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

Advertisements

Of Bare: The Blesser Game. A Review

Book Review

A book review: Bare

#TheBlesserGame #TheBreedingOfAnUnderDog

The breeding of an underdog

Bare: The Blesser Game is a coming of age fairy tale, no it’s not a fairytale, it’s about how the real world eats and spits out naive souls…

The Blesser Game follows the as yet unspoken of fundamentals of The Blesser, Blessee relationship. You know, when a rich usually an older male, spoils rotten a younger usually female (also known as Slay Queens), in return for a life of pampered luxury in exchange for sexual favours, maybe even dignity and before you know it your soul……

Jackie Phamotse Bare

The novel Bare follows the story of Treasure Mohapi’s journey from the her childhood, in the turbulent post apartheid era, hailing from mining town of Westonaria where her father has sweated to move them from Soweto.
Treasure’s father barely makes ends meet and carries around a dark temper with his wife being on the receiving end. Treasure dreams of one day living “The Dream” like in The Devil Wears Prada. Well be careful what you wish for, sometimes the devil wears a million dollar suit and might be a government minister even.

There is no fairy Godmother in this story but there’s a character who could easily be a Godfather, or a minister of finance as Blessers are known.

Being blunt about it The Blesser phenom is just a way to put lipstick on the pig that is predatory behavior by the privileged.

Jackie Phamotse’s Bare is a novel reminiscent of Jackie Collins novels but instead of being in the larger than life Hollywood drama, Bare is set in the glitzy Sandton streets of Johannesburg, with its the shadowy world of The Hockey club, a League of the filthy rich.

Jackie Phamhotse has a story a tell and she tells it in this book which is a fictionalised biography, she mentions during book launch pressers that aspects of this book are from her real life experiences and others loosely based on the lives of all the victims of sexual predators to whom this book is dedicated:

“You are nobody until someone kills you, then you become a story that others
call history.”

Jackie Phamotse #TSAON3 Trending SA

Each chapter in the book begins with a different quote, sometimes they are a clue on how the story unfolds, other times, seem just like a wise quip the author picked up from her family and friends.

you see a girl dressed to say…
No one tells me what to do!
You know someone once told her what to do.
– Jennifer Michael Hecht

The Blesser Game is not the best written book I’ve read neither is it the worst, Jackie gets my points for graphically telling a story,  an elephant in the room, the things that happen behind the closed bedroom doors of the rich and powerful. At a book launch interview Jackie even hinted that a government minister, whom she would not name, tried to block the publishing of the book.

I feel the book has some awkward sentence construction and expressions which jar one away from the story, but overally its a book one must read and get one’s fellow females to read especially those who want to be slay queens, live jet setter lives with flashy social media pages where they flaunt their swag.

The book feels incomplete, like there so much more left unsaid and guess what Jackie is working on sequel, maybe then will get to learn more of the infamous Hockey Club which is only given a glancing mention. The Hockey Club is a gentleman’s club of millionaires and not really about hockey or sports; although golf seems the interaction medium for initiation…… Is it a cult? Who knows; I don’t know?

WOMEN, FIND YOUR VOICE AND LIVE WITHIN YOUR POWER!
You are enough.
Jackie Phamotse

~B

This might not be the best Mother’s Day gift but its a story every mother must read and get for her daughter, her sister, her niece her aunt and her friend

 

Photo Credit: Trending SA #TSAON3

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.
.

Of Coffee, Mothering Sundays, Blogging Awards and Fans

If you were having coffee with I would greet you and ask if for a second you thought it was Mother’s day and you were wondering if your calendar is broken? Well it’s not Mother’s day its Mothering Sunday (falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent) Its celebrated almost exactly like mother’s day except that its origins are steeped in religion. On this day a very long time ago folk used to return to their mother church; the church where they got baptised and later it become the day people let their housekeepers go to church and then eventually turned into a day celebrating motherhood … Happy Mothering Day to all the mothers, you are forces of nature!!!

If you were having coffee I would tell I attended an Influencer’s Cocktail event which was also an awards ceremony for Zimbabwean  content creators Zim blogging awards. The event and the awards were created to bring recognition to bloggers and also try to engage brands and corporates to make use of the services of bloggers and their online influence in a mutually beneficial relationship.

zim blog awards

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that awards are always tricky things especially inaugural awards. I felt they put too much value on the influence aspect and more a popularity contest than properly doing tribute to online content creators; with a flawed voting system allowing people to vote unlimited times, I was tempted to also vote for myself multiple times. But hey we gotta start somewhere; call it a learning curve and hopefully next time they will be bigger and better……..

If you were having coffee with me; I would tell you that the best part of the day was meeting people who would recognise you from your blog; to meet real people not your family and friends who actually read your blog and love your blog, the feeling is priceless, for a second you feel like you famous. The highlight of the day was when I met someone who had also been at the International Women day event I wrote about HERE in my previous post, telling me how they appreciate and I quote “men who love women” and thanked me for the support…. Little things like that, that’s what keep me going. If you are out there reading this Thank YOU.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell that suddenly I’m feeling festive Lets Do The March Blog Party whoop whoop: I’ll share some of my favourite posts from my favourite female bloggers because #PressForProgress go show them some love and in the comments below share a link to a post of yours you want read don’t forget to read posts from others and when you comment on a post you found from my blog sign off by saying With Compliments From The Muse so one can tell from whence they found your blog post. That’s pretty neat right? I promise to try to read every post you guys share…

Be Humble Not Timid – Tapiwanashe

The introvert’s holiday survival guide – Quarter wife

Untitled 27/2 – Beauty’s daughter

IWD – life with Dimples

Why are women more tolerant than men – Faith

God Bless The Woman – Joseyphina

learning to love myself – Mable

Embarking on a journey of self love – Makaitah Rouge

Writing Recipe – Floating

on behaving beautifully – The Britchy One

~B

Of Little Voices And Big Dreams

 

Little hands and big hearts

Let the little ones come to me……………

Kids are priceless and their innocence precious. Sometimes though, sometimes they ask in their little voices very difficult questions, questions you would rather the Earth open up and swallow you before you answered them………

When I say I am babysitting; I really mean that I’ll find something on the TV that we can all watch and (try to) keep them out of trouble until their mom comes pick them up.

Their tiny minds are like sponges absorbing all sorts “knowledge” so one must filter carefully what reaches through.

One of my nieces wanted to be a pilot from when she could talk until accidentally catching a scene from an episode of some “seconds from disaster mayday  air collision” type TV series; promptly put an end to that dream.

The other day whilst watching Zootopia, you know the place; where anyone can be anything? I decided to ask a niece what she wanted to be….

A Disney Princess” said a little voice with a big dream  (after binge watching episodes of Sophia The First)

“Sure darling you can be a Disney Princess” I replied. Who am I to deny a girl her dreams?……

Little Princess

Little princess all dressed in white throwing rose petals 

This other time we were scrolling channels looking for something to watch when a commercial for feminine hygiene products come on. You know the type with a catchy upbeat jingle about staying dry always and a lady with an umbrella is dancing in the street; a voice narrating how the new design and “wings” give extra protection:

The Niece turns to me and asks “Are those like the Elastoplast® in the drawer?” (The Band aids) we always keep some around because the little hands and legs always getting into scrapes.
I replied with a quick yes and hoped that was the end of that, but a few seconds later;

How come she is singing and dancing if she is hurt?” asked a little voice.

“Where is she hurt?” another little voice asked

You cant see it__” I started to reply then decided to go with “Anyway, she isn’t hurt bad__ ….she is fine now….”

In my head I was thinking oh lawd where is their mother; as I changed the channel. On the next channel there was another commercial, its almost as if there is schedule that such commercials show during this particular segment.

This time it was a bunch teenage girls in a classroom dancing and singing a catchy tune about checking for leaks as always. I guess it was a regular commercial because the little ones were singing and dancing along…….
A tiny hand was pulling my leg trying to get my attention and I could just tell that they had a question to ask…. And I probably would get myself tangled into a web I was not equipped to deal with so I changed the channel again…..

On the next channel, there is a Cadbury chocolate commercial. A lady pregnant with triplets is eating Cadbury chocolate.

cadbury chocolate craving pregnancy

The “babies” in her tummy loving it so much they start singing Joy a song by The Soil (which happens to be my favourite song from my favourite accapella group)

singing cadbury triplets
“I got joy in my heart
And you know it’s the kind of feeling
Followed by a sense of healing, “

What happens next you can definitely imagine:

Do babies like chocolate?” a little voice asks

Where do babies come from?” another asks as well

Chocolate!!!!” another replies

“So…. If you eat chocolate______” another little voice starts to speak………………

Thank you very much Cadbury

~B

PS what interesting situations have little voices gotten you into?