Rise Up Girl Child

With the rise in gender based violence that we are facing, I am writing a story about myself so that you - especially the girls - can get to know the writer behind the many stories to come. I am a lady aged 41 with a bright future ahead of me. I am glad to say that with confidence, especially with the background that I was brought up in.


I was raised by many people as a result of the suppression of women, which sent my mother packing and back to her parents. I was only four when this was happening. I am glad she went because of how it would have turned out if she had stayed but I was sad because she never raised me as a result of the emotional struggles she faced with my father back then.


I am the second born in a family of four siblings, same mother, same father. When my mother left she had just given birth to two bouncing beautiful girls. Before me is a boy who is five years older. My mother was a housewife and never endeavoured to do anything in terms of following a career or later on, just empowering herself with something to do.


I believe strongly that because of that, my father would take advantage and have extra-marital affairs to suppress her. As I write this, I am writing to you, the girl child reading this article, that yes, life can be better if you do learn to stand on your own. I encourage you to further your studies so that you avoid the dependency syndrome, which can bring this violence we face as women.


Photo: Ruth Sibanda

I am glad that the gender based violence that my mother faced did not break the strong girl inside of me. Instead it awoke the person that I am today. When my mother left, my father shipped me to my grandmother and my grandmother in turn shipped me to her brother. This rat race of shifting did something to me. It made me even stronger and created a desire that I want to be something to avoid falling into the same trap that my mother had faced.


I must say the move from my father’s house, which was an affluent home to my grandmother’s house in the township and then right down to my grandmother's brother, which is in the rural areas, was hard. I started living a life which made me feel like I was a foreigner at my uncle’s rural home. Everything was new, from how you source water for home use to where you would bath. I was so emotionally hit that I vowed I would work very hard to come out of that situation.


I moved back to my grandmother’s place after she passed on to stay with my father’s sister. My Aunt took good care of me and I stayed for a while without actually going to school because my father was nowhere to be seen to kick start the process for me. My mother was also nowhere to be seen. I eventually went to school and got good grades and then my father and stepmother took me in and sent me to boarding school.


After I had completed my high school, my father could not put me into college. I went hunting for a job. I remember my first job, I was a cashier in a video club with odd working hours. My father would complain because I would knock off late all the time to cater for people coming from work, the club would close at 1900hours. I then got a better office job and began my journey of learning.


I started getting different jobs because I took that first step to get a job. I landed myself a job at an insurance broking firm. My immediate manager advised me that the company provided educational loans so if I wanted to study, I could make use of this privilege. My prayer of getting into formal education was answered in a good way. I did the first level and proceeded to Diploma - all expenses paid.


Unfortunately the company started battling financially when I wanted to study further. I got retrenched and started again, looking for another job. This time, I had experience in my pocket. I got a job at an insurance company with the same offer of studying further. I enrolled into University and studied my first degree in Risk Management and Insurance. I enrolled again into an international institution in London and studied long distance, still all expenses paid for.


I am glad to say that although the journey has been like a roller coaster, I did not give up. I am now based in a foreign land because I managed to get permanent residency as a result of the qualifications I acquired with a good job, despite the companies' battles. I have achieved so much because of these qualifications.

My encouragement to girls is - it takes you to rise above and with that always know the sky's the limit.