THE PATRIARCHY SERIES-When Matriarchs Enable Patriarchy.

Powerful men are usually political figures , religious leaders , academics and business leaders. Patriarchy is when all decisions and power solely rests with the male figurehead in a family, society, institution or nation. Patriarchs do find solace in a type of matriarchal behaviour that enables and perpetuates their behaviour . Matriarchs like patriarchs are powerful women who have just about as much power as their male counterparts, with that power solely resting on their shoulders. Commonly exhibited by mammals matriarchy in human beings usually leads to a conducive environment for patriarchal tendencies to flourish as they play the role of making sure everyone tows the line of the important male figure head. The fact that these matriachs are women should not fool one to assume that they stand in the stead of young people and all women. Most of the Matriarchs are there to entrench the power and authority of those already holding it-men.

Society and institutions have a weakness of trusting matriarchs with the responsibility of shielding younger women from systematic and structural damage though most of the concern of these matriarchs is not the vulnerability of the young. The focus is rather how the matriarch can entrench more power for the patriarchy thus creating a more enabling environment. It is difficult for the women movement to gain traction on issues that women face because the bulk of those who are in offices of power are not fighting for women but rather the gravy train they benefit from led by patriarchs. Everything rolls back to the strong male system. The matriarchs will help the women folk as long as it does not impinge on the status quo of their patriachial superiors. They will support legislation and policies as long as those policies do not affect the wealth of the patriarchial trough they feed from. They will never speak out against real injustices that affects the power base they lean on.

The destruction of the patriarchs is the congruent destruction of the matriarchs hence they will fight tooth and nail to ensure the systems and structures that maintain the status quo is not questioned or hampered. This is the reason why abuse in religious and political settings of young girls and women can continue under the very watchful eye of matriarchs who ensure that rules and regulations are maintained and those seen as troublemakers are rooted out quickly before they disturb the flow of things. Most situations do not need to reach the ears of the father head as the mother head quickly deals with the situation ensuring the patriach only handles the hot cases.

It is folly for our young women to cry to most of the women in power today because a lot who occupy these officers are enablers of patriarchal behaviour. We can debate as a young generation on the women’s quota in business, politics and religious fields but if these quotas are occupied by enablers of patriarchy then we can never have true female representation in our institutions. Our matriachial figures should help younger women along in order to occupy positions of true power without throwing them to the wolves. Spaces by women in diverse institutions should not be occupied on proximity to patriarchal power. Most women who hold offices that count for something in our African continent have a proximity to patriarchs by lineage , marriage or relationship. It is important for more vibrant open minded women to occupy spaces not because of pandering to patriarchs or enabling patriarchs but based on merit and ability. We are apt to argue for more spaces for our women folk but if these spaces are occupied by patriarch enablers then the real emancipation of women has not begun and will just be a dream.

The women empowerment movement will not flourish by having power centered on matriarchal figures or patriarchial figures but on opportunities and resources being shared equally and equitably across the line so that both women and men can come to the decision making table without one holding sway over the other. Young people can cry to have positions of leadership but if there are pawns for both matriarchs and patriarchs then the road for both young women and men will be that harder. When a small group of elite women can hold sway of the menfolk it is not a form of power we should aspire too but rather an environment of mutual respect and justice should be cultivated by all so that all can truly access equitable resources and spaces.

THE PATRIARCHY SERIES Patriarchy-The Young Men’s Hurdle.

In most instances the impact of the male figurehead is clearly exhibited by the experiences women encounter with those of the male species. However a hidden effect of patriarchy is experienced by young men. Boys and young men suffer in silence yet also carry the brutal effects of patriarchy , one might ridicule this observation but at the peril of society.

In the context of Africa this is an important viewpoint to note because Africa has at least 60% of its population being young people. Young-categorized as those between 15 and 35 years. The older generation in the particular case the older men are taking the same patriarchal tendencies they have used to foist themselves on women and girls and now applying them on young males in diverse fields but more so exhibited in commerce and politics.The sad scenario is that it is difficult for young men to come out in the open about such challenges.It is difficult for young males and females to take up space in public entities as age is used as a pre-requisite for entrance in many diverse fields usually eliminating young people at first hurdle. Entering public office or the judiciary becomes a mammoth task and each passing day becomes a hurdle. Unfortunately this process begins right at community level were boys are errand boys for male figures with the promise of future jobs and opportunities used to cajole them into discipline. They fight amongst each other to prove loyalty to that circle of figure heads all the while being blinded to the fact that they belong together with their female counterparts at the decision making table.

In most cases the challenges for young males are similar to those of women in the fight with patriarchs for economic and political space.Sport is another place were dominant male figures subjugate the younger people as they usually possess the resources that would give these young people a chance. Figure heads control the power and resources that would completely shift the trajectory of young men’s lives and use this power to garner loyalty through withholding spots and chances for important games , opportunities and platforms. Young men gather the small resources they have in order to travel for events whose bounty is then feasted on by figures such as coaches , mentors and committees.

How many times have our African governments set aside resources and allowances for young people especially to represent countries at international level only to hear that those resources never reach the youngsters but rather are imbibed by mostly male figureheads whose only prowess is the ability to occupy positions of leadership. Unfortunately this phenomenon is what perpetuates the same patriarchial tendencies when these young men finally enter into positions of authority-they take on the characteristics of their handlers and it is difficult to prescribe a different life set because they have never known it , resorting to the default settings that they know about. When they decide to fight the system they are labelled rebels and sellouts and just like women and girls are banished to the periphery of resources.It does not augur well for the African optics that most young men truly doing well have been enabled by sucking-up and not necessarily by ability as a clear connection exists between these young people and patriachy systems .

We often see them labelled as trail blazing when in fact it is their proximity to patriarchal heritage that enables their so- called wealth and connectivity accessing through the back door loans and schemes meant to benefit all.The theory of African succession has not helped young men to run away from the effects of patriarchy-others benefit yet still others crumble but the infighting for resources is legendary from village level to national level. It is a ticking time bomb how the young in Africa are being sidelined by these patriachial tendencies. The patriarchal systems can only hold on so long against the coming tide long before the barricade gives in.There is need for a serious shift in the thinking of our patriarchs. It is to their own benefit to rightly create an enabling environment for both male and female and not one over the other. Young people need to be given a stronger voice and conducive environment without connotations and attachments to the right. Without the need to belong to a certain narrative or system.

It is the onus of young people to present and fight for their right without antagonizing the very patriarchy that they want to dispose. It is important for young people to understand that being given space and taking space does not mean the sidelining of those offering the space because patriarchs are apt to feel squeezed and want to fight back rather than join hands.

So Long and God Speed….

#day22 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggerswinterchallenge

The end of the beginning has come.I arrived to the party rather late but l am glad that l did jump in and found the grace to catch-up.

The topics in the @afroblogge #WinterABC2020 challenge did not come easy but l enjoyed how most of them brought out deep feelings we would normally not be willing to share. I met through the stories a lot of young African story tellers all with beautiful story telling abilities. l must put out an ode to the creator of this African journey @afrobloggers. You are doing a wonderful job. You are grooming great African story tellers and showing what we can achieve if we are united. It’s important for us Africans to tell our own stories and change the narratives and wrong thinking out there. Thank you for this opportunity. While you are at it-create the Afrobloggers writing fellowship-worry not about the funding, when you have a compelling idea the money will follow the idea. Although we are great seeds we all could do with more training and learning and such platforms as yours and fellowships are needed.

I enjoyed so many writings and blogs and loved how we were able to support each other. I met fellow Africans and l loved the encounter. What l can say is that you are all amazing , you are all special, you have something to say to the world -never stop speaking -never stop creating new worlds with your words. Continue to believe in that which you love and Shine ever so brightly. Congrats are in order for all who entered the challenge at whatever stage. So long and God speed.

Period poverty needs a truth revolution in Africa!

#day21 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggerswinterchallenge

Today is the penultimate day in the winter African blogging challenge.Today we were asked to revamp an old story and bring it to life. I have revamped my post that was initially called Period Poverty needs a truth revolution in Zimbabwe.This is an issue dear to my heart and it is also my strong assertion that Africa needs a truth revolution in respect of period poverty.

Menstrual Hygiene Day was celebrated albeit muted across Africa due to the Corona virus. My assertion is we need to do some serious reckoning about period poverty in Africa. In fact we need to have a paradigm shift as women and girls about how we talk about period poverty. Now is not the time to beat about the bush – Period poverty needs a truth revolution in Africa!

It is really like playing hide and seek. Sometimes we just have to call a spade a spade. We have a spade in Africa called Period Poverty – but we keep on skirting around the issue. We need a truth revolution regarding period poverty!

The nature of the problem is that we keep hiding the real issues around the poverty women and girls endure on the continent in handling this natural phenomenon. There has never been a more opportune time to talk about this deep issue of Period poverty than during this Covid-19 pandemic. However the conversation cannot be buttered-no more nice rosy words.

What truth do we need to be telling each other ? What do our men and boys need to know? What should our policy makers need to hear ? Women are suffering in silence about, and which amenities are needed to handle the monthly circle. Its understandable why women have suffered in silence and why it’s been a taboo to speak about menstrual issues. Its steeped in the patriachial nature of our African societies. As girls and women we are taught to hide this natural phenomenon from a very early age such that by the time it happens we have been trained well enough to hide it from society’s prodding ears and eyes and have perfected the art so well that even when the scale is now so lopsided against us to our own detriment and well-being we keep on hiding our pain and discomfort in shame yet men can easily advocate for the availability of free condoms everywhere so that when there are engulfed by untamed urges they can do so in safety.

Why have the needs of women been put in the back burner for so long? As long as we do not speak out about the cost of santary wear and the amenities needed to make it bearable then we as Africans will remain a disservice to our girls and women.

Our leaders remain engrossed in entrenching themselves in power to such an extent that the issues that women need solved to make menstrual hygiene are only dealt with only on paper in order to satisfy multi-lateral financial institutions willing to enslave our economies further by pandering to the appetites of grown men who only care to create empires for themselves and their immediate kith and kin. Are our leaders so blind and immune to the issues women face to such an extent of turning a blind eye to our plight?

Factors responsible for period poverty in Africa are the same across the continent-whether you visit Zambia , Zimbabwe , Botwsana or Malawi it is all the same. Natural disasters brought by climate change worsen the impacts while still wars and conflict are added dilemmas to the whole scenario. In particular the scourge of drought makes the food security challenges even more pronounced as all family resources are diverted towards meeting basics with the needs of girls and women in particular becoming sidelined.

Lack of Sanition facilities and access to water contributes significantly to period poverty in Africa. Menstruation by its nature needs water in order to maintain good hygiene and also needs a way of disposing the sanitary wear.

Faced with the above issues what do we women actual resort to ? Some use old clothes which need to be able to absorb copius amounts of blood . Some paper, some tissue and others who are lucky can use cotton wool as the cost of pads is way out of reach for most African women and girls. There are some who are lucky and do access sanitary pads but observations show that most of these are young girls who sometimes have parents buy for them but mostly might resort to boyfriends with some not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts but in exchange for sexual favours.

Reusable pads can work but the challenge here with reusable pads is the access to clean water and soap to wash these pads and their lifespan usually runs for a year. It is also difficult to find local supplies of the materials used to make reusable pads otherwise the cost ends up being too high -others have tried to run pad campaigns but this woman issue is a constant monthly challenge-How many pad campaigns can be done?

Policy shifts and budgetary allocations should be more sustainable and not piecemeal actions to appease women and girls with women falling for the carrots so quickly and with short sightedness.

A common problem among African girls and women is what is called ‘Jeko’ which is acute period pain which can last for days on end. Most deal with this problem by taking over the counter medicines that alleviate pain such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. This simple medication can become very out of reach in our extended lockdowns and difficult economic conditions.

Sanitary wear issues are very secondary to most of the bread and better issues our society is currently facing. Our political classes are usually stone deaf to such issues and because people are faced with hunger, period poverty is an after thought both for governments and most civil society. More must be done to lesson the burden for African women and girls and one place to start with is telling each other the truth.

Of My Life Changing Event- A Culmination Of Events.

#day20 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggers

I recently took stock of a culmination of events leading to an event that has changed the trajectory of my life and those around me. I have always valued the concept of civic duty not necessarily in the context of exercising my democratic right to vote , which is important but rather an obligation towards my fellow men to add whatever value l can to others, even sometimes at my own disadvantage. Some offcourse do look at this as a sign of weakness and a chance to run roughshod and take advantage. l decided a long time ago that it is seldom helpful to want to explain one self or protect self from the vagrances of those with character excesses. My personal motto is to plant a good seed because l understand the value of generational good will building. What happens to our future kith and kin is very much a product of our current settings-that which we are investing in now. This is so elucidated in the teachings of Jesus Christ when he clearly articulates that one of the primary bases of his teachings are founded in the law of reaping and sowing-the law of seasons. Some call it the secret-call it whatever you want. That which is planted and spoken , acted on , the universe will recreate a corresponding effect-only multiplied. You sow at your own risk and present your own harvest. I have not wanted to harvest for me and my children bitter pills neither for their future children. So l try to plant good as much as possible and l am so ably partnered by the man l have chosen to spend the rest of my days here on earth with.

So a culture of service has always been engrained in me coupled sometimes unfortunately with a competitiveness edge. I do justify the competitiveness element from an economics point of view-being more amenable or offering better opportunities for less expenses. It is my thorn in the flesh.

I started a culture of service learning in primary school when there was still a Red Crescent Movement , when l was the only first aider in the whole school together with the first aid teacher. I criss-crossed the whole school field at break time taking care of bruises , sprains , fainting and noise bleeds -mostly nose bleeds. It was not a paid voluntary job- just the thought of getting the first-aider of the year award was enough for me- l loved the ethos of the Red cross and Red crescent movement -in normal wars if wars can ever be normal it is red cross and crescent volunteers who would be able to cross the enemy line and take care of casualties without being fired on.

Then there was the Scripture Union movement in both primary and secondary school. One clarion call of Scripture Union was to inoculate us with the word of God in a way that w impressionable teenagers understand. It also helped to teach voluntarism. There was nothing like a scripture union meeting -the singing and dancing ,the praying was so sincere that over the years l have struggled to see such authenticity in most of what we profess to be Christianity today. Here we made our pledges to abstain from the perils of sex-before-marriage as it was called then. At this time l also discovered l was an eloquent speaker and being an empowerment group , scripture union groomed future leaders and prayer warriors-like seriously. I attended church zealously and can affirm that from age thirteen to nineteen l had attended over 23 youth camps. I was a church usher for 8 years. Those who have been ushers know that it is not a pretty church title and neither does it have a pretty job description-no siree , you are the first to arrive in church for every service which is about three services a week , clean the church and make sure everything is ready and pass the offering baskets-that was before people could just rush to the pulpit and put money there. There was order in church then- ushers were bouncers slush gate keepers slush pastor protectors slush church cleaners. You do know that in church most services are pro-bono right. So l did this for seven years until l moved to a big church. When l moved to this new church l was so exhausted and tired such that l just blended with the crowd and focused on self for some time. Heard though that they missed me sorely at the other church-offcourse l have no proof but l would like to think they missed me.

Then l applied for bible school and discovered at the time l just could not afford the high fees. Back in the day accessing courses and programs for theology was expensive and involved church politics. The failure drained me , life happened and l kinda of shut-off for some time- mmm years. Christian’s call it backsliding -tongues and all.

I found myself again in my mid- twenties. I little bit wiser about church and playing church. One day l heard about the concept of Christ in the market place. The gospel that l had heard for a long time was separating ourselves from the world but here was a message resonating with my spirit because in between the years l had studied Marketing and was a full fledged marketer and entrepreneur and had seen how detached sometimes from reality our Christ Walk was. The basis of the market place believer is that we dont have to divide our lives in segments of church , home and business but rather that we can incorporate a Godly walk even in our work life and business world. We do not have to shut other people based on our differences but rather to find a way of winning them with our conduct in the work field without neccesarily putting labels on our faith. Bringing the walk of faith in the market place. Applying the principles of the Kingdom of God in the market place. Respecting and believing people even if we do not necessarily agree on life styles. That’s why l will hang with people that in my younger life l would not. l dont have to agree with all aspects of your life style or religious choices but l will respect and love you.

So l have become more open, more encompassing, more accepting. l am quite firm on what l believe but l will not be your judge because l dont want to be judged-l hope to showcase the Christ who hanged out with tax collectors , prostitutes and politicians and l am not perfect either.l will make friends with those l must else how will they here the good news. Oh it will never be a profuse you will be damned message. It will be little hints , little acts of kindness until you want it too.

The culmination of all these events is that l met my husband about 11 years ago who also loves volunteering. His first voluntary act that l saw was to change his church and come to mine-l did not ask him, he volunteered , he immediately became a good fit. We moved to Victoria Falls from Harare for him to pursue better art opportunities. We found a small church. We become youth leaders. He volunteered at an orphanage for nearly three years teaching art because he loved it. l focused on grooming young people in the Kingdom. We ended up studying theology. Five years ago based on his work and mine we begun a non-profit organisation called Rise N Shine the name coming from Isiah 60. This organisation is based in rural Victoria Falls. We initially came across these villages in our theological work and fell in love with the people and saw the great educational needs of the young people. The organisation uses the Arts in all its forms to bring sustainable change in the lives of rural youth and women-our programs have mostly focused on girls not because there are more important but their needs are more stark in contrast to the lives of boys and men in rural villages due to patriarchy entrenched in our African Societies. When l was ordained l made the personal decision that l would seek not to start or head a church but rather that l would be a market place Pastor. Change the lives of rural youth through my private convictions using the gifts of Art which we are well endowed with. A lot of people struggle to understand this.They ask why l dont start a church. l wish not to be understood-l wish to do my part because they shall be a day of reckoning and l want to be true to my calling.

Through our programs we run girls and boys clubs in a cluster of rural villages and l am proud to say we have met consistently every Saturday across these villages for the last five years and only stopped to meet in groups due to the Corona-virus. This is the only time our family has been truly able to spend with each other as our lives are filled with so many of our club and program activities. My daughter started attending clubs at 4 and now she is nine. My twin boys started at three and now there are five -they prefer to attend the girls clubs rather than the boys clubs.We try to make everything fun ,we do annual camps for five to six days. I have to play the part of mentor , protector and discipliner all at the same time.We dance , sing laugh and dance. We hold youth expos in villages and try to do our part. Everybody knows we all have to do our part.

Four years ago we made the decision to live town life-can’t really call Victoria Falls a city , to come and take up residency here in the rural areas so as to be near our work-our market place.That was a major event for me and my family. I can bet you, you will not see me running a church but you might see me with a couple of people that you might frown upon. Actually you might not notice the difference with my shaggy locks-l blend in well , we both do. I have to be honest though that l still cringe inside when the girls and boys tell me about their life style choices ( l am still old school, l believe in abstinence ) but l learnt a long time ago that young people dont need sermons they need someone who listens to them, who believes in them , who encourages them. My main aim is to help equip them with education so that they can make better choices which will serve them well in the future. I want them to have access to choice the same way l have been given choice. This type of work is not for those with an affinity to judge -you will have an early heart attack. I am not perfect-I have my own battles to fight , after all Paul says work out your own salvation. l have found mine l hope you find yours. Today l sign as Pastor Sfe-just for today.

My five favourite songs-‘ Wanna be starting something?’

#day19 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggerswinterchallenge

Back in the 90’s in high school l was part of a group of high school girlfriends who loved hanging together but all loved different music. We shared food and our misguided love for all things American. We collected pictures of our favourite stars and stuck them in special notebooks. We saved our donut monies and bought glossy magazines from America especially People Magazine. In the group l remember there was a Madonna fan , a New Kids on the Block fan and me -a Michael Jackson fan. l had the biggest Michael Jackson poster in our shared bedroom and only used to listen to Wacko -Jacko. Like all teenage phases fortunately it passed.

l recently remembered this period when l saw a character in the despicable movies called Brat dancing to MJ , then l became excited and l said to my kids ‘ Wow Michael Jackson ! ‘ imagine how l felt when my nine year old daughter said ‘ ‘who is Michael Jackson ? ‘ child where do l begin. I decided to keep quiet because my nine year would just not get it.

I am quite eclectic, listening to different genre’s with others seemingly clashing with my faith but l learnt it is the conditions of our hearts that matter not what we profess on the outside-lest l become entangled by the yeast of the pharisees. Thus I have a done a Kenny-Gee phase. I love big band music-think Phil Collins renditions in big bad style.l have crooned to Mahalia Jackson a lot-my voice is nothing to write home about-God cant give you everything . I get Chiwoniso Maraire Zimbabwean female mbira maestro , Bethany Pasinawako -Wangu is epic. Can you be Zimbabwean and not fall for it least one Jah Prazah song.

Being an artist l have attended many live shows and l do thank God l have seen our own Winky -D , Jah Prazah , Oliver Mtukudzi , Chiwoniso , Hope Masike-l forget to tell you about the crazy Nguvayakwana shows hosted by Gospel Train and all those great gospel artist that we attended. So truly it is difficult to choose five favourite songs but l feel that l need to do my Michael Jackson period justice by this ode to wacko Jacko.

To me ( remember it’s about me) the late Michael Jackson was the best personification of the power of the Arts to recreate new worlds. He lived a life to the whims of his artistic creations both flawed and good. He created his own world and fell at the peril of his own sword. My relationship with Michael Jackson is the same as the one l feel for the late Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. Always leaves me conflicted. At the one end you loathe the direction and steps they took in life but at the same time admire the brilliance and resolute standing for their passions and beliefs. That’s why the song ‘ Man in the Mirror’ by the King of Pop means something to me. Its a call to action for the man whom we see in the mirror to begin the process of change. Maybe it was a reflection of what he saw in himself but it should also be a reflection of what we do see in the mirror-are we proud of what we see when we dare look beyond the artificial veneer ? Can we continue looking at ourselves or we begin to avoid the mirror because it reflects our true selfish , greedy souls who care not for others – what awesome words by Michael Jackson with the chorus bidding :

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

My second favourite from MJ is the enduring enigmatic song penned by Jackson and Lionel Richie , produced by producer-par excellence Quincy Jones. Written as a call to the world to not ignore the ravaging effects of hunger on the people of Africa when images of starving Ethopian children, emaciated to their bones were shown on television networks in the early 80s. A who’s who of top artists in America was assemblied and sung the lyrics of this song that shook the world to act. USA for Africa. I loved how America was trailblazing the world, leading the way in making the world a better place. What has happened to that America ? Herein part of the lyrics as penned by Jackson and Richie :

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

What a song!

Smooth Criminal has to be one of the best songs of all time , what with the incredible video. I used to call it ‘ the gotta be starting something ‘ song because l thought that line was just amazing and l put this song in my top five.

Who could have spoken about race so well without causing drama than MJ in his epic song Black or White, when l see the images around the world in the aftermath of BLM, l always think of this song.

My last song in my top five is the Jackson 5 song ‘l want you back’ when a young black , flat nosed Michael was towards breaking out on his own. He struggled with how he looked and was one of the pioneers in changing how a person physically looked. The world disparaged him for this but l always think how hypocritical we humans can be because now botox , nose and boob jobs , skin bleaching are all every day occurrences that are raking in billions and acceptable. Then again he was a pioneer-somebody had to start it. And now that l have my little secret in the public domain l don’t need any bashing unless you wanna be starting something !

The Sound Of The Hilly Place

#day18 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggerswinterchallenge

They had tried everything. They had hoped for the best. They kept on believing that the best would happen to them. Thiers was a fairy tale that needed to end well.

Tichatonga had swept Aunt Nomsa’s heart from the day he set his eyes on her beautiful well sculpted African body. His shy eyes hiding his passion for life and love, but meeting the gaze of Nomsa Strongly. I was visiting my Aunt who had moved here some time ago with her husband who was now facing challenges associated with his age and an unknown health ailment. I had come to help to take care of him.

It had been folly on his part to marry a woman half his age. Her energy and stamina had contributed to his ailing health as he tried to keep up with her stamina but his old bones had gone to frail. That he could no longer satisfy his young wife eat him up as he watched in plain sight men gazing unashamedly at his young bride hoping for his peril so that they would sneak in and take his place. He hoped that when he had left the earth his young wife my fathers young sister, my Aunt would not fall for such tricks. He knew that he was leaving the earth soon enough and as such had left ample protection for her in the form of a will. His wealth was legendary in these hilly parts , he had acquired by sheer hard work cattle , goats, sheep ,turkeys and birdlife and by good fortune had found a wife that he was willing to spend the rest of his days and wealth with.

Tichatonga meaning one day we will rule- was the name his father had given him when the Chiefdom war between the two Mazondo families had escalated. With the Chieftaincy taken away by his younger brother while he worked in the city his father had become bitter and called him Tichatonga. He never did get the chance to rule as a quick death met him after imbibing at gogo Mazanas homestead. He came back complaining of a headache and went to sleep early but he never did wake up.That is how Tichatonga lost his father.

Angry and bitter Tichatonga left the hilly homestead of his ancestors to find solace in city life, with his integrity and determination he soon found work in Harare as the trusted driver to the big Chef. He was a rural boy and new the value of money -sending back ever so often to his mother to buy his livestock, and buy she did and multiply they did, until the homestead was teeming with all manner of livestock. He was not much of a ladies man so he did not see the years pass him buy but fate brought him to my aunt when he he picked her from Mbare in pouring rain and as her wet clothes stuck to her body he was mesmerized by the sumptuous silhouette and her youthful and innocent face. They hit it off immediately and fell in love. He had found medicine for his broken heart and a remedy to help him return and settle back to the land of his ancestors. My aunt being a rural girl did not mind relocating to his rural home were there were supposed to live happily ever after.

Everything was going well until the whispers came from the older women that something was wrong in the marriage because there was no sound of a baby in the yard. Offcourse they had been trying for a baby but it was now evident that this endeavour had failed. Now Tichatonga was also showing signs of ill heath. At first he thought it was tiredness but he kept on feeling weaker as the days and months went by. Being a proper African he tried a little bit of everything , Pentecostals , vapostori , African traditional medicine but nothing seemed to give him varlour, strength and health.

Aunt Nomsa being a clever African woman had not been sitting idly while her man waisted. When she realised he was losing stamina she had quickly told her friend who had said she knew just the portion to get her man right on track to strength and power. She aptly gave her a powder and told her to put it in his porridge every morning and he would be soon mended. Alas, as the days went by he became weaker and weaker -unbeknown to Nomsa her dear friend had been given a portion of deadly slow poison by gogo Mazana. Tichatonga wasted away with each day as the poison slipped through his blood.

When l visited l was told that he always needed his powder with his food. Being observant l had noticed how my aunt’s best friend always came to check on my uncle Tichatonga and his health and become rather agitated when asking about his health taking aunt Nomsa to ask if she was giving him his powder. I could see how the disease was taking a toil on aunt and asked her that she not worry herself with too much work. l would take care of everything including cooking for uncle Tichatonga. I stopped giving him the powder and he improved ever so slightly. One day l asked to visit the big city for two days. I took with me some of the powder and dropped off at my friends workplace were she now worked as a lab assistant. l asked her to check on the powder. She said l should come back tomorrow-when l arrived the next say she asked were l had got the powder .l explained and she told me it was a type of slow poison . Aunt Nomsa had been hoodwinked. They wanted to kill Tichatonga for the hcchieftainship.

I quickly ran and boarded a bus to the hilly place with the mountains. I found aunt Nomsa looking pale and worried. Uncle Tichatonga was at his last ebb, he had been sleeping all day and was probably now on his last few days on earth. l needed to see him. l had been given an antidote that had a quick turnaround and if administrated quickly would save him. He had to survive. I needed him to be alive. I narratived everything to Aunt Nomsa and while doing so l saw uncle Tichatonga stirring. As he woke up l was dying in my heart to let him know what l had discovered, l needed him to know there was a chance for him.

It is now two years since that fateful day that he woke up and took the antidote that l was dying to give him. The sound of a baby cries as Aunt Nomsa washes him. A future Chief. Tichatonga!

Afrophobia Has No Place ln Modern Africa.

#day17 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggerswinterchallenge #Africawillrise

I do feel sad that l would have loved to write a more alluring post about a particular current affairs issue with a more enduring impact on popular culture than a piece on Afrophobia. I did not want to write about a difficult subject but l am compelled first as a proud Zimbabwean and secondly as a proud African to pen my thoughts on the recent hashtag Zimbabweansmustfall on social media especially twitter.

In this day and age we have people on the African continent peddling the fall of fellow Africans. The irony of this is the same peddlers of such rhetoric jump on the black lives matter mantra.

My fellow Africans who are Afrophobic l feel sad for you. It is shameful to even ponder that there is a generation in our midst who even have such incredulous thoughts. You bring shame to our heritage as Africans. I put it to you that you must put ideas and notions in retrospect-the crimes do not justify the rhetoric , it is sad. George Floyd sparked a movement despite the fact that he had his flaws like every human being but his flaws did not justify his murder. To those fellow Africans who practise Afrophobia -the hatred of fellow Africans ,l will not peddle a narrative to justify or deny the accusations you profess against my kith and kin but only to say fellow Africans-we are better than this , we have a responsibility to each other to take care of each other and to support each other. We can speak about the issues we face as Africans without pointing fingers. We can hold each other accountable without name calling. We can improve the lot of our people without blame shifting. Our continent can grow bigger and better when we are united. We can hold our governments more accountable as an African citizenry than a divided people. We can claim a better place for African when we join hands.

I am not Afrophobic and l refuse to channel fear-mongering. Those whose lives are centered on phobia-mongering build on foundations that will crumble. Foundations and institutions based on fear never suffice or grow. If the idea of the hashtag is movement building -it has failed even when it is beginning. If it is to peddle influence -those who carry it need counseling and healing . Such movements flounder and tether and eventually crumble. Yes , it is possible that we have Zimbabweans engaged in abominable activities on the continent but each race and tribe has such people. Each race and tribe has it’s own great people too and Zimbabwe is no exception. I live in a border , tourist town and l come across different races and tribes every- day. Zimbabwe is a plethora of different races and tribes with Africans from across the board. We choose to celebrate our brothers and sisters. Faulted as we might be Zimbabwe has taken her son’s and her daughters into harm’s way many a time. It might not be to the knowledge of those who peddle such hatred but our economy begun to tether when thousands of our sons and daughters were put in the frontline to defend the Republic of Congo were a blood bath awaited her people had Zimbabwe not intervened. Our leaders led with the baton stick and always they do -clearly they lack in other aspects but the defence of the African brotherhood is not one of those. Just recently Boko Haram were laying siege in Mozambique . There is a recent silence to the Boko -Haram noise in Mozambique all thanks to our leader who took a trip during a Covid pandemic to help a fellow brother out. Mind you Boko Haram is not child’s play. We are only about 10 million in Zimbabwe , they would bomb their way very quickly to the citadels of Afrophobie headquarters. The paradise you call home, were you sit being keyboard warriors disparaging fellow Africans who risked life and limb for what now you think is emancipation would crumble all the more quickly. Have you not heard -that those who live in glass houses should not play ball with stones. The classes that are being brewed by unskewed distribution of resources will create a plethora of problems that we experienced know only two well. You would do well to learn from us and avoid our pitfalls rather than deride our shortcomings. Afterall Zimbos are made of sterner stuff. What we have survived all to well others might not cope so well with. I am not ashamed that l am Zimbabwean. I love being Zimbabwean and love my fellow Africans .

Afrophobies when those with the same color skin as you own the resources that flow through your country then you will know what is emancipation. When you value the part that the whole of the African continent played for you so that you can bleach your skin yellow and start thinking that you are not one of us then you will be emancipated. When you know that all of us Africa we are one then you will truly be emancipated. When your fellow countryman can die for other Africans then you will be emancipated. Our continent will not be built by Afrophobia.

We are Africans , belong to each other , and must help each other grow. We will not always get it right all the time -when we fail , we must question each other in love and not let bigotry, religion and self hatred be our stumbling block.

P.S when the tide turns as it surely always does and you need help from my children, they will offer it gladly. If its love they might find it. Let us not pander to racism , tribalism, xenophobia and Afrobhobia.

It is only prudent to discover while the sun shines that other countries are embracing fellow Africans and learning from each other , finding solace in African brotherhood. l for one love my fellow Africans and wish that our works and character will not be judged by our tribes , race , ethnicity but on the mantle of our individual characteristics. Zimbabwe will rise !Africa will rise! Aluta Continua!

Connecting The Dots Between Fear And Loss To Find Hope.

#day16 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggerswinterchallenge

A relationship exists between fear and loss. Either one can precede the other-loss leading to fear or fear leading to loss. I had my moment a few years back , but l learnt a valuable lesson. Loss is part of the human deoxyribonucleic acid but fear does not have to become a part of us.

The blessings in my life come in the form of my three children , a nine year old girl and five year old fraternal twin boys. They could have been more or less -l not being a creator do not know exactly. I had a miscarriage at five and half months after l gave birth to my daughter who was now three at the time of our trying to have a second child. When the miscarriage happened l put on a brave face , l did not cry , l did not flinch – l continued life as if nothing had happened.l even refused counseling. What an African thing to do-go for counseling. That only happens to white folks in movies.

I had the miscarriage around 12 PM and by 6.00 a.m l was sweeping the yard in the morning. l had even refused to sleep at the hospital. The whole experience was not physically painful and l told myself l would not make it a spiritual painful process. I was a preacher of the gospel , immune to pain and despair and l was strong , all things work together for good. We decided we wouldn’t try for a baby for another year. l even told myself that my one daughter was my portion in the world and so l was quite content. My husband became attached to his one possible child and so we lived our lives. l had conquered loss and came out on top. So, l thought.

The signs and symptoms came in a manner l had never experienced before. I would throw-up and urinate at the same time, then immediately fall asleep. Sometimes l would literally sleep while walking. Eventually l discovered l was pregnant. I could not eat anything for days on end except sadza and offals. I ate sadza and offals until the very end. Then the fear set-in. I had not dealt with my loss but rather tucked it away far away and told my self Christian’s do not grieve. I became fearful of going to the hospital to register the pregnancy and begin antenatal care for myself and the baby. At the same time my stomach kept ballooning at an incredible rate. I would feel faint easily. One night l felt like my uterus was giving up again and by then l was in the fifth month and we had decided that we would be using a private doctor instead of government hospitals, at that time our health delivery system in Zimbabwe was starting to break down. The year was 2014.

We gathered our daughter and the few US dollars we had been saving in order to go to the private doctor. I was flooded with the fear of another loss. We went expecting the worst. After the nurses went through their paces with me the doctor was then called. He did his tests and examinations and thought that my fear was a bit unfounded as my uterus was feeling and looking intact. However he said we needed to be on the safe side and make sure the baby was okey and prepare for a possibility of giving the baby a fighting chance by giving him/her drugs that would make his/her lungs strong. In order to prepare we needed to book a scan. After two days we came back for our scan together with our daughter. We never left her.

In-we arrived in the scanning room with the radiologist alluding to how he thought my pregnancy was a bit to big to be at the beginning of the second trimester. He then put the jelly that helps navigate the tummy when doing a scan and then said matter of factly ” the kids seem to be doing well and sitting okey, the amniotic fluid is enough-actually everything is in order “- he then looked at us and saw us with our mouths wide open. His assumption was that we knew that l was carrying twins. He then realised that we didn’t know. He said let me show you the sex of the children. Then he pointed at the one we could see and said this one is definitely a boy but the other one looks like a boy but he was not to sure.

We left the complex dumbfounded. It was not what we were expecting at all. We went in fear of loss but now we were filled with hope. We do not have twins from my side of the family neither from my partners. In my loss God had replaced my lost baby or babies.

I had to go for check-ups nearly twice a week. Then my uterus started to show signs of opening again….and the fear of loss returned. It was a shadow upon my head. I was asked to stop all manner of physical work. For three months l had spend my whole time on my knees with my head in between my shoulders to help the babies stay inside. I only went out to visit the bathroom. My husband took care of our daughter and had to stop doing his art to take care of me. For that l love him. Our small church group was amazing -they kept me sane. I knew or rather feared something was going to give with this pregnancy. It was either going to be me or the babies or all of us.There is a darkness that hangs when death faces you. When you close your eyes you can smell the death and hope that one it comes it will be peaceful. I would hear them pray for me. My husband would sit next to me with his bible and pray silently. He is not a loud person but is rather shy and is nothing like me when it comes to praying. I being boisterous and all over the place-him being quite and calm. He decided to fast for me up until delivery.

The second scan showed the twins were doing okey but the third scan produced a scary assessment . The big amazed eyes of the radiologist said it all. He just managed to mumble something is wrong. He pointed to a large circle in the uterus together with the children. It was the same size as the head of the children. It was a fibrod growing inside the uterus and with the constant supply of blood it was growing expotionally fast and taking up the space in the womb. By a miracle of sorts it was placed at the far corner of the uterus away from the children but the space in the womb was now very limited. When the doctor saw the growing humogous fibroid he said he had no choice but to operate in the next two weeks when the pregnancy would be at 36 weeks. We went back home l decided after coming face to face with my fear of loss-loss of my life , loss of the babies or the possible loss of all of us that it was in my best interest to not have the fibroid removed.

The doctor said it was a possible option to cut the fibroid or have it removed later.l told him it would be better it is returned where it came from and never to be touched.We did our prayers and placed our fate in Gods hands.

The day they operated twin one was entangled three times by the umbilical cord and twin two twice. If we had tried natural labour we would have lost them both. Three assistants and the doctor forced back the fibroid into the uterus after cutting the deliverying the babies. It had also pushed through. I could hear them pant and gasp putting it back inside my uterus. I had finally over come my fear of loss. The nurses and that doctor at the hospital still look at me in amazement.

My fraternal twins are doing well. One looks like the dad and the other looks like me. One is called Seth which means God has restored unto me -inspired by Eve after God gave her a replacement of her child who had been murdered and Sela’h which David in the psalms used to admonish us to pause and praise the works of God.

I do no know what became of that fibroid. l have never been checked. I leave a normal life and am healthy and l have learnt that its okey to grieve and that love , hope and faith overcomes fear.

Matters Of My Heart-The Access To Equitable Education By girls And Women ln Rural Areas.

#day15 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggers #afrobloggerswinterchallenge

I am very passionate about the access to equitable education by girls and women , more so for the girl and woman in rural areas.

There is a convergence of issues that women and girls face whose only possible emancipation from this nexus is the access to equitable education . The freedom from the shackles of poverty , patriachy , violence , injustices , early child bearing , teenage pregnancies and limited civil participation can be set in motion when society understands that access to equitable education will break these shackles. It is when women and girls can access this vital resource that society grows.

My passion is thus centered on understanding the issues around the impediments to access and finding creative ways to rewrite the narrative and change the story. My experiences as a development practitioner and mentor for a number of girls over the years and being a resident villager gives me rear insight on such intricacies. Most of the times l have gone-in with my heart , soul and head resulting in emotional turmoil when some of the interventions and strategies have failed dismally. l have then learnt to just go in with the head and learn to keep the heart far-away. Poverty and the injustices around issues to do with women have tended to exhibit themselves as generational cycles that unfortunately have blinded completely those that are shackled by such chains with the resultant effect being that they who need the emancipation do not know the fact and can misconstrue or misunderstand the whole process when offered opportunity to change the trajectory.

The first step towards equitable access to education is to make those suffering from the lack thereof to understand the importance of not only access but of receiving equitable access. Communities are apt to accept piecemeal tokens as better than nothing which usually mean resources are limited resulting in the first losers being women and girls as patriachy rears its ugly head fighting for scarce resources.

The sword is double aged as not only do communities need realignment of values but policymakers need to be made aware and most of them unfortunately drink from the same cup of ignorance and arrogance and these also need a paradigm shift in their thinking. The mentality that rural people are third rate citizens only good to fish out votes from during election cycles need to be drained down the drain along with other archaic thinking. The other notion that rural folk can only do well after moving to the city must be dispelled with the contempt it deserves as most who migrant to cities end up as slum dwellers facing challenges attributable to slum dwelling.

The menaces that catapults poverty in the life of rural girls is the generational early childhood bearing. The moment one encounters this obstacle the less likely the ability to break the chain of poverty. Every year a girl child spends in school helps with reducing the possibility of early pregnancy and early marriage and systems and structures must be put in place to suffocate the trends towards young girls dropping out of the school system. This means increased direct investment in rural education , increased social amenities that foster educational advancement and institutional support of educational endeavours through building more robust well equipped schools , vocational colleges and training centers across rural villages with fiscal support for the same. It is important to have community level support for girls by aligning laws that promulgate their inclusion in education and protection from would be instigators of their educational demise.

Zimbabwean laws are sometimes not aligned as seen in the age of consent which is at 16 years while the child marriage is a marriage of those 18 and below . Law enforcement officers and child development practitioners complain of a divorced relationship between institutions as roles sometimes clash and are not geared towards one purpose of protecting the interests of the girl child.

Education is the turbo-engine that is thus needed to enlist new life style patterns and new paradigms and my hope and desire is that more and more young girls in rural areas find the solace and respite offered by access to equitable education and fight hard for the right to this important resource.

Like any passion it is a product of the heart and is not an easy journey but the rewards can be satisfying and well worth the effort. l have now learnt to accept both the applause and the naysayers who always tell me year in and year -out that you cannot stop all young girls from getting pregnant and dropping out of school. My response is always that l am not trying to save everyone but rather l am recreating a new generational arrangement were less and less children are born from mothers with limited years in school. l might not be able to change the generation l see but l choose to plant good seeds for the future.

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