My name is Sefelepelo Sebata. It was and still is a difficult name for most people to pronounce. My school teachers of different cultures and backgrounds had varying versions of what they thought my name sounded like-my lndian primary school teacher asked me what was the short version of my name -I said Sfe and he thought l said Sipho and so l became Sipho in primary school and those l went to primary school with tagged along in high school and made every one call me Sipho. So in primary school and high school l was Sipho , but that’s not my name.l am Sefelepelo Sebata. l know it is difficult to write and pronounce so l prefer that people use the short version which is Sfe.
Pronounced Se-fe-le-pe-lo my name has its roots in my Sotho culture and was given to me by my paternal grandmother -it means do not give up, be tenacious and persevere. African names always have a story and meaning and mine is not any different. My grandmother must have been speaking to a circumstance she felt was causing her to give up and when l was born aptly titled me Sefelepelo maybe- to remind her self to not lose heart. I believe that names shape who we are and might help along or destroy a person too.
l choose to let my name inspire me and take me forward. I have chosen to give my children names that are inspiring and beautiful because l know how difficult the stories of names can become. l would have loved or hated to hear exactly the circumstances that led her to giving me this name. My strong belief is that l am first a child of God and an African and everything else is really secondary. I am a very opinionated person with a lot of things to say.
The pursuit of popularity is not a badge l care to carry so l speak and write my opinion although with large doses of compassion. Compassion has always been my bedrock from the time l discovered the Sermon on the Mountain. My mother calls it naivety and she might be right but l like it that way. l am an accomplished painter and drawer of landscapes. l am a trained marketer and theologian and gifted with beautiful oratory abilities. My favourite book to read is the bible not neccesarily for religious reasons actually but because that is a well written book. From an African perspective l did get into marriage late for a woman -l was in my early thirties and so l do have small kids compared to my peers but its okey l enjoyed my journey of independence. It’s not possible in Zimbabwe to not have been shaped by our history. Our life is riddled by the constant pursuit to overcome difficult situations.
I was born just before Zimbabwe attained independence but it seems although we attained independence from the colonial elements we are still under the shackles of injustice , corruption and drought. We are still waiting for our moment of true emancipation and freedom. When the grind of being seems insurmountable l remember my name.The one who does not give up.That is the hope l have for the future and my children -that we do not give up.