a house,a family, a million dollars, a connecting beard and whatever society throws at them to be deemed manly or good enough. They are rarely given room for growth or failure and when they do, they can not or rarely have people to confide in who will pick them up and console them. Most men do not have “besties”,mentors or brothers they can freely talk to and not feel ashamed. They just go on with life and I believe that is an unhealthy way of living. One becomes depressed, stressed and because they can not cry or talk it out, most will project it out on others especially those close to them. Some have never had positive examples of men in their lives (that is not an excuses though), others were abused by women and have had a negative perception of the opposite sex ever since or others are just horrible human beings.

Culture and society is quick to question what the woman did to anger the man but we do not ask what caused the man to do it? Some men are asked but because of deep-rooted issues or not being able to express themselves,they blame lapse of controlled anger or the woman for being “talkative”. It is usually blame rather than admission to error; apology rather than repentance and the cycle goes on. I believe we need to normalise men expressing themselves and therapy too. And by any chance if you laughed at my suggestion of therapy, you might also need it. Men need as much support as women, there should not be fear but mutual respect. We should take care of each other; cater to one another and  help each other. I would hate to be in a world where we hate each other over something that can be corrected and improved.

As women, we need to play a part in helping men – our sons,brothers,fathers and partners etc .I do not mean to be their fixers but to be supportive and have positive words to encurage them. We also need to refrain from phrases such as “man up” and “trash” when addressing to them. Think of them as your brothers, because they are. I strongly believe if we include men’s mental health onto the movements, marches and campaigns, it will have more impact and literally improve quality of life. It will impact the divorce rate, suicide rates, murders amongst partners and a positive environment. We have a long way to go but I believe if YOU start by being a friend or confidant to someone; you could be saving a life or lives.

P.S:By any chance if the message you got from this post is women are not important or their mental health is not as important, that is the complete opposite of what I am trying to point out.Women, we have more room and allowance to express ourselves and 97% of us have someone to confide in compared to men. I am not saying women are less important or men are more important – I am saying we are all important at the same time.