Of Left, Right And Wrong

GUEST POST: Raquel

Left Or Right

As a child, growing up was awesome experience. I was the second child and first daughter of a family of seven children, two boys and five girls. We girls in the middle the first and last born being boys.

Let me write about one unique memory which is still part of me. I am, rather I was a left handed child, I say so because I use my right hand now. To best describe it I am now ambidextrous. No; that doesn’t describe me well neither . Let me describe it further; there are things I do only with my left and there are things l can do with my right only and there are things I use both comfortably. I write with my right hand for I was forced to learn to write with my right and I wash with my left hand, for sweeping I can use both hands .

Being the first female child in the family meant I was my mum’s first student in “home affairs”. She taught me the ways of being a woman, especially when it came to domestic chores.

In the African setting where I come from, the left hand has some taboo functions. You can’t use your left hand to give or take anything from anyone, not even someone you are senior to and worse if it’s an elder. My mum did her best to correct me to the point I got confused. She would say “with that your left hand” using my local dialect and in defence, I tell her “…. it’s my right hand mum“.

Okay this is what I did after failing to identify which was my right hand. If l wanted to do anything, I first watched whoever is around me and I see what hand that person is using. I would then, in my mind’s eye, while still sitting where I was, move myself and turn to the position the person was and try to pick out which is my right hand. That was my means of escape and it really did help me. I failed several times, because if I was seated facing the person and tried to use the hand I saw the person using it would be the opposite hand. Getting directions to go anywhere was a tough one for me but I learnt to use makers.

I was always last to finish any task it was really awkward for me, at a point I became an introvert and then I discovered books. There no one judged me or corrected me, I could flow however I wanted without pressure. It was my place of escape and joy.
I believe my mum somehow gave up, but because the job had to be done, she only made her usual comment and she let me be.”Ka maskar ragai ni“, meaning that left hand. Funny people do at times complain even when it is my right.

Rachel copy

Bio:

*Rachel is a Church girl, a wife and a mother of three. A graduate of Mass-Communication. She calls herself a washer woman as she is into laundry and dry-cleaning business. A Nigerian from the Northeast state of Borno but lives in Abuja. She loves her mum. She loves reading and would love to write more if her muse would keep musing her.

She loves to be addressed with her pen name Raquel.
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Of The Rain God

 

I am a Rain God.

Try not to freak out, I am trying not to freak out either but that is my final conclusion, it makes perfect sense.

Why does it rain? It rains when two clouds love each other so much that they come together….  I will save you the geography lesson, besides I never really paid attention but I did learn a cool word for rain… PRECIPITATION. I also know another cool ran related word PETRICHOR (ask me nicely and I might tell you in an upcoming post.)

How to make it rain:

For most people it’s not exact science, unless of course you are into cloud seeding and such then it’s a near exact science but highly iffy. Cloud seeding is when you really love a cloud…. OK I really should have sat still and listened during my Geography class.

A Rain Ceremony is another way to make it rain, now that is definitely NOT a science it is more in the magic and mythical realm. You need to engage the services of a n’anga aka sangoma aka “witch doctor’’ what do you call such a bone throwing traditional “doctor”  where you come from? The doctor performs some sort of ancestral appeasement ceremony because mostly when it doesn’t rain its because you did something wrong and the ancestors are showing their displeasure. A rain dance might be done, traditional beer will be brewed and a cow or goat is slaughtered, those ancestors sure like a good party.

If you are an ordinary person and you want it to rain, its fairly easy just wish for it to not rain; throw a garden party  or some outdoors event, or wash all your clothes and hany them out to dry …. Chances are it will rain depending on your luck

The Rain God

 

I spent a tiny town in the Lowveld part of Zimbabwe, it’s a hot arid region with low precipitation. Whenever it rained I got a nose bleed, or rather now that I think about it, when it; When I got a nose bleed It Rained. Maybe it was the heat maybe it was the altitude and atmospheric pressure (ok I did pay attention during geography class) The nose bleeds were rather severe and distressing not only to me but to the witnesses. Eventually my grandma came up with a solution, smoke some Elephant dung. Yes it worked, I stopped getting nose bleed, it still rained though, so that’s a remedy for those who know anyone who suffers from frequent nose bleeds.

I grew up and grew my hair too.

Beaton

Now here is the thing, every single time I get my hair touched up usually after a washday routine(read it here):   IT RAINS.

washday

And after all the effort putting into fixing up my hair imagine getting rained on your parade. At first I used to brush it off as just a weird coincidence but now, not so much.

Washday

 

I had my washday the day before yesterday; it rained all of yesterday I tried fixing up the rain damage last night, and today:

Even FaceBook warned me to stay dry

Facebook

Its not just that it rains, it tries to rain on me, I like dancing in the rain but not when I have just got my hair done, the two strand twists start unravelling.

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-03 at 12.14.53

Maybe I should visit Cape Town I hear they could really do with some rain

 

I am a Rain God

#MyAfricaMyWords

~B

 

Of Coffee With The 1000

Coffee with the 1000 people that live in my internet 

Hello there

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I am most pleased to see that I have modest following of 1000 readers and double that are email subscribers who are all you people how did you even find me?  I do hope you enjoy your stay…….

Some people will tell you that you should not get bogged down in the stats about how many readers you have or who shares your work, its called EGOmanics and apparently it’s a trap bloggers fall into…  Jesus only had 12 followers…..I try not to get too much into stats and all but The you have reached 1000 is a milestone…

becoming the muse

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that some of the people who live in my interweb and read my blog I consider my friends and I am happy to tell you that if you were having coffee with me its not coffee we would be having coffee but honey and lemon herbal tea in the coffee mug labelled orange, cheers.

The coffee mug labelled orange

Funny story I have had many people asking me what my blogging niche is, what is your niche? I am proudly un-niched, you see I find definitions stifling, to define something is to limit it, to confine it into a neat little box…

Think outside the box

To think outside of a box first you have to get into the box, but what if there is no box????

I keep this blog to remember, back in the day we used to gather around fires and tell stories passing on knowledge from generation to generation, well I write stories some real some imagined, I am an analogue man in a digital world I still prefer handwritten sentiments of the posted kind to instant messaging but this storyteller has gone digital!

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that By powers vested in me by the internet and Google Digital Skills Training I now consider myself somewhat an expert in some aspects of the digital world…

You have completed every single lesson in the Digital Skills Africa library

Google skills training certificate

You could call me The Digital Consultant (if you need assistance or a wee bit of freelance writing  a contact form is available at the bottom of this post or drop a comment)

I also run a blogging network Afrobloggers with four other tireless individuals from all corners of the African continent  who keep the blogging network alive, we are like five mini-robots who come together to form a bigger robot and in partnership with Tribe Of Influence a Zimbabwean Blogging network we will be bringing you Zim Blogging Awards for bloggers from Zimbabwe or who blog about Zimbabwe. Hopefully we will eventually partner with all sorts of blogging communities throughout Africa to have local blogging awards and continental blogging awards ( If you have suggestions or have a way to support or sponsor feel free to reach out)

If you were having coffee with me I would thank you for your support, I am writer first and I will tell we feed on appreciation it’s a vanity we hide from the world so well shhhhh don’t tell anyone though, just promise to drop by and read and say a kind word or two….. I don’t write this blog for the hits I write for myself, for the sheer pleasure of spilling words out of me, words which if I kept inside I would die….

Sowing my words as seed

That is why I write. Why do you?

~B

The fire inside

The fire inside

Of Blogging Every Day

 

For the past month I have been part of a team of bloggers who pledged to blog every day for the month of September.

One of the objectives of this challenge was simply to see whether it could be done or not, in the way some one climbs to the top of the highest mountain and then when you get to the top you find another mountain to climb.

standing top of mountain clip art

You look like ants from up here

The main objective was to give voice to the African narrative to share posts that help put in to perspective the reality that is my world and if we have enough people telling it, Africa’s voice will be heard this is My Africa and these are my Words

MyAfricaMyWords

#MyAfricaMyWords

It’s not easy, to write everyday but it’s not impossible, life will intrude, it always does but you can either make time or you can make excuses.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned from this blog everyday challenge is that my creativity is boundless, as the sea the more I write, the more I have, it is infinite (Did I low key quote Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, perhaps creativity is like being in love).

I have always had a fear that I am like a precious bottle of creativity and I must pour out each drop carefully, sparingly, the way a miser begrudgingly hands out each coin as if it’s the last; I felt it paid to hoard, lest I find my supply diminished and my precious creativity depleted.

………….Now I will pour and pour and pour…….

When you write every day, it forces you to think about writing, every day. You pay more attention to conversations around you, a sentence you read in a book, a quote from a movie or TV series, a leaf falling softly, to the soft brown earth, everything is a story waiting to be told; no one listens more to your story than the person who will write it down and no one reads it more than one about to write their own. The symmetry of the reader and the writer, one can be a reader and never a writer but a writer must be a reader.

I have interacted with interesting bloggers taking part in this challenge and seeing how they write has helped me to define my voice, to write as the stories should be told, to write as the story teller I am.

Goodbye September and Welcome October

~B

Day 30 of my blog every day challenge

Here is quick way twitter moment of my past posts.

Of 15 and Not Out

Today is day 15 of the blog everyday challenge…….

Confession its not a walk in the park but if it was it would not be called a challenge now would it? So a friend asked me how its been going, I quoted a line from a John Legend song:

My head is under water and I am breathing fine

Hmmm I am thinking unless he is aqua-man or a mer-person there is no way he could be breathing water and be just fine…. Granted you could hold your breath for a long time but breathing under water??? John legend be selling dreams….

Why did I join this challenge?

>because I could

>because I wanted to prove it could be done

>because I was curious to see who else would attempt it because it saw an opportunity and I took it

>because when you want to read something you have write it yourself

>how do I encourage people to be consistent in their blogging if I can’t do what needs doing? I am part of a blogging community where one of the most asked questions is how do I stay consistent and I am that tough love friend who tells you that if you want to, you will otherwise you will find excuses.

Life gets in the way, it always does… if you wait for that perfect moment to write, you might wait for a very long time……….

This post is hastily typed up post as Friday evening is calling…… WHATS a Friday but a reason to celebrate that you have survived blogging for 15 days in row

Friday cheers

Cheers to the weekend

~B

PS have an awesome weekend and be good

 

 

 

Of 5 Things About Zimbabwe

Five things i wish you knew about Zimbabwe:

Things I wish you knew about Zimbabwe

  1. It is not a jungle.

Believe it or not I have been asked several times, if I see wild animals when I look outside the window.

If you want to see to see wildlife, you go to the a national park, you wont be disappointed. Once upon a time someone even asked me how I was on the internet….. Zimbabwe is a developing country, yes it has some areas more developed than others but we are not in the dark ages. I cringe when I watch a movie and they reference it as a some place it really not; we don’t live in trees and yes we have internet.

Trees in Africa unity Square Harare

Africa Unity Square trees

  1. Our hearts are warm as the tea brewed from our heart-shaped country
A teapot shaped country south of africa

A teapot shaped country

The economy might be free falling, cash is in short supply and you will wait for a long time at the bank to get the daily minimum, but amidst all the trials our hearts are in the right place on the left side like they should be. We are a nation of kind, tolerant and peace-loving people, with a humorous nature we laugh at the lemons life throws. The capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare is known as the Sunshine City.

harare sunshine city

Sunshine City

 

the Jacaranda trees in bloom Harare

The Jacaranda Trees in bloom

 

  1. We are not our president nor our first lady.

Don’t judge us by the actions of our president, and we are not our president’s keeper too. Please don’t ask me when we are going to vote him out or why we still keep him in power. If you have questions for him,  you can ask him yourself.

  1. We are a nation of educated people

Don’t be fooled by the jobs we are willing to do to put bread on the table, you would be quite shocked to find that the person who hands you a flyer advertising something at the traffic lights is a university  graduate.

amber

At some point our country we might have the highest literacy rate in Africa, last time i checked according to UNESCO we were just shy of making it in to the top ten list.

Also don’t ask me how for a nation of such educated beings we managed to let our country get into a such state……

  1. The Victoria Falls is in Zimbabwe.

Victoria falls mosi oa tunya

Well my Zambian friends might have some say in that….. but hey the Victoria Falls boarders Zimbabwe and Zambia so its both there and here.

The Victoria falls is a breath-taking site, locals call it Mosi oa Tunya , meaning The Smoke that Thunders…..  its the largest body of falling water by volume and something one just has to see fro themselves even attempt to bungee jump or dare the Devil’s Pool.

~B

 

Visit Zimbabwe some time I promise you wont regret it maybe we might even hang out and have a real cup of coffee together……

 

 

photo Credit Victoria Falls

City of Harare photos view from Africa Unity Square courtesy of Tendai

Of Tomorrow: A Place A day Away

Tomorrow comes, when tomorrow comes……

tomorrow loading button

I dream of tomorrow a place better than today and then I wake up tomorrow is today, tomorrow never comes……

The future is filled with tomorrows that become today, a day at a time.

Life is a poetry of possibilities,

Fused with expectations and uncertainties.

Tomorrow comes. And how often can a man say that? “Every night, because tomorrow always comes everyday, after every night”

I live in a world where planning ahead is hard. Our economy is burning, hard cash in hand is worth more than money in the bank, and everybody is running a hustle. In 2008 a bank apocalypse happened; savings and pensions eroded in value to nothing; overnight, and everyday feels like a day away from the same thing happening all over again…..

Tomorrow comes when tomorrow comes.

Tomorrow never waits.

By the time my parents were my age,

they had:

three children,

 two cars,

 one house

and a dog named Bingo…..

I loved that dog, a German Shepard big and mean looking but gentle as kitten, unless it felt we were threatened, strangers, suspicious characters, the odd postman. Today I cant afford to keep a pet, I cannot even afford to feed myself three square meals plus snacks, the kind of diets we had growing up.

My parents had this life thing on track, they had life policies, invested in shares and those pension plans which pay out a windfall 25+ odd years later. The economy crashed and all that turned to a little less than pocket change.

Today I found a dividend cheque in the mail, it should have been paying my mum a neat little windfall back in the original economy…. but today it pays out USD$1.40

Dividend.jpg

Cheque.jpg

And I ask myself where do I even begin to plan for my retirement, one day I would like to do something really nice for my mum, like by her car to replace the one I know she sold to send us all to school but never told us about… maybe tomorrow I will.

Next year we have elections… the ruling party candidate is the current president, he has been president all my life, he turns 93 in February. Zimbabwe will decide and it seems everything awaits that; what comes after…? Politics in Africa is a messy affair.

And still I dream of tomorrow, a place not like today, or yesterday… a place where things are better…

~B

Day 5 of my blog everyday challenge

 

Of September Blog Everyday Challenge

Hello September

Today marks the anniversary of my first blog post, a dedication to my sister moonI deleted that particular post; but it’s been four years since I created this WordPress blog.

Today is also Day One of my blog everyday challenge(s) during the month of September.

My name is Beaton but you can call me ~B.. everyone does.

beaton

My blog is titled Becoming The Muse; but to be honest the meaning of that changes everyday; there is no one truth. Yesterday I wanted you to be my muse, today I want you to be mused by me, and tomorrow maybe you shall muse yourse…… in musing you, I (a)muse myself…..

I hail from a teapot shaped country south of the continent of Africa; Zimbabwe.

A teapot shaped country south of africa

A teapot shaped country

NOTE: The map is drawn not to scale, superimposed Zimbabwe to its relative position to bring out the shape

It’s the first day of spring today but we basically have two seasons, summer and winter, and it doesn’t snow, not ever. I wouldn’t be surprised that our winters are warmer than some people’s summer. Basically our seasons are hot dry season, hot wet season, cold wet season, cold dry season…. Repeat.

My blog has shifted a lot from when I first started, when it was basically a digital diary of all the stories I wanted to eventually tell and I posted at a frequency of once a very long time *hides*

Dear diary

Now my blog has become a place; alive all by its self, a place I make friends and learn and teach a thing or two… who would have thought it?

I have had a blog for years now and still I confess I never think of myself as a blogger; I am a writer who happens to  have a blog:

 

If I am somewhere and they say we need a blogger here, the way they say *somebody call a doctor* in the movies….. 

I would be looking around as well, looking for the blogger being called for……. 

And here I am, a part of not just one blogging challenge but two …. #BlogTemberChallenge and #30DayAfriBlogger both are aligned with sharing the African Narrative…

Its official; September is Africa month at least on this blog it will be….

#MyAfricaMyWords

~B

PS I am curious if you could let me know where you are, its weird how you never really think about where the person on the other side of the screen is and sometimes you assume, even wrongly too ^_^

Of Feeling The Earth Move

I felt the Earth move beneath the soles of my feet, a tremor deep from the bowels of the planet’s core.

I was sitting on the sofa watching TV and tweeting about it….  and then I noticed that it was just that I could feel The Earth beneath my feet but the sofa was vibrating ever so slightly like it was a massage chair and the windows were rattling like a freight train was passing through my backyard…. There is no railway line in our backyard, so it could only mean one thing…. a derailed freight train was being all unstoppable outside the house…. I got up and peered casually outside the window half expecting to hear the shrill blast of a train’s horn or see the headlights coming straight at me and I could look like a startled deer watching a flame come to burn it, wait that’s a moth, but see a moth would have flown to the flame, the flame would have come for me…..I guess my imagination is just like runaway train of thought….

The internet is such a handy tool, instead going crazy trying to figure out if I had gone crazy a few clicks later I knew what happened…..

Turns out it was an earthquake:

Africa

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake with an epicentre in central Botswana occurred at 1940hrs CAT, and the tremors were felt in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

I haven’t heard of any causalities so I presume people only got a little shaken up nothing serious…

Its amazing isn’t our ability to laugh at  the things that frighten, our on way of assuring ourselves that, that wasn’t so bad give me another challenge… see fear cant abide humour, were it not for laughter sometimes fear  would never leave, that’s because fear usually arrives late, inevitably leaves early, and ends up never going out at all.

So when you wake up in the morning and find people joking about earthquakes all over social media maybe they are not just being funny, they are saying hey lets laugh because we are not afraid… at least lets pretend we didn’t for a second think the world was going to end, aint no body got time to live their lives like that….

I felt the Earth move beneath my feet and I laughed, did you feel it too…..?

~B

PS If you didn’t feel anything and you are wondering if it was real, the internet says it was real so it was real

 

Of Celebrating Africa With Afrobloggers #WeekendCoffeeShare

Afrobloggers AwardAvuxesheni avuxeni (hello hello) If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I was #GuestBlogger for @Afrobloggers and they nominated me for Afrobloggers Recognition Award. This is an award to showcase African Bloggers. They believe Africa is rich with African creativity and they offer a platform to share such work.
If we were having coffee we would be celebrating Africa with Afrobloggers.
If we were having coffee, it would take a bit longer for the water to boil as the electricity is out (load-shedding) so can’t use the kettle. We would have to wait for the water to boil on the gas stove. They say a watched pot never boils so while we wait for it to boil I will tell you the little that I know about my culture.

kettle on stove

I am Machangana or Shangaan, a tribe of the Tsonga people. The origins of these my people is steeped in controversy. People use the term Tsonga interchangeably with Shangaan and to further muddy the waters the same language XiTsonga is spoken but it means not the same thing. Before the were Shangaan people the were Tsonga people, who hailed from East Africa part of the Bantu groups of the Ronga, Tswa and Ndau who slowly migrated south of the continent, in search of greener pastures, literally, for their livestock, they were pastoral people.

The water should have boiled by now, hey if someone “invented” glass pots, you know you could see the water boil? If we were having coffee, we would be having herbal tea, in coffee mugs.

I would continue my tale of how the Tsonga, finally settled South of Africa and then along came the Mfecane (time of trouble/ forced migration) as Shaka The Zulu consolidated the Zulu Empire. Soshangane an army general “fled” north crossing the Zambezi into Rozvi territory (what is now Zimbabwe) with some of “his people” finally ending up in Mozambique.
The name Shangaan is derived from the name of Soshangane. Somewhere along all that, we came to be here.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you try the biscuits I made, well they were supposed to be scones but I think the heat was too high and I left them a little too long now they are dry and crunchy just like biscuits. You could dip them in your tea to soften them. They have little hashtag symbols on the top, my niece made that with a fork.

If you were having coffee with me, I would show you a photo of my grandfather and I. He taught me some of what I know about who I am, my totem the praise song for my people.

generationUya chisa mlilo
Hikisile chauke
Chakungedzele ribweni
Loki uchiona chiehixele
chifile katika
Chihanya hlungwani angahlinga
Aukhosi wahina u’nzilo
Hi mina Beaton
WaGilbert
WaTsamwisi
WaMzamani
WaNdalega
waNgwena
WaMatsena
Wa Bhangwani
wakanga nzela ribwe.
Xikovele xigombeeeeeeeeee
I imagine people dancing around a huge fire as they say that.

Shangaan village

I am not entirely sure of the spellings or what that all means I know its something about an ode to Fire (my totem) I have been using the internet to learn XiTsonga if you do know please help translate

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you about yourself, where you come from.

In the spirit of UBuntu I am because you are…
Let me nominate a few blogs for the afrobloggers recognition award:

The Baby Steps Of Sinawo Bukani

Bookenies

Kuwe Nkosi

Bantu Voice

Naughty Notties

The Spider Blues

Curious Chido

From Tokyo To The World

Here are the guidelines on how this award works:

  1. Once you are nominated, make a post titled CELEBRATING AFRICA WITH AFROBLOGGERS.
  2. Your post should share a brief on Afrobloggers and the work they are doing. Also thank and link  the person who nominated you.
  3. Celebrate Africa in the way you feel is more appropriate and in line with your blog”s overall theme.
  4. Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  5. Ensure all of these bloggers of African heritage.
  6. Lastly, COPY these rules in the post and include the link to this original post