Of #BlogIndabaWednesdays: Life With Dimples

Welcome to this Wednesday tradition, #BlogIndabaWednesdays where every Wednesday I am part of community that picks one blogger to hype up on and crush on the interwebs because blogging means community

Blog Inddaba the meeting place 
blogindabawednesday

The creative crush of the day is  Life With Dimples

life with dimples

Her blog LifeWithDimples.com is about life and whatever tickles her dimpled life.

The blog is “fairly new” but she is not new to blogging, she did the big move from lifewithdimples.wordpress.com to selfhosted lifewithdimples.com.

One of the posts I found inspiring on her blog was the dark skin appreciation post

To me, there’s something magical about dark skin. That black, velvety skin that reminds one of a moonless night. It’s almost, dare I say, hypnotic? 

For some reason in between body shaming and being bullys people tend to look down on the darker toned folk and you wind up with people bleaching their skin and undergoing rigorous routines to get lighter skin tones. Anyway the posts simply celebrates deeply melanated gods and goddesses no rhyme or reason, well maybe a few reasons just read the post.

And of course there’s her #WCW Woman Crush Wednesday post  on the enchanting songstress, with the sultry contralto Toni Braxton, you can tell I kinda had a life long crush on Toni right?

Toni Braxton

I’ve been a Toni fan for AGES and I have most of her discography. Her songs are timeless. You can listen to her music over and over again without getting bored. She’s from that era when music actually had meaning you know? 

Whats your favourite Toni tracks? Check out lifewithdimples’ s top ten.

~B

PS if the idea of bloggers hyping up your blog for a day and also discovering new bloggers just hit up the hashtag #BlogIndabaWednesday 

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Of #BlogIndabaWednesdays: LeoMuzivoreva

Wednesdays are #BlogIndabaWednesdays where we pick on a blogger to crush on and hype up over the interwebs because blogging means community

And today’s creative crush is TheLeoNationZW  and his blog LeoMuzivoreva.WordPress.com 

Leo’s blog is a land of non-fictional chronicles, debacles and anecdotes on life as an African.  Leo says that he writes for everyone as he thinks of himself as a creative-non fiction writer, writing about real life events with a bit of creativity.

On how his blog came about he says:

I have always had a keen interest for writing. Having started by freelancing for my hometown weekly. So blogging is a passion- I mean who wouldn’t want a space to write without an editorial policy?

You can tell browsing through his posts he has a thing about history, and reads from quite an shall we say interesting and varied spectrum dropping interesting quotes. 

One of the posts I found highly informative was when he explained the Icelandic surnames during the World Cup craze, I am not a soccer enthusiast but this post gave me something to talk about and appear like a man about the world  

Did you know?? In Iceland the use of surnames is forbidden by a law, which passed in 1925. Mind boggling, Right?

For those wondering if they should let their family read their blog:

Part of my family does read… My brother, my cousin and her mother- those are the 3 who actually read and give feedback…

I like how his posts always start being about something else and then suddenly switch up into something out of a history class, I would guess man was a history teacher, like this post here which starts on being about summer in Capetown moves to English Premiership break then Olympics in South America and then the black power salute

The Black Power Salute

Dont take my word for it got to his blog read for your self LeoMuzivoreva

Also check out posts by other bloggers:

uBu ~ Transparency an inspiration

Life with Dimples ~ BlogIndabaWednesday

EthneticMe ~ Editorial policy for what?

TeeMadzika ~ Wednesday share a creative #2

Of #BlogIndabaWednesdays: EthneticMe

And its a Wednesday!!!!! So this and every Wednesday in one of my blogging circles Blog Indaba The meeting place we pick one blogger to crush on and hype them up all over the interwebs because blogging means community^_^

Blog Indaba

creative crush

And today’s creative crush Nobuhle and her blog EthneticMe

Ethneticme

So Nobuhle is a Dreamer | Extrodinaire  |  Believer

Her blog EthneticMe comes from a fusion of Authentic and Ethnic and everything there is sincerely from the heart. She started her blog as a place to heal following the unfortunate passing away of her father. With the support and encouragement from her brother it grew to become a space for her to be herself.

Her relationship is goals too her biggest fan is her husband!!!!

“Every time I am unsure about a post he reads through it for me and helps me with words”

EthneticMe

My favourite post from her blog is You Can Always Edit A Bad Page But You Cant Edit A Blank Page The post is titled  after the quote from Jodi Picoult on a talk about habits of effective writers.

I have since learnt to write down the sentences and come up with a paragraph that will eventually turn into paragraphs and voila I have a story.

Nobuhle

So that idea you have make today the day you start working on it dont leave your pages blank ♥♥♥♥♥

On what she would do differently if she could start all over again knowing what she knows now she says:

I would definitely write lots of content like maybe even 20 posts when inspiration hits, then space them out so when I am  going through a dry spell or too busy to write I always have content to upload

So do give her blog a look see and you can find her on the interwebs just search EthneticMe 

And here are links to other posts from #BlogIndabaWednesdays 

Makupsy Dream African Child

uBu Then My Heart Heard A Voice

TeeMadzika wednesday-share-a-creative

~B

PS Yeah, feel free to join our blogging fam all welcome ^_^

 

 

 

Of An International Coffee Date

Guest post

virtual Coffee date

Of The International Coffee Day

If you were having coffee with me, I’d probably have to explain that I basically copied that phrase from my Zimbabwean ‘friend’ Beaton. You’d probably brush it off; not forgetting to point out that I already told you about the phrase. This would pretty much be after a five-minute hugging session with sincere declaration of how much we miss each other.

Ideally, I come to your city driving, book into a hotel and make a point of sending this email right before I set out to that coffee shop you definitely consider your favorite. You probably recognize me at a glance, thanks to my laid back dressing, the same afro hair I wear, and the same position I sit at pretty much every coffee shop or restaurant.

CareyJK

I face away from people and just lose myself in that mental isolation. You will notice that there is still an innocent glow about me; one that comes from my efforts to fight age and this quarter life crisis you don’t seem to have affecting you at all. If all goes well, I have managed to shed a few pounds off my five foot frame and maybe tried to take care of my skin better than I used too.

As you order your drink, we will catch up and excitedly talk about our recent adventures, or lack thereof. I’d tell you that I was planning to come here sooner but got delayed and now I’d have you listen to my almost excuses. So, about five days ago, my sister and I were discussing my love of coffee and how important it was that I celebrate that on the 1st of October; the international coffee day. The following morning, as if on cue, I felt this sudden sharp pain in the left side of my chest that got me so sure it was a cardiac event. So I got checked out and it was actually a gastric issue; thanks to the ginger shots i was taking last week, sometimes on an empty stomach. At least my heart was going to be okay, right?

The downside; no coffee for a while for me. No chili and a million other things I don’t care much about. So, on first, I did go to one of my favorite coffee shops in Nakuru (Kenya) and took Mocha instead of my usual latte. At least it had some coffee, right? But today my friend, I’m letting myself off the hook and allowing me the double café latte that you will soon order. Maybe we won’t do so much to celebrate the impact of coffee in our lives, but we can sure love it and drink it as much as we want.

Happy Belated International Coffee Day

CareyJK

Bio: Careyjk

A twenty-three-year old Kenyan who is just trying to take life a day at a time and blogs at Careyjk.wordpress.com 


 

This is a guest post that was set to appear on the 1st October to celebrate International Coffee Day but the technology fiends that haunt the internet and sometimes possess laptops found it hilarious to mark her email as spam and move it to that folder.

Faced with a decision to either not post this article or wait till the next first of October; we decided that  its always international coffee day somewhere and on my blog we can hang out on coffee date any day….. And so here we are, and here we are.

What are rules but conventions, so carpe diem

~B

PS remember to check spam folder 

 

 

Of Star Gazing Into Tomorrow

Sometimes the random tweets I post wind up inspiring someone and magic just like poetry happens……..

We can sit and talk
or we can sit and stare at one another,
it’s up to you.

We can sit and talk
outside under a full moon

The magic of conversations
under the moonlit nights

Star gazing,
pure magic.

Counting heartbeats and stars

Dreaming of a future,
that never will be.

Dreams made on wishes,
of the light of stars long dead

Dimmed light within,
lone stars through the dark nights.
And no hope in our shattered hearts

The night sky revealing more than the day hides,
dim stars still shine
and hope,
hope springs from the kernels of shattered hearts.

When will it be over?
When shall it not hurt?
When can I recover
And to joy revert?
When the night is done,
And tears are dry.
When love’s bright sun
Breaks the dawning sky

Night ends,
Dawn breaks
Time flies,
Wounds heal,
Pain dims,
Storms end,
Skys clear,
Birds cheer,
and you realise its tomorrow.
A place different from today.

The darkness never goes away.
Tomorrow you say?
but tomorrow he still does not love me
and my heart is still in pain.
Tomorrow comes and the darkness remains,
I break and mend and break again
In spite of all my acting tough.

Falling apart,
to be remade again,
each piece,
exactly where it should be.
And when you are ready
it will find you.
Come find me when you wake up.
Thats what tomorrow whispers

falling apart

mended heart
~B
Day 23 of Africa Stories from Home

Miss Becka is certifed bookworm and can be found on Twitter: @melaninsodark

 

Of Coffee With Ojoma: Head of Arts, West Africa for British Council

Coffee with Ojoma

If you were having coffee with me we would be having an easy chat over coffee with Ojoma Ochai. Ojama is the Director Arts and Creative Economy West Africa British Council

B: A pleasure to have this chat, thank you for your time Ojoma, first question tea or Coffee because there are only two kinds of people in the world.

O: Coffee – No sugar, no cream; so real coffee. Haha.

B: Your title has us impressed but, what exactly do you do? We are intrigued by the Creative bit especially.

O: I lead the British Council Arts and Creative Economy programme in West Africa which essentially means leading design and delivery of skills programmes, artistic showcasing and other activity that connects the arts sectors of the UK and West Africa. We work across film, music, fashion, visual and performing arts etc. so quite a wide range of work. I also lead our policy advocacy, partnerships in this area and work with partners and funders across both locations.

B: Most times the creative arts are viewed more as an aside project than something taken seriously any ideas how we can change this perception?

O: we need to provide evidence to the contrary and make the case every time. Economically for example, the UK creative Economy contributes half the size of Nigeria’s GDP to the UK economy every year. It’s hard when confronted with such figures to see it as a side hustle. We need to have the evidence and say it over and over again till it gets through.

B: How do you see the future of the creative arts in Africa especially in this digital global world

O: There is a lot of evidence that shows the rising trajectory from East, West, Southern Africa – I think with growing internet penetration, the talented youth, it can only grow. My only concern is where the value will be created. If we don’t find ways to capture the value here on the continent, it will be capitalised on for value elsewhere. It is not either or but Africa should benefit economically ad socially form its creative outputs but if we don’t own the means of production and distribution, we won’t.

B: You were in Harare; Zimbabwe for the 2018 Global Report of the 2005 Convention launch how was your experience, country people culture?

O: I loved, loved loved Zimbabwe and I will come back!! You hear a lot of stuff in the media and the experience wasn’t as dire as the media paints it. And yes, the work I do for UNESCO on the global panel of experts for the 2005 convention is very stimulating and so I enjoyed the workshops and talks thoroughly.

ddt5f7dxcaack_h.jpg

 

B: I watched you deliver a presentation during a panel discussion at the launch of the 2018 Global Report; could you just briefly outline how stakeholders would best work together to make creative and cultural industries work?

O: yes, the main gist of my presentation was that there are many stakeholders that can work together to make the culture and creative industries work – education, trade, finance etc but we often leave them out of the conversation and so we should do more to bring more people around the table. To do so, we need to have evidence of course of the value so back to the point about making the case to show why the arts are important. That’s always a starting point.

B: You were once nominated young person of the year in Nigeria by the Future Awards once; wow! Do share what had you done?

O: ha ha. Just for being fabulous… seriously – it was for my work creating opportunities for young Nigerians through my work in British Council…

B: Its inspiring when the young can make an impact in the world around them and not only that you were on a list of most influential women in Nigeria tell us about that; Do you consider yourself a big deal?

O: I really don’t consider myself a big deal or take myself too seriously. What I do take seriously is the quality of my work and I guess people notice that. I have been lucky to be in a position where I can visibly do good thing and create opportunities but for everyone visible me there are hundreds, maybe thousands, doing great things in their closets everyday… 

B: Most of our audience are of the writing persuasion; and sometimes it does feel like an art the world forgot about; any words for the Literary Activists

O: I leave them with a quote credited to the English journalist Jim Murray : Learn to write. Never mind the damn statistics. If you like statistics, become a CPA.

B: As a woman; have you felt you had to prove yourself more to be who you are ? What can you say to the fellow sisters?

O: Not really and I suspect I am the exception. I have been lucky I have had the opportunity to be in spaces where my work and contribution speak for themselves.

B: How do people get in touch with you?

O: twitter – @ojomaochai

B: Any people you want to give shout outs? feel free to wave like they can see you…

O: Hello world! Haha.

B: Its been awesome having you thank you for your time; Last Question; What is the weirdest question anyone has asked you?

O: they asked me what’s the weirdest question any one ever asked me. -_-

ojoma ochai

Bio:

Ojoma Ochai is Head of Arts, West Africa for British Council. In this role, Ojoma works with public and private sector partners in the UK and West Africa to develop and deliver programmes that build skills, international and local networks and other capacity that promote the growth and collaboration potential of the arts sector and creative economy between the sub region and the UK.

Ojoma is also a member of the UNESCO global expert facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression. From 2014 to 2016, she was Entertainment Specialist for a World Bank Growth and Employment project in Nigeria, advising on cluster based approaches for film and music sector development in Nigeria.

Nominated Young Person of the Year in Nigeria by The Future Awards in 2010 and listed on the YNaija list of 10 Most Powerful People In Nigeria’s Arts and Culture (under 40) in 2014, and YNaija 100 Most Influential Women in Nigeria, in 2015; Ojoma is also a Fellow of the DEVOS Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland, USA and an Associate of the Nigerian Leadership Institute (NLI). She is chair of the Lagos Theatre Festival Board until July 2018, Chair of Open House Lagos Board ( 2015 – 2017) and sits on the board of Music Museum Foundation of Nigeria

@ojomaochai

linkedin.com ojomaochai

 

 

Day 4 of my Africa: Stories from home themed blog everyday challenge

~B

Of Coffee With Lydia and Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes

Coffee With Lydia and Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes

If you were having coffee with me, I would be happy to introduce you to writer, poet and blogger Lydia Chiseche and her book of poetry For Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes.

For girls with the sky in the eyes

B: Hello Lydia, a pleasure to have you here, first question Tea or Coffee?

L: Most definitely, Tea

B: What would your ideal coffee date be like?

L: At my favourite teahouse, on a warm and sunny August day

B: Describe for us your perfect writing environment

L: I can write anywhere; but possible the perfect environment for me is in the moment where it would be most inappropriate for me to write. There is just something about doing what you aren’t supposed to be doing which inspires me

B: How long have you had a blog, are you a blogger?

L: I do…or, I did. I started blogging consistently in 2016; it was poetry for the most part, and then branched off to think pieces on different issues. It was only recently when I decided to be real with myself and said I’m not a writer of current events, but a dreamer of things made up in my head. My blog pages are still open, they just have not seen some love in a while.

B: For Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes; what does  the title mean; where did that come from?

L: This must be the most difficult question I’ve received on the book so far.

I always knew that this was a collection directed towards girls….but men and boys are also encouraged to read it! For me, the sky is a representation of so many things; hope, limitlessness, the world, heaven

So…it’s a representation of those who have a steady eye on hope despite whatever is going on around them.

B: Why did you release it as an e-book?

L: Truth be told, I was afraid; I was afraid of the reception, of the questions I would get…I was afraid no one would read it.
I was finished with the final proof by November 2017, and I put the release off to January. January came, and I put it off to March, and so on. By the time April came around, I knew that if I waited any longer, I would never release it.
So, the e-release happened; and I chose the e-platform because there is no really turning back from it, and at least a bunch of unread books won’t be looking back at me *laughs*
A paperback version will be out in October this year.

B: I read it, finished it then read it again, its beautiful, its touching, its haunting. Whose story is it, is it simply made up poetry? Who did you write it for?

L: Wow.. thank you so much. I honestly did not know I was writing a story until nearly halfway through the body when the ending was so clear…and then that’s when i scrapped the first draft and began to write it differently.

It started as a story of one girl; the Girl who saw Sky. But then it ended up being a story of the girls and women around her; so, by the end of it all we had the Bride, the Women, the Other Sister, Mother- once, Mother- a second time, etc.

I’ve always been drawn to stories which had female characters in the leading roles…and not just female characters, but female characters that are flawed, complicated, nuanced, real.

So, it’s every woman’s and girl’s story. I based each scene on something that has happened before; either to me….or to girls and women I know, or heard about. It is our story.

B: I know this an unfair question but ……Which one is your favourite poem and line from the book?

L: This is quite the unfair question indeed
Push to shove…I’d perhaps say my favourite poem is the last one (I did not title that on purpose)- this is because I am a fan of callbacks…and I feel like that poem sort of wrapped the entire collection together.

B: For me the most intriguing was the Dear God series of letters. Its relatable, I have even asked similar questions…… Do you think there’s a plan for all THIS? *gestures hands grandly to encompass everything*

L: Sometimes, I think everything is by design…like some elaborate domino effect. Then other times I think everything is a mistake. At the end of it all, I get back to truly believing the design theory of things. I think there is a plan…whatever God’s plan is, and however mildly sadistic it may be *nervous laughter*, I’m pretty sure it will all have meaning.

B: Allow me to quote  you:

God is strange. He takes on so many faces. To

some, he’s vengeful, returning sacrifice with

blood and fire. To others, he’s loving, patient, and

kind. To some, he’s on the sidelines, watching

until he gets bored. He forgives even those that

won’t forgive themselves, like the Women.

To me, God is the gust of wind in the middle of

an August storm, God is the tiny crack in the

building they said was indestructible. God is

nowhere, and everywhere. To me, She is

beautiful

B: How has your book of poetry been received?

L: Oh my gosh! The reception has been overwhelming…it is more than I could have expected. I have people asking me questions, quoting my work….it is such a wonderful, humbling feeling. The reception has been so far mainly local….and hopefully the work will be able to reach a wider audience with time.

B: Any final words to those who can’t forgive themselves?

L: It’s difficult to get into the head of someone else and see through their eyes the things they feel are unforgivable. So, I honestly don’t know what I can say that would be enough.
I think Time; time may not completely heal someone, but it sure does change their circumstances in one way or another. So, let them give it time.

B: A few words to fellow sisters out there

L: It is so important to remember that you are still capable of love. And this also goes to the brothers. You are allowed to love, and be loved without fear of what happened to you, or what you did in your past.

B: Any shout outs to people out there, do it like you are doing it for TV.

L: This is so exciting! Okay
So, first of all I want to shout out my best friend Miriam; ours is a special friendship
My sisters, my friends Ruth, and Grace who read proof after proof. I want to shout our Itati, the crew at Lusaka Writer’s Room…and the Women; I cannot mention them by name but this book would not be what it is without them.

B: What’s next?

L: I am underway with my second collection…I am yet to title it. Will it be linked to For Girls With SKY In Their Eyes? I’m yet to see

B: last Question, what is the weirdest question anyone has ever asked you about your book?

L: Have I been asked difficult questions? Yes. Many. I am yet to be asked something I could say is a weird question.

B: Thanks Lydia, you have been a star.

L: Thank you so much for having me.

BIO:

img_0497-1.jpg

Lydia Chiseche is poet and writer based in Lusaka, Zambia. She is one of seven children, and is a self-proclaimed daydreamer. When she is not writing, she works as a Banker, and supports a few philanthropic projects.

LINKS:

Twitter: @LydiaNgoma

Instagram: lydiangoma

Blog: EyeWoke

BOOK DOWNLOAD LINK:

Of The Mistress Chronicles

Sometimes people scroll past my Twitter timeline and get *mused* by the barely formed story plot ideas I have just floating around on the twitterverse, most times they hardly tell me about it, a rare few do though and an even rarer number still, not only do but also allow me to feature the resultant product on my blog.

Melody read this tweet and was inspired to start writing a guest feature series:

 The Mistress Chronicles by Melody Chingwaru

Prologue

As the bible says man that is born of  a woman is of few days, beloved let us remember that our days are numbered and we should cherish the memories we had with our loved one” the pastor’s voice echoed in my ears. Was he gone for real?

Tears glisten in my eyes as I watch his casket lay on the lowering rails and I feel my heart sink. I will never see his smile, the warmth of his arms and how his voice creaked whenever he called me. My baby, my love, my…. ! I hope Mazvita will allow me to throw some flowers into his grave when the casket is lowered.

The pastor’s voice interrupts my thoughts_

It is now time to say your final goodbyes, may all family members collect some soil from the shovels and as soon as the casket is lowered into the ground please feel free to come over” he says

I watch as his casket is lowered into the ground and his daughters form a line to bid their dad farewell. I glance around in search of Mazvita; I need to know where she is first before I can attempt to do the unthinkable. I dart my eyes to the chairs and our eyes meet, her eyes convey that  pity look. I hold my gaze as a way to seek her approval to advance towards the grave.  Her eyes convey nothing as response but that does not deter me as I soon find my way to the grave to throw my roses.

I hurriedly move through the crowd to the grave and I throw my roses. I mutter a few words silently, “Till we meet again, rest in peace Mhofu”. I did it, I know it sounds so little of a gesture but you will soon understand why! You see life does not prepare you for days like this and in as much as I have read many self help books, I was not ready for this.

 

 

…………………….

This is a series so do stay tuned.

Melody can be found on twitter melching91

Melody Chingwaru Book review Gold Diggers

 

 

 

 

 

Of The Gold Diggers: A book Review

Guest Post: A Book ReviewThe gold diggers Sue Nyathi

Gold Diggers 

We all know our final destination but we have no idea what will cross our path as we journey” is testament to the latest instalment from the Bulawayo born writer Sue Nyathi. Titled “Gold  Diggers”, one would mistake the title and its cover for a novel about women and men who dig  for the finer things in life. However once you open the book you learn that it is about several Zimbabweans from different walks of life who embark on a journey to the “City of Gold”.

The Gold Diggers a novel by sue nyathi

Set in Johannesburg, the writer journals the various experiences of fellow Zimbabweans who sought for a better life in Johannesburg during the 2008 economic demise.  For most of the characters in the book, hope and the itch to realise their dreams propels them to  pave their way in the  city and they soon discover that there is more to the city than its beautiful skyscrapers.

The writer explores the question that often hangs in the air. “What does one need to endure in order to thrive in an unknown land?” This question opens a Pandora box of themes namely sex work, human trafficking, family disintegration, xenophobia, illegal border jumping and resilience. Through these themes, this book allows you to see the faces behind the headlines, the spirits and souls behind the stories; the reader learns that the victim of xenophobia has a name, the illegal border jumper is that unemployed graduate who wants a better life and yes even your own kin can turn their back on you when desperate.

In this book the writer removes the blinders and allows the reader to see the struggles of being an immigrant in a foreign land; the good, the bad and the nasty and to acknowledge its effects on the family that’s left behind,…..”For those left behind ,bonds withered and the only connection they had with loved ones was the foodstuffs and letters brought by the malaitshas” (sp)

As I reached the ending I realised the “gold” is subjective to each being, it is there but the journey to the pot is a trial in itself and that we need to be a bit kinder to each other its the least we can do with what we face.

A simple fast-paced read which begs the reader to realise that no matter where you are and who you are, fate awaits but before then a journey ought to be taken to meet fate.

 

 

Guest Book Review by Melody Chingwaru

Melody Chingwaru Book review Gold Diggers

Bio:

Melody Chingwaru is a book lover, avid reader, soapie fanatic and the editor of Untitled263 . She tutors French and Portuguese.

You can find her on twitter: @melching91

 

 

 

 

Of Love In The Time Of Chocolate Cake

Guest Post

Love in the time of chocolate

Chocolate Cake

The rich chocolatey smell of the cake overwhelms my nostrils, coating the fine hairs with thoughts of warm crushed cocoa beans. I savour the heft of the slice in my hand, marvelling at the glossy, delicate swirls of chocolate butter cream. My mouth is heavy with saliva. I close my eyes and lean in for that first eager bite.
A bright shaft of light pierces my eyelids and a voice drills into my head: vasikana havasweri vakarara. Confused I open my eyes. Where is my cake? Where is the chocolatey goodness that was meant to transport me to confectionery seventh heaven? As my mother continues to bustle around the room, the clouds lift. It was all a dream. A beautiful tantalising dream cruelly snatched away by another person’s intervention. I was too young at the time to know that it would be a recurring theme, though sadly too often it was my dreams being snatched away in real life, with no warm bed to snuggle back into.
As a black girl growing up in Harare, I learnt early on that I did not have the luxury of sleeping in during the school holidays. By 6am my mother would have woken me up to get about my industrious day. Because my training to be the perfect wife could not be left to chance and circumstance and sleeping in after 6am.

Zimbabwean society places a very high value on a woman being married. As a young girl, your waking moments are devoted to furthering the cause of your future marriage. A family does not just raise a daughter, their combined efforts are preparing a wife. A woman who will not only be an excellent cook and homekeeper, but one whose focus is on keeping her husband happy. And if she can issue forth from her loins strong strapping sons to carry on his family life, she has fulfilled her God-given purpose. She has earned her title of A Real Woman. But A Real Woman training takes time and sacrifice. When you are younger, the unfairness of watching your brothers play outside, with their ball made from the brightly-coloured sacks the potatoes you spent hours peeling came in, becomes something of a permanent friend. You don’t yet possess the sophisticated lexis to describe the unfairness, but you feel it deeply. You feel it when you are the one to pluck that live chicken. Smell it when you need to clean and squeeze out its intestines. Bleed it as you cut deftly through the bones to make sure there is enough chicken to go around at dinner time, in the hope that no unexpected visitors drop by as dinner is to be served. Season that tomato and onion chicken stew with a large dollop of unfairness and as you suckle the marrow of those bones and lick the juices dripping down your arms, unfairness cuts off your contented burps because the mountain of dishes still awaits you. To be a good young black girl is to know service and unfairness intimately.

  • Zimbabwean society raises us to be perfect wives for imperfect men

A girl born into a relatively traditional Zimbabwean family is a potential return on investment in the bride price that can be charged for her. For those lucky enough to be blessed with natural good looks and child-bearing hips, their value increases exponentially. As early as when you are a chubby-cheeked toddler, aunts are already exclaiming what a pretty wife you will make one day. Before you even have full command of your own bowels, plans are already underfoot to offload you for a few beasts and healthy wad of cash. Because your beauty is not your own, your beauty belongs to the family to financially maximise on, at hopefully not too distant a point in the future.

So now it’s 6.01am. You have lifted your head off the pillow. And you groan inwardly at the thought of pillows because today is a laundry day and all the sheets need to be washed. Six pairs of sheets and pillowcases that need to be washed by hand, hung out to dry, ironed and then beds remade. All before 3pm because the evening meal needs to be prepared and ready by 6pm. You don’t want to miss the start of wrestling on tv by not getting your timings right. You trudge to the bathroom and complete a cursory ablution. You will bath once the laundry’s done and the house swept and floors polished and breakfast and lunch dishes put away and the meat simmering on the stove. 12 years old and you already have the house running like clockwork.

As you proceed to scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees, your older brother trudges in from outside, trailing muddy footprints to the fridge. Sadly, you don’t yet know any expletives to tell him what a fucking cunt he is for dirtying your floor. But the anger is real and hot and burns in your throat. For all he knows about clean floors, there is a Floor Elf that whizzes in every afternoon and abracadabraes all the dirt away. You don’t hate your brother exactly, but you swallow the unfairness each time he walks into the house dragging in smells of sunshine and rolling around in the grass and the happy dampness of hosing each other down in water fights.

You go back to clean up his muddy footprints and look on the floor with a kind of grim satisfaction. You are confident you have done enough to ensure not being made to re-do it as your mother’s opprobrium rains down on you, warning you that uchatinyadzisa wadzoswa. What could be more humiliating than your future husband returning you to your family because you could not scrub a floor properly. How would you ever live down the shame of being a slatternly wife who could not maintain hearth and home? There wouldn’t be enough earth to swallow you whole!

To be an average Zimbabwean woman is to know the fear of never getting married. To be one of those women looked down upon with a certain degree of contempt and pity, with a side of What If She Steals Our Men fear for good measure. So you learn early on to comport yourself in a manner that makes people remark kuti mwana ane tsika iyeye. You sit with your legs tightly closed, and in lax moments where your legs betray you and fall open, one eagle eyed glare from your mother is enough to jam your legs back together, straining your muscles in abject fear of dropping your guard again.

Requests to bring more tea for the guests are a blessing in disguise as you can discreetly wipe away the sweat that has been pouring down your legs in superglued legs exertion. You are young, but the need to be nice in company has been drilled into you. Cautions of not running around like a wild animal chasing each other in your head. The burn marks from the carpet as you greeted each adult on your knees still stinging slightly. You answer questions politely, just enough information so they don’t think you are a bit slow, but not so much that they leave thinking that chimwana chiye chinoganhira. You serve guests with scalding cups of tea and chocolate cake, harnessing both your culinary skills and generosity. You clear cups and saucers quickly and quietly, making sure not to disrupt the adults. You know what it is to be a good girl. How then can you fail to be a good wife?

Through all this, the mud-trailing brother has come in and said a perfunctory hello and gone back to his outdoor games. You are told later on that boys don’t mature as quickly as girls do. You believe it because Mud Trailer can barely wash the skidmarks out of his own underwear, or make himself a decent toasted sandwich. Don’t even think about getting him to get that neat crease in his white long-sleeved school shirt. Somewhere else in Zimbabwe, your co-labourer is perfecting her skills so she can do all those things for him. She knows as well as you do, that a man doesn’t need to be able to not burn a hole in his shirt every time he picks up an iron. All these lessons in cooking and cleaning you have been learning have been for his benefit and for that of his family. Without a husband to validate those skills, really what is the point of having darkened your knees on so many floors and strained your neck hanging up those thick wet winter blankets?

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients

2/3 cup margarine

2 eggs

1 T vanilla

4 T cocoa

2 ½ cups sifted flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ¼ t soda

½ t salt

1 ¾ cup ice water

Method

  1. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla till fluffy for about 5 minutes (electric beater or by hand).
  2. Blend in chocolate (sifted if lumpy).
  3. Sift flour with soda and salt and add to creamed mixture alternately with iced water..
  4. Bake in a round tin in a moderately hot oven until done (approximately 30 mins)

 

Guest Post by Eleanor Madziva

Bio

Eleanor is an itinerant Zimbabwean with a passion for picking lint out of her navel, while trying to find the best ways of not turning into a charred mess in the desert heat. Less a writer, more a person who writes.

Eleanor Madziva

Twitter @Madziva_Eleanor