I come from a long line of doers. Do you think that my dad could have achieved all that he did without mommy by his side?
I am told that when my mom and Mamkhulu Willo were building the extension of our old house, I was still a small baby and mom used to carry me on her back as she fetched sand, water, mixed cement into the sand and water to make mortar. Mamkhulu and her neat hands would be in charge of the actual building.
One time she didn’t tie the towel/blanket hard enough when securing me on her back and I ended up falling onto the wet mortar as she was handing Mamkhulu a bucketful of the stuff, during the build (I imagine *phaxa* as the sound my little body made as I hit the ground)😂.
Talk about back-breaking work. (My dad was always frustrated that they disregarded the level, so on weekends they would watch in horror as he measured and chipped away at their neat masterpiece). Let me not digress.
My Mamncane the late Shonisile Mamntonjani, built a huge, beautiful 6 cornered house complete with a bathroom, lounge, bedrooms all sectioned out nicely. It smelled like breeze soap in there. Babomncane was away for a looooong time that year and when he eventually came back to this majestic house, which happened without him he wasn’t pleased.
I can’t believe that I’m telling a story that shows him in a bad light (I love and respect him, may he rest in peace).
I was heart broken when the house had to be demolished. I knew Mamncane was hurt😢. She worked so hard on it.
Granted, he probably paid for it.
Now as a grown up, I think that it should have been a lesson on the importance of communication and having a shared vision for your marriage.
My people are not good communicators and unfortunately it manifests in negative ways through “awuyi lapho” & other stand-offish behavior and wanting to reassert your power, flex your muscle as a breadwinner-type vibe.
Through all of this I saw the strength that women possess and how being coupled made women subservient, which meant that they were expected to not have their own visions and dreams but rely on the man to lead and decide unilaterally.
This made me view marriage in a negative light. It makes me understand why some girls don’t take education seriously and opt to drop out, in order to be better wives someday.
Having grown up in a family that prioritized Education, I found myself straddling the two worlds badly, when I was trying to finish my studies and not become a mother out of wedlock but still trying to ensure that the boyfriend doesn’t feel like I was not submitting sufficiently.
Education came up tops and I paid for it through heartbreak, side chicks and baby momma drama. I lamented over it for years and tried to reason it out to no avail. Accepting it was what eventually brought me peace.
I come from a long line of doers. I know my capabilities and my strengths. It has been tested and tried. I am confident that I can stand on my own and fend for myself, because the women who raised me showed me that a woman can be and do whatever she wants and needs.
I come from a long line of determined, strong, black women.