What’s your story?

I’m enjoying this new journey! I’ve always wanted to write but never thought my content was good enough. Thanks to all of your support I have found the confidence to put my work out in the open and even delve into subject matter that’s usually discussed in hushed tones.

Now it’s time for My Canvas readers to have content that they would like to see me write. It’s time for you to influence the narrative of this blog. If you have a topic you’d like me to write about then feel free to give me your suggestions. Grant me the privilege of being your story teller.

β€œAnd by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath

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“Uri kuroorwa riini?” – “When are you getting married?”

Any female Zimbabwean above the age of 25 who is single, even by choice, has been asked this question more times than she can remember. It seems society has decided that getting married is the epitome of success for a black woman.

I remember my first marriage proposal. I don’t even know if that’s the right way to put it. An elderly woman from my church came to me and told me that her son, who’s an engineer and was living abroad had asked her to search for a woman whom he could marry the next time he came home. I was the right fit for him according to my would be mamazala 😏. I guess arranged marriages are still a thing. I’d be lying if I said I was offended. I was flattered but later concerned when I analyzed the situation. No one in their right mind would assist their 17 year old son who is a 1st year university student to park his ambitions and start building a family but it’s completely normal to expect that from a girl. Archaic much?

The rat race to marriage is so pivotal to the rest of a woman’s life, or at least so they say, that women jump through hoops to secure the ring. When I bought my car a woman I had a lot of respect for said that I had set myself up for failure because no man would approach me now. Apparently a woman should aim to not have more achievements than a man. No wonder I’m not married yet! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Unpopular opinion: Marriage is not for everyone. What if she’s not interested? What if she wants to achieve certain feats before being shackled to the ole ball and chain? What if her betrothed met an untimely death?

How about we support financial independence? How about we encourage her to chase her dreams? How about we let her get herself an education? How about we teach her that her happiness is not vested in men?

If you aren’t happy single, you won’t be happy taken!

Coming to South Africa!

I am sure most of us have watched the Oscar nominated 1988 movie Coming to America. For those that haven’t, it’s based on the story of Akeem Joffer, the crown prince of the fictional African country of Zamunda who goes to America in search of a wife. Side bar – Wakanda much *wink*.

The experiences that Akeem and his personal aide went through run parallel to what I went through when I came to South Africa for the first time. The day I was told I would be visiting my father in South Africa during the school holiday became the first day of months of research and preparation to blend in with the people of Mzansi. I had heard about the big city and the fast life that was Jozi but nothing prepared me for the magnitude of the phrase “big city, fast life”.

The night before we were to board the bus to Johannesburg was, needless to say, one filled with excitement and anticipation. The morning came and my two sisters, my mother and I arrived at the bus terminus 2 hours earlier than we were supposed to because no one could contain the excitement of three young girls who were about to get their passports stamped for the first time! That excitement soon died down as we realised that we would just be sitting in a bus for the next 18 hours.

Fastforward past the long bus ride, long queues at the border and endless, “Are we there yet? ” chiming and we made it to Johannesburg Park Station. The sheer artistry of the roads, entangling was more than what my Chikanga dust roads accustomed eyes could handle. Fast food joints were at every corner. One person spoke a different language to the next, and the next, worlds apart from Mutare were you hardly ever hear any other languages besides English and Shona.

The excitement of being in a new country quickly faded when I began school and at the tender age of 13 I would cry every morning at the thought of going back to “that place”. The dense questions about whether or not Zimbabwe had electricity, televisions, tarred roads, the general markers of a thriving country according to the world, I could handle. What broke me was the sheer unadulterated xenophobia that I faced day in and day out. It never got physical but words have a funny way of lingering in the mind long after the physical pain has disappeared. Had it not been for my English teacher and a few good friends at the school I might have become a teen suicide statistic.

Now, I can’t definitively say what the reason is behind my patriotism but after 11 years of living in this beautiful country flowing with milk and honey I still speak of Zimbabwe as if I left yesterday. It might be being reminded that I don’t belong here every now and then when people carelessly post ill-informed comments about foreign nationals or when a shop attendant refuses to assist me because I’m addressing her in English. It might be because in Zimbabwe there’s a familiarity of hearing the Shona language at every turn. The familiar taste of sadza cooked with mugaiwa mealie-meal. It might be running into a relative at least 3 times a day. It might be the absence of extreme violence that plagues the streets of Johannesburg.

I appreciate South Africa for the opportunities that have been afforded me. I appreciate the friends I have made here. I love the diversity the country offers. I love the display of cultures. I admire the infrastructure and service delivery that my own country lacks. I envy the free speech and the exercise of democracy that a lot of Africans can only dream of. Even after considering all this I am still unapologetically proudly Zimbabwean.

The feeling of coming to South Africa will never measure up to the feeling of going home where my heart is every December!

You used to be… Part 2

…Continued.Oprah Winfrey was told that her face was not good enough for television. Dick Rowe of Deca Records told the Beatles that guitar groups were on their way out. Walt Disney was fired for lacking imagination.Growing up, you believe you can achieve anything that you set your mind to. You haven’t seen the unpleasant side of life. You haven’t been knocked down a few rungs. You still believe in magic! My story is a bit similar. A lot of people know me as the ever-smiling chatterbox that befriends any human being with a pulse. I am known as the straight and narrow daughter of a preacher who is exemplary to peers. Under all that fluff no one knows the self loathing and the girl that would do anything not to be in a public setting. Heck, I do a song and dance when I have the chance to be home alone.A lot of the people I was surrounded by would always highlight my flaws. My eyes were scary, I was and still am, too skinny. I talk to too many people. I dress like a clown. Mind you, these are the kind comments. No wonder I am more accustomed to dealing with disparaging comments than I am with accepting a compliment (HARDEST TASK EVER!). “Why do you not see the good that I see in you?”, my bestfriend would always ask me. “BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING GOOD IN ME!”, I exclaimed when I had had enough of circumventing the question.

“Some of the most poisonous people come disguised as friends and family.” – Unknown

Because I’ve been drowning in so much negativity and probably ingested a lot of it I lost confidence in myself and consequently my craft. I began to think that no one has an interest in what I have to say. I became, and still am from time to time, recluse.The irony in all this is that the emotional scarring that made me abandon my passion is what has propelled me back to it. Those who have stood by me have taught me that I’m always going to face difficulties but I owe it to myself and those that have invested in me to love myself and soldier on!One of these days I want to look at myself and say, “You USED to be sad…”

You used to be… Part 1

Growing up I used to write a lot! Be it short stories, essays or articles – as long as it involved puting my thoughts on paper (or an electronic version thereof) I would do it. I used to be that girl who used to have compositions read in front of the class as an example of what a good composition should sound like. Not only was I a great writer but an outstanding orator too, even if I say so myself!

What happened then? Why did I not pursue this path? Why did I not nurture the blooming flower? Did I find a new passion? What pried me away from becoming the next Jodi Picoult, if you will?

To be continued…

Addiction!

What springs to mind when the word addiction is mentioned? Drugs, alcohol and gambling I presume.

Mazuwa ano addiction dzacho dzawanda! There are the ZeeWorld addicts, Supersport addicts, shopping addicts. In comes Chiedza, the Candy Crush and Coca-Cola addict. The severity of my addiction is that I drink 440mls of Coca-Cola everyday and I have reached the end of Candy Crush 3 times, the latest being yesterday.

Is the addiction to narcotics necessarily worse than addiction to devices and why?

“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”
Carl Gustav Jung

C’est fini!

What drives death and human existence then? Do you live a long life simply by honouring the commandment with a promise? If so, why do infants who know no sin die? Do you evade death simply by asking God to spare you? If so, why do people who pray fervently to God not live until a good and ripe age?

This leads me to think that celebrating birthdays is quite pointless. If I had no hand in my conception and birth and I have no control over my next breath then why should I celebrate my birthday? What achievement am I so proud of that I find it necessary to get showered with gifts and compliments? If my next move is not within my control then why does my existence matter?

Well, the answer is in our willingness to make the world a better place than it was before we existed. When Michael Faraday was born, so was electricity. When Alexander Bell was born, so was the telephone. When Jesus was born, so was redemption. When Chiedza was born…

From the time I was born I haven’t made a great discovery, had a breakthrough idea or been the saving grace of a nation. I haven’t appeared in broadcast media or print. I haven’t done anything that warrants my birthday to be observed by the masses. Until I feel that my life starts reflecting one that I can go back to my maker and present with pride, I find no use in celebrating the mere accumulation of years!

I am challenging us all to be notable figures in our generation! It’s not only by making a great discovery or displaying immense talent. Give someone who is destitute a meal. Help someone carry heavy load, literally. Assist in a home for the vulnerable. Give way on the road. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Christians will say, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7. Buddhists would say death leads to rebirth. I say let’s not focus on what happens after this life if we haven’t exhausted all efforts in making the current one the best it can be!

The commandment with a promise.

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Before you all boycott this article because you think it’s a run-of-the-mill motivational speech lend me your attention for a bit. We’ve all heard of or come across this verse at some point in our lives. That is the angle from which my analysis on death and the human existence is continuing from today.

If I was still a student at Mutare Junior School and had to write what in those days was called a composition on the worst day of my life I would write about the 11th of October 2018. That is the day when my best friend departed from this earth and, as I would like to think, ascended to heavenly glory. We’ll call him ‘Chif’ for the purposes of this article.

Chif was the kind of person you looked at and wondered why he bothered to tolerate you at all. He was polite and always willing to lend a hand wherever it was needed. He poured all his heart and soul into doing the work of the Lord and supporting the church and was always willing to learn more about how to please God.

Second only to God, his family was a driving force for him and he put them first above all else.

I would always watch him in awe as he would gracefully bear the yoke of every person who was important to him with a smile on his face and an ease that could only be fuelled by love. It would take all day for me to narrate all the wonderful and painful times, sacrifices and achievements we went through, all the while building our character and making us greater together than we were apart.

On the fateful 11th day of October 2018 Chif was involved in a fateful accident and perished on the spot! Almost 6 months down the line I still think he might appear out of nowhere and exclaim, “Chilili”, a name that only my paternal grandfather is allowed to use when addressing me.

I guess I blame it on my interpretation of Ephesians 6:1-3. Pardon me but what is living long on earth if one dies before seeing one’s 30th birthday? Where is the reward for being a person whom other people strive to be? Toparidza sei hukuru hwenyu kana vakarurama vachiparadzwa? I guess now I echo Job’s lament (Job 21:7-13).

If striving to be a man after God’s heart is not enough to be privy to the secret of being a beneficiary of the commandment with a promise then what is?

Death be not proud… The introduction.

Death! How final it is. Over the past few months I have come to accept that death is inevitable no matter the steps you take to prolong your life. If you were meant to die from an illness, cancer for example, you might be in remission only to relapse years later. As a person who grew up religious and then eventually took the decision to make God my Lord and Saviour, not forgetting that I was taught that prayer is always the answer, I’ll be writing a short series on my personal beliefs about death and human existence. Stay tuned!