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Lest I Forget – The Inspirational Life Of My Mother (Happy 58th Birthday)

Today marks 58 years of my biological mother’s earthly life. Having been born on 7 August 1961; in the then Rhodesian town of QueQue (now K...

Today marks 58 years of my biological mother’s earthly life. Having been born on 7 August 1961; in the then Rhodesian town of QueQue (now Kwekwe); she epitomises a lot of resilience, service and sacrifice to us as a family. Thank you mama for everything that has occurred in your journey of life. 

Tapiwa Zuze - The Inspirational Life Of My Mother

My mother encountered a very tough upbringing. Her father and mother met in colonial Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). They had both come to Rhodesia as immigrants in search of work. My grandfather came from Mulanje, Malawi; while my grandmother was a Basotho from South Africa. The two stayed together as husband and wife, and were blessed with two daughters; Shelta (my mother) and Margaret (my mother’s younger sister). During my grandparents’ stay together, they never introduced each other to their relatives; neither did they make any efforts to explain the same to their children. 

Sometime in 1970, when my mother was in Sub B (the equivalence of Grade 2 in modern Zimbabwe); my grandfather was arrested at a mine where he was working. He was accused of having stolen a raw mineral stone (presumably with gold). That accusation was neither tried in a competent court of law, nor supported by any exhibits. The word of the colonial white men who supervised him were enough “proof and evidence” to seal his fate. He was subsequently banished from Rhodesia with a Prohibited Immigrant (PI) status; and got deported back to Malawi. He never got a chance to kiss his wife or daughters goodbye. Whether he arrived alive in Malawi or not, that has never been proved to this day. His family, us included; never saw him again. We don’t have any picture of him at home; neither do we even know his name! 

My grandmother; whose name was Anna; lived on with her two daughters after her husband had been banished back to his homeland. Unfortunately, due to the colonial segregation and societal imbalances, both her daughters dropped out of school. That sealed the educational fate of my mother and her younger sister; Margaret. 

Tapiwa Zuze - The Inspirational Life Of My Mother

Fast-forward to 1976, my mother got married to my father. They were blessed with their first son; Peter, in 1977. However, Peter passed on in late 1978 after just over a year of earthly existence! God willing, came my sister Maidei on 16 August 1979, myself on 17 May 1982, my younger brother Simbarashe on 21 September 1987; and the last born Winnet Fungai on 22 July 1994. My grandmother passed away in August 1995. Again, just like from our grandfather’s side; we don’t know anyone from her family. She never went to back to South Africa after coming to the then Rhodesia. This is our greatest deficiency: that we don’t know any other kinsmen from our mother’s side. It is just her and her younger sister; Margaret. It boggles our minds up until today. 

Despite my mother’s biological and default deficiencies; visible in her small body frame, having dropped out of school in Sub B (Grade 2), low confidence levels, chest/breathing challenges, and growth infirmity on her back; she has outperformed many other naturally gifted people. Our lives are a testimony to the work she has put through to produce world class leaders and achievers! We are here today carrying degrees and many other accolades in life. What a legend Gogo Zuze is to us!! 

Today, as she turns 58; I just want to say happy birthday Gogo vaParis and Camilla! 

With endless love and thanks, 

Your (no longer so little) son 

Tapiwa Zuze

Tapiwa Zuze - The Inspirational Life Of My Mother

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