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Writing away the darkness

If you would have known me a few years ago, you would surely have mistaken me for someone else. Shy, timid and uncertain of myself, I could easily have merged into the background amid the shadows and senseless sounds.

Why was I like that, you might ask.


I didn't have any and thought of my life as being inconsequential. I was just a tall, awkward-looking girl who wished the world could swallow her into its depths and forget all about her.

Those were hard tear-filled days to live through. And yet through them all, there was always one constant guiding me.


I wrote diary entries of despair, poetry of longing and journalistic articles about the world I lived in. I discovered myself through the richness of words.

I will forever remember the first HIV article I wrote; a beautifully intimate story of a man and woman who'd endured much but decided that love was stronger than the effects of an invasive virus mutating within their blood. I tried as best I could to capture the emotions that they felt; the joy, the pain, the drudgery of their daily lives.

I barley realised that in that small humble home that I visited one Saturday afternoon in 2006, I had birthed something beautiful - a gift for telling the stories that mattered but that were not known about. People who read the piece inundated me with messages of hope and encouragement. The couple was approached by foreign and local media for further interviews and became the heroes of their local suburb.

It was then that I realised that I could immerse myself into a cause and write away the darkness.

I could agitate for progress towards the enactment of Zimbabwe's local domestic violence act and be heard out in the local press. Since no one else was doing it, why not I? Why could I not speak on behalf of my fellow women who recounted their tales of pain at the hands of patriarchy?

I could take part in courses to enrich my creative writing writing skills. I could sit in a room with Zimbabwe's distinguished published authors and hold my own. Why not I?

I could blossom.

At 23, I stood before an audience dumb-founded about what to say upon receiving an Africa-wide award for journalistic excellence in reporting HIV and AIDS. What could I say that could concisely capture my feelings. Did they need to know about the self-doubt that always lurked in my mind, looking for fertile ground on which to take hold?

How could I say it so that everyone could understand how writing saved my life, how it gave me the most wonderful wings to soar across life's journey?

Today I accept it as my calling. And this is why I want to be a Voices correspondent - to write away the darkness and continue to make sense of the world through words.

The vision for my life is to be that incandescent light shining out of the darkness of ignorance. No one will stop me speaking. I have a voice and I will always and forever use it. Listen to it in my words - it is strong, bold, beautiful. Nothing will take it away from me.

If I can pass on the skill and beauty of writing to other women, then I have achieved yet another vision - to share my gift. Being in the VOF space the last few weeks has helped me see how I can do this. So many women have shared ideas with me about how to use my poetry to help heal women's wounds, how this can be swathing for their broken hearts. I hadn't even considered this as I made my poetic entries into my journal.

I am eager ro explore more, to say more, to write more - to give hope to those who think their stories are not worth saying or sharing.

I am ready to take my voice into the future.

      • Africa
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