Tag Archives: Cape town

Finding My Way Home


During my run this morning it dawned on me (see what I did there?) that I have been home for eighteen months now. That is the longest I have lived in Zimbabwe since I was nineteen. Before that I lived in Cape Town for a little over two years, and before Cape Town I called Australia home for seven years. That means I have lived all but the last year of my twenties outside of Zimbabwe’s borders. That is a long time to be away from your family and the place that you grew up. A place you have called home for most of your life. Because of this the museum of my life’s memories is divided into two main sections. My childhood can be found under the Zimbabwe section, and my adult life would almost entirely fall under the Diaspora section. Who I am as an adult at times feels so far removed from who I was as a kid. I often wonder how different of a person I would have turned out to be if I had never left Zimbabwe. I imagine that I would probably be married and have a kid or two by now just like nearly all my friends who stayed behind.

My childhood memories are exclusively Zimbabwean and that is the Zimbabwe I have held onto even in adulthood when it was a land far far way. But that is not the Zimbabwe that I returned to. The Zimbabwe I returned to was a completely different place from that of my childhood. I wasn’t so naive as to expect not to see changes given that I had been away for long. And maybe I should have been naive because on my return the infrastructure looked either the same or in a worse state that I remembered. During my hiatus from the Motherland it seems to have stagnated. On my return I remember experiencing a mild culture shock. The people had changed. Not just they were older but it was the change in their attitude and general outlook on life that struck me. Their natural optimism had been drained out of them and most seemed resigned to accepting that as a nation we were going nowhere fast. This was not the Zimbabwe I remembered. The Zimbabwe of my childhood. All this made it difficult for me to not only find my way home but also to feel like I belonged there. I felt like an outsider, a stranger in my own country. And that I wasn’t prepared for.

About a year ago I wrote about how even though I am a Zimbabwean, I still call Australia home. This was my attempt to try and confront and deal with my culture shock as well as an attempt to redefine what home meant to me. In that blog I sort to deconstruct my own preconceived and limited understanding of what home was to me. I accepted that I belong and understand many worlds, that home for me at the time was more of a transient concept. I decided that ‘home’ for me would be me being comfortable in my own skin. So wherever I was as long I was assured of who I was as a person I was ‘home’. Once I decided that I began to study myself by looking back at all the experiences I have been privileged enough to have. And during that time I have tried to reflect that in my writing in the hope that it would provide a map for anyone else who might be trying to find their way home.

As often happens during my runs whilst chasing the rising sun I slipped into a reflective trance again this morning. This is what happens on the days I am not running with my muse. It’s just me, my thoughts and the open road. Pure bliss. I have only ever found such serenity and clarity of thought between the margins of the blank page. This morning I found myself reminiscing over the last eighteen months. The highlights of the last eighteen months are that I got to exercise my democratic right to vote for the very first time in my life, I also managed to tick bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge of my bucket list and I more recently I had a fulfilling HIFA week which stands as one of the best festivals I have ever attended. All this has gone a long way in making me see a different side of Zimbabwe that I never got to experience as a kid. I finally have some adult memories in the Zimbabwe section of my memories museum!

This past December we had a family reunion. This was the first time my extended family was together in the same place in over a decade. With people dotted all over the globe chasing a myriad of hopes and dreams it has been next to impossible to bring us all together in one. Whilst we have seen each other intermittently over the years we have not been all in the same place at once. People have wed and some have passed on and still we could not all be brought together by these events. So it was a blessing that everyone made an effort to pitch up this December. And boy was it a special and memorable experience. We laughed, danced, ate, drank and we got to know each other again. I feel like we now understand and accept each other for who we really are now and not the people we were ten years ago. We have all had different experience over the last year but despite that bond that we have as a family seems as strong as it’s ever been. And our family at large is better for the collective experiences we have had. And that is a beautiful thing.
After eighteen months I feel I have a more nuanced understanding of what life in Zimbabwe is like in the present day. I have taken off my nostalgia goggles that made me look at Zimbabwe with an idealised romanticism that was so far removed from the realities of present day Zimbabwe. When I lived abroad I remembered only the Zimbabwe of the late 80’s and the 90’s. And because of that I have had to learn to love Zimbabwe again as an adult for different reasons than I did as a kid. I now view it through the eyes of a man who has seen a bit more of the world. I appreciate its unique beauty and I see its great potential. Zimbabwe is a nation that is flawed but stitched together with good intentions. We are nation of survivors and the most innovative of entrepreneurs. Despite all our challenges we are a proud nation but more importantly we are still a happy nation.

Being Zimbabwean has always been and will always be my heritage. My roots will always be here. No matter how far beyond its borders I venture out again it will always be home. It will always welcome me, one of its many ‘prodigal sons’ back no matter how long I have been gone for. After eighteen months back home I no longer feel the need to validate my Zimbabweaness to myself or anyone else for that matter. I am Zimbabwean. I will always be Zimbabwean. No one can ever take that away from me. I used to feel what I call ‘Diaspora guilt’. That because I wasn’t there when Zimbabwe experienced its most trying times I was less Zimbabwean. That my Zimbabwean experience wasn’t as authentic as that of those who stayed behind and kept this country going. That was foolish of me.

I am just as Zimbabwean as those who stayed behind. Whether I was in Melbourne or Cape Town I was representing you. I was offering up a more positive narrative than that which the world had come to associate Zimbabwe with. And for that I am just as ‘authentically’ Zimbabwean as you are. Wherever I go in the world I will always be that Zim guy, and that makes me proud. Already to many of the friends I have made from all over the world I will be one of the first few things they think of whenever Zimbabwe pops up on their radar. And I am proud of that because in my own small way I have put my country on the map. That has been my contribution to this great nation so far. In conversation with so many others who have lived in the Diaspora I have picked up a very encouraging trend. All of us want to use our Diasporan experience as a springboard for us to make this country a better than it ever was. For my part over the next couple of blogs I intend to share some of the lessons I have picked from living abroad for so long in the hope that sharing my experiences will encourage all of us at home and abroad to contribute to this great country in our own different ways.


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I Am Zimbabwean, But I Still Call Australia Home

I have been home for the last five months. The longest I have been at home over the last decade. I use the term home rather pensively and maybe even a little awkwardly. Home to me has always been a a transient concept and is an ambiguous place most times. Most people identify home as the place that they were born and most likely grew up. This is usually one particular place. So what do you call home if your upbringing has been a nomadic one? If all your life you have never lived in one place for an extended period of time. Lately I have been musing on this rather incessantly. I have asked myself “What does home mean?” Where is home?” For most people these are simple questions. For me?, not so simple.

One thing I can definitely identify with is as a Zimbabwean. I was fortunate due to my father’s career as a hotelier to have lived in many different parts of the country. Albeit mostly in hotels. By the time I was eighteen which was the time I left Zimbabwe to go and study in Australia for my university education I had already called Harare,Victoria Falls, Troutbeck, Bulawayo, Hwange, Kariba, Masvingo, , Mutare, and Juliasdale home. I lived in all those places for at least a year at a time. I had a rich Zimbabwean experience growing up. Home for me has never been one particular physical address, but instead it has always been a transient place. The only constant being my family. Home is where my family is.

My parents now live in the Eastern Highlands town of Mutare in Zimbabwe. Mutare is also referred to as ‘Kuma komo yo’ in the manyika dialect of the Shona language which loosely translates to ‘in the mountains’. It is a small town where it often seems like everyone knows each. I don’t know anyone. Which is why I sometimes feel awkward calling it home. The reason being I only lived here during my gap year between high school and university. But it is the place that my parents have called home for the last decade. This place I have hardly lived is home.  Home is where my family is.

Whilst some might look at all the moving around as a source of instability for my young mind I look at It differently. It was as an enriching experience and a big factor in cultivating my open mindedness. It has allowed me to adapt to different environments relatively smoothly. It might also explain my commitment issues, but let’s not get into that. That’s a whole different blog. What I know is that the man I am today is a product of all the experiences I had growing up in different places all over Zimbabwe and the ideologies I carved out for myself as an adult.

 I spent a major part of my twenties living in Australia. A period I slowly came into my own as a man. Australia is where I spent all my university years, the place where I got my first job, paid my first bill and experienced my first heartbreak. Just about everyone I call a friend I met in Australia. Australia is the place that, when my parents visited for my graduation they finally told me the story of how they met. It is the place I saw them go on dates and first viewed them as lovers and not just parents. It is the place I first bought my Dad a six pack of beer. Most of my adult memories are safely tucked away down under. So if home is a place filled with some of your best memories then ‘I still call Australia home’.

 I haven’t lived in Australia since the end of 2010. I briefly moved back to Zimbabwe for a few months before packing up and moving to Cape Town, South Africa for work.  I have called the Mother City home for the last two years. With Cape Town it was love at first sight. This is because as a place and for the struggling culture vulture in me Cape Town has many similarities to Melbourne. There also happens to be a lot of Zimbabweans living in Cape Town. Nine times out of ten, if I am in bar or I take a cab I can get away with ordering a drink or chatting to the cab driver in my mother tongue Shona. Cape Town is also the place that has nurtured the writer in me. Most Capetonians fancy themselves creative’s at heart. So I guess for me it was a case of when in Cape Town, you do what the Capetonians do.

Whilst it might seem like I struggle with a sense of belonging and I do ask myself “Where do I belong?” I still consider myself fortunate to not only just visit, but to have called so many places home. I have had the privilege to have had my primary and secondary education in Zimbabwe, which at the time had the best education system in Africa by far. My world view has greatly been enhanced by the opportunity to study and work in the Diaspora (especially when juxtaposed with the perilous state of my beloved Zimbabwe for most of the naughties)

The politics and complexities of what home means aside, I’ve found ‘belonging’ and being familiar with different places has made my life richer. I‘ve had a deep insight into different cultures. I’m aware of their points of tension and area of overlap. My perspectives and experiences have a width and depth they would otherwise lack. Ultimately growing up in different places has taught me the lesson that all people have more in common than they believe. We all seek the same things, love, acceptance and security. We simply have different methods of pursuing our aims. If a person is good (or bad) it is not because of their culture or nation of origin, it is in spite of it.

I remember growing up and cringing at some of my parents idiosyncrasies. Exhibit A; my parents named a cow I inherited from my late grandmother Bendigo, after the university town I initially studied in. Exhibit B; our family dog is called Toorak, after the Melbourne suburb I was living in when my parents visited. I had no say in the naming of either. When I m not cringing at such trivialities I often look back and marvel at why my parents have achieved. These are two individuals who came from broken and disadvantaged homes but have still managed to build a respectable life. Both my parents grew up in the then Rhodesia and never went to university. Still they made great sacrifices to send me to a world class university at a time when it was easier not to. They did this through hustle, determination, tenacity, belief and vision. My parents have not only given me a better life. They have given me many homes that are and mean many things to me.

So that question again. Where is home? … Home is where my family is. Home is where some of my best memories are. Home is every place I have lived.

I am a Zimbabwean, but I still call Australia home.

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Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Cape-Tivity: The Bucket List

I had my first sun-downer in months today.  A corona with lime. For me this marks the start of  the silly season (Spring/summer). Ever since I became an imbiber of the amber coloured nectar of the gods Corona has been my preferred drink for the silly season. Its the perfect drink for the warmer months. That and I still don’t do pink drinks. I am partial to the fist bump with the explosions though. Its my guilty pleasure *Kanye Shrug*.

This past week we have been spoiled with a few glorious sunny days. Winters grey clouds are becoming more and more infrequent. Clear blue sky’s are gradually taking their place. .*In Oprah voice*”You are getting sunshine, yes, you too …you are getting sunshine. Capetonians, you are all getting sunshine” Its safe to say winter is finally over. Fellow Capetonians might be hesitant to celebrate just yet as the Mother City can be quite the diva. She always gets her way with Mother Nature and she can be moody which means often having to experience all the four seasons in a single day. When she smiles, you cant help but indulge her diva tendencies. Its totally worth it. The days are longer. The sunsets increasingly more breathtaking and awe inspiring.

It is in the spirit of wanting to make the most of the good weather that I have decided to make some resolutions for the sill season. A bucket list for a summer in Cape-Tivity.( No one knows what it means but its provocative, it gets the people going..) Things that I hope  to have done come the end of warmer days.


1. Smile and Wave

Smile with the rising sun. Every. Single. Morning. Skipper the Penguin taught me.

2. Learn how to Kite surf.

Last summer whilst catching up with mates on the beach front in Table View (Which by the way has the most amazing picturesque view of Table Mountain) we happened to spot people kite surfing. I must admit it looks like such an adrenalin rush. Its an exciting mix of para gliding, wake boarding, surfing and gymnastics all rolled up in one extreme sport. I have been dying to try it out ever since. (Ignoring the fact that I can barely surf, but darn it, I am going to Kite surf or drown trying.) Why? Cos Booyah that’s why. Also according to those in the know Cape Town is one of the best locations in the world to kite surf. Kitebeach a world renowned kite-surfing spot is right at my doorstep. Sign me up.

3. Go-karting.

Haven’t done this in years. Need to fix that. Karting is one of the most exciting and exhilarating activities I have ever done. There are very few things quite like the thrill of buzzing along at up to 80km per hour at only 5 cms off the ground. The closest I will ever to get to the Formula 1 racing experience.

4. Hiking

Explore the great outdoors the way God intended – on my own two feet! This means regular hikes up Lion’s head, Table Mountain etc. The full moon hike up Lion’s Head is a definitely the main attraction.

5. Dance

Yes thats right, I am going to throw another D on it. last Summer was all about Debauchery and decadence.  This years installment will have to include dancing. Not just in front of the mirror, I intend on coming alive on the dancefloor. No more posting up by the bar acting all Denzel and all that jazz. This summer we boogie down. Thats whats up.

6. Live Theatre

Watch a live play at the theatre. For the Struggling Culture Vulture in me.

7. Rock climbing

Finally take up that rock climbing course I have been telling myself I will do for the last year or so. My family totem is the Monkey so I have feeling I might just be a natural at this. Bring it on.

8. Alfresco dining.

I plan on eating out (Literally). I am thinking picnics in the park, by the beach, you name. Braai’s will be a staple. That’s a no brainer. Sun-downers on rooftops. The works.

9. Outdoor summer music concerts.

I missed out on the first major festival of the silly season – Rocking the Daisies. By all accounts it seems like it more than lived up to the hype. Luckily I wont have to wait till next years installment to get my festival fix as there still a few more festivals before the silly season ends. In particular the series of sunset concerts at the Kirstenbosch gardens

10. Visit Franschoek

A weekend getaway to Franschoek. a.k.a “The French corner” .The picturesque village that is the food and wine heartland of South Africa. Google the images. That is all. ( also refer to 8)

Cape-Tivity. Let the fun in the sun begin!

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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Pain Heals. Chicks Dig Scars. Glory Lasts Forever.

Its just after 2am on a September night in Melbourne. I find myself at my local sports bar in Toorak, watching the Manchester derby with fellow fanatics. We are united in our passion for the game,undeterred by the difference in time zones. A time difference , the consequence of which means we are huddled up in this sports bar at this ungodly hour on a Sunday. Even though the match is being played on a Sunday afternoon across the pond. Tonight, more than any other night though it has been worth it. The match has reached an unbelievable climax. Its a remarkable conclusion to an enthralling Manchester derby. Manchester City had looked to have snatched an unlikely point after coming from behind for the third time to level only seconds before the end of the 90 minutes. The board goes up, 4 minutes of injury time( popularly known amongst United’s detractors as “Fergie time”). Needless to say Michael Owen latches onto a sumptuous through ball from the evergreen Ryan Giggs and scores with was it to be last kick of the match. In the 6th minuteoif injury time. Pure Bliss.

The scene both on screen and in the bar is one of pure euphoria.The resulting hysteria is nothing short of intoxicating. This is embodied by Sir Alex Ferguson celebration. He sets off on an impromptu wild dance along the touchline. I mirror his celebration by partaking in an impromptu little jig and fist pumping of my own in the bar before joining the rest of the fanatics in a rendition of “Glory Glory Man United”. Shortly after I leave the sports bar, deciding to walk home which is 5 min away. In my state of euphoria as I often do I retreat to my own little world. Glory. I am preoccupied with updating my facebook status. I am keen to share my smugness , which is more pronounced than usual tonight given the manner in which we have won. Glory.

Next thing I know my back is against the wall. I am wearing a arrogant but slightly bemused smirk on my face. These two young Italian punks are demanding I hand over my wallet. The absurdity of the scene disarms me more than their demands. Who would have thought, me an African man, being robbed by two younger males of Italian descent. All this on a Sunday night in what is supposed of the safest suburbs in Melbourne. My brain races. My initial thoughts are, I can probably make a break for it.They would never catch me. They either read my mind or are peeved by my apparent lack of fear.That’s when I felt a warm fuzzy feeling in my inner thigh. In the camouflage of darkness I had not noticed the knife.The bastard had stabbed me dangerously close to my groin area. Shock settles in, wiping the smirk of my face. They steal my wallet. They try to grab my phone, I swing a punch in their direction rather feebly, before collapsing in a heap on the ground.They bolt. I resign myself to my fate. I am lying alone in the middle of the street , not a soul in sight.Could I be dying? I have never contemplated dying before. If I am really dying, how could it happen like this? Here. Now. On the pavement – in Toorak. I engage a fleeting image of my parents thought of my parents which is just as quickly  interrupted by thoughts of how stupid it would all be for my life to end this way.This is it. Things start becoming fuzzy, I m losing consciousness.I am gasping for air.A futile exercise.

The next thing I recall. My eyes are being assaulted by a bright light.The pearly gates perhaps? I try and recall the last time I saw the inside of a church. The memory is too distant. Before I can reach it, I am interrupted by a booming voice which promptly brings me back to earth. “How you going mate?. “Are you OK ?”. At that moment I recognise the source of the light. Its the policeman flashlight. I am lying on the side of the road drowning in a pool of my own blood. Blood is gushing out of my leg as if from a burst fire hydrant. My entire right leg is completely drenched in blood. Am I OK? Do I look OK? I think to myself. Before I get the chance to respond an Ambulance arrives on the scene and Paramedics rush to my aid. In between what look like exaggerated attempts to catch my breath I manage to draw on the little reserve of energy that I have. “I need morphine please, I am in pain” , I plead. No sooner have they hauled me onto the stretcher a taxi arrives on the scene.

To this day I can only imagine how my then girlfriend at the time felt. Oh what was going through her mind being confronted by that scene. The flashing lights.The blood. I can only imagine she was looking scared as hell as she made her way towards the Ambulance.In that moment it came back to me. How I had casually rang her and nonchalantly told her I had been robbed.Why I didn’t think to call 000 myself remains a mystery even to to this day. She later confided that when she arrived on the scene. She was pretty sure I was dead. Fortunately for me she had been more alert and rung emergency services. Who in turn rang me and managed to keep me conscious till their arrival. A quick instinctive chain of events that saved my life. For that I will eternally be indebted to her. She saved my life. Thank you. This was in 2009.

The present day
Last week I attended a reading for a book entitled , My Father, My Monster, by McIntosh Polela at the Centre of the book in Cape Town. My Father, My Monster is a memoir that The Sunday Independent newspaper referred to as being so painful it bleeds of the page. Now, to be honest I wasn’t particularity drawn to this book.In fact I had never even heard of the book prior to the reading.It just happened to be on the agenda for this particular Soirée. How did I come to be at the Centre of the book? Well since my protracted return from the writing wilderness, something I wrote about in my very first blog, I had started attending these Soiree’s. All in a concerted effort to surround myself with fellow writers as well as convince myself I was one of them. Ironically,as I was soon to discover it is during these soirées that I always find myself feeling less of a writer than I usually do when I m punching away at my laptop. I always feel like an amateur.(Well in truth I am), like everybody else there is better than me. Paranoia teases me relentlessly. As a result I m usually preoccupied with this nagging suspicion that someone will eventually find me out, and call me out on my little charade. In the process bringing attention to the fact that I am the literary equivalent of a vagrant painting on the side of a wall with a piece of calcified excrement. But I digress.

Let me get back to this particular Soirée. I am clearly no book reviewer or critic , no do wish to be one. There is a purpose in me sharing my literary excursions to the Centre of the Book. On this particularly day I was particularly moved by the author. His story struck a chord on a very intimate and personal level . The reading of excerpts from the book and the subsequent discussions that followed had stirred emotions that had been idle for a long time. Most significant if which was when the author detailed the effect that the process of writing the story had had.

My Father, My Monster is a story about how his mother was murdered by his father when he was just five years old, apparently because she had charged his father for sexual assault and had tried to flee. How even though he was found guilty of the murder , he served a suspended sentence and only spent a few weeks in jail.The author discusses how he dealt with the trauma. He initially entertains thoughts of revenge, allowing himself to get lost in fantasies about killing his father. He keeps a brightly polished gun, nursing his anger for the day he meets his father. When he does confront his father as an adult about his mother’s brutal death. He is in for a shock. He finds himself dealing with the worst predicament a son can ever have. How can he possibly forgive, when his father remains a remorseless, brutal and heartless murderer? During the Soirée he discusses how the lack of remorse affected him.”He would not say he was sorry”.“There was no closure.”His father refused to take responsibility.So instead he decided to write about it.The whole writing process ended up being cathartic and therapeutic and by his own admission was the catalyst in him subsequently healing and gaining closure.

The author emphasised that “Writing the book was not about wallowing in grief – it was about confronting my pain, it was about putting my pain into chapters.” Polela went on to detail how the path to forgiveness was not an easy one. In fact it was riddled with land mines. How he procrastinated a reconciliation and confrontation with his father for years. He wasn’t ready to forgive his father. Scared to test his forgiveness. In his mind he still handed reached that place were he could summon grace. For forgiveness must come with a costly grace. He felt his father had no entitlement to that grace. I knew this story.I had lived my own variation of this. In that moment I realised I had unwittingly walked into an emotional ambush.I would have to confront my own demons.

The story brought up certain issues for me that at different stages I have tried to camouflage in the bushes of normality. As I attempted to detail at the start , I had my own flirtation with death, a fling that was to change the course of my life forever.To quote Kanye West in his break out single Through the wire, ” Good dude, Bad night, Right place, Wrong time In the blink of an eye his whole life changed “. The scars I carry from that encounter both physical and emotional have been indelible.

I have since long recovered from the physical injury and for close to a year after underwent counselling to help me deal with the emotional trauma. I was fortunate that all this happened in a environment that was very supportive , from my family and friends to the counsellor. One thing thing though that I have constantly struggled with has been the fact that the morons who stabbed me where never brought to justice. That they were out there oblivious of the severity of the injuries that they inflicted on me.They have no way of knowing whether I survived or not. They have not been made accountable for their actions.The hardest thing during this whole post stabbing period has been summoning the grace to completely forgive and let go. This is compounded by what my counsellor referred to as “Survivor’s guilt”. Which basically for me was about this.

That had the ambulance been 10 minutes late, I would have bled to death.That though I have lost the use of a vein in my leg I am fortunate that they only scratched an artery , any further damage would have been fatal. That I lost so much blood , I needed eighteen satchets of blood ( 500ml each) , during a 5 hour long surgery.That I had to spend a week in intensive care on life support and a further month in hospital immobile and bedridden . Unable to eat,relieve myself ,walk. But I recovered fully and eventually the garish hole in my inner thigh, which had started out the size of a tennis ball eventually morphed into a beautiful scar . A permanent tattoo that always serves as a reminder if only to myself of my brief dalliance with that bastard death. In essence that given that I overcame all these obstacles it seems petty & maybe ungrateful to hold on to that. The guilt had its foundation in that despite all that I couldn’t summon the grace to forgive them. Though it is something I have never shared openly that I often entertained thoughts of revenge.A process that in manifested itself in self loathing because deep down I knew I was incapable of going through with any act of revenge.

This for me is where My Father , My Monster drew parallels with my own experience. Clearly no life was lost in my case but the resulting trauma was just as real. During the Soirée , the author detailed the injustice he felt at his fathers sentence. How that threatened to derail humans put his life of course.What was more important though is that he managed to turn his life around. He turned his tragedy into triumph. He is currently the national spokesman of the Hawks , a special branch of the South African security forces as well as a best selling author.

This is the hardest thing I think I have written. In fact I feel like I have only begun to scratch the surface in laying to rest some of the demons that I still wrestle with. That attack which in all reality lasted not more than 5 minutes has had everlasting impact on my life. It was a life changing experience. One that brings with it a story with many different trajectories , most of which are still playing themselves out. So in that regard I m grateful that I was at that reading . Because it sparked something in me. Writing this as difficult and lonely an experience as it been has been therapeutic and cathartic. Who knows maybe one day I will write my own book. In the meantime let me ensure that my story is one worth telling.

“Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim—letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”

Written by Tafadzwa Tichawangana


Posted by on March 11, 2012 in HIS-story


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The Love Letter

Dear Cape Town

I’m writing you a letter. That’s right a good old fashioned letter. It’s a lost art, really. Shame.

My original draft of this letter was four pages long. After careful consideration, I decided to abridge this, and cut to the chase because
what I have to say is really very simple. I love you.

When I first arrived on you shores I was lost , insecure , jobless . My flask that had once been filled with that bitter-sweet cocktail of optimism was running perilously low. Still I drank from it , conservatively. After all you were the promised land “A Mecca” for any Biotechnologist worth his salt in the Motherland. The Mad Scientist was in search of a new laboratory. It wasn’t all business though. You also had that added allure of being close to where the heart always is, home.(Well closer than I had been in the seven years prior).Luckily for me you took me in.

I remember in the beginning It seemed an all too confusing experience. With the burden if vulnerability and insecurity weighing me down I yearned for your maternal love. I was hesitant at first though because on the surface you seemed like a picky foster parent who seemed to choose her kids from a catalogue. You appeared partial to pale people who had an interest in fashion design, mojitos, garage bands and who had all went to art school. I had figured you all wrong though and before long I found myself flirting with you unashamedly ( I should probably see someone about that ).

Your Cape town are easy on the eye, your natural beauty is simply unparalleled. Your mountains whilst rugged and awe-inspiring, have a warmth and homeliness about them. Your waters( albeit very cold )are tumultuous and alive.Your flora is more varied. Your fauna more intriguing (where else can you see penguins and baboons in the
same day?). Cape Town you are visually dramatic beyond belief. I must confess throughout our early dalliances I felt so alive and energized here. A year later those feelings are still as raw and tangible.

As I grew more confident I began to lean in more closely and you held out your hand and guided me on a journey to explore your bosom. You let me indulge in that booty that Mother Nature herself blessed you. Oh those long expanses of blindingly white, icing sugar-like sand beaches , so heavenly, but I digress.

All of a sudden I was doing things like hiking up Lion’s Head, running along the beach front, surfing( epic fail) ,and cycling in Tokai Forest. I was reveling in your great outdoors .I was falling. I did not stand a chance .You , my dear Cape town are blessed with such an orgy of nature’s goodness. How could I not love you?

Now hang on , before you start to feel objectified ,and protest by unleashing the “Cape Doctor” wind on me and send me packing the same way do to the pollution and pestilence. Allow me to continue and add that to my pleasant surprise you turned out to be more than just a face . Beneath that mask of beauty lies a soul so pure , warm and inviting. A soul that manifested itself in your children. A bunch of culture vultures if I have ever seen any .The People: Capetonians are a breed like no other. They are chilled, friendly and fun. Then again when you’re sandwiched between two oceans,I guess ,you learn to go with the flow.

It is these very qualities that embody a very welcoming spirit that has made you a heaven for expatriates like myself .The expatriates I have met through you are progressive, forward-thinking, conscious,and committed to living with courage and positivity . Truth be told, it is the symbiotic relationship between your native sons and daughters and your adopted ones that make you so awesome. It is no secret that you that you still carry the scars of Apartheid hidden as they might seem behind your rainbows and sunsets.

This I believe is were the expatiate community has a significant role to play. We your adopted sons and daughters are not burdened with the weight of history, which provides us with an optimistic, current perspective. The absence of a historical lens allows us expatriates to see the reality of the present moment, not a distortion blurred with projections of the past.I simply love the expatriates I have met here in Cape Town. You seem to attract certain types of people: fearless, bold, adventure-seeking, and independent.

Its not just the expatriates that make it such great place to live.Like i said it is a symbiotic relationship and as such the locals play a huge role too. People in Cape Town readily talk to each other: in elevators, on buses, in line ups, on street corners. They offer help, opinions,jokes and smiles without waiting to be smiled at first. Whether its your waiter in a restaurant, a parking attendant, the produce guy or your next door neighbour, you will find yourself having more conversations and more laughs with strangers that you could ever imagine. Most of all, the smiles are broad and genuine

Then there is the food . Ah the food. The fast track route to my heart.Your delectable vast array of cuisines ( the mere thought of which has me salivating already). From the greasy Bunnie chow and gutsby’s to some of the best seafood around. You have it all .Testament of the cosmopolitan mix of peoples and cultures in the Cape .My favourite thing though, the Braai experience. How I have loved standing in front of an open fire, tongs in one hand, a cold fermented one in the other, and with both eyes fixated firmly on a juicy coil of sizzling borewors sausage.

There there is your sunsets .That brief period when your eyelids get heavy and you afford us a small peak into your soul. Wether its from Table mountain, Signall Hill , Table View , Camps bay ,it hits me everytime. Especially during the your warm African summers when It’s still light, sunny and hot till 8pm. Seaside Sundowners: you have perfected the art, its basically ,living the holiday, even if you have to work. How can I not love you?

As I finish writing this , its a bit late on a thursday night . I find myself sitting in my favourite cafe , my only companion a cold fermented one. Whilst begrudgingly keepin an eye on Man Utd play in the Europa league, but even that is not enough to temper the bliss I find myself in. I feel in my element. I am living good. Feeling better . But it’s time to go home and sleep now.

P.S If you are reading this , it means I finally worked up the courage to post it. So good on me.


Aspiring Capetonian

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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Letters


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