Dear Young Me

At this age and time, there is a lot I wish I could have been told while growing up. There is so
much I needed to know so that I would be ready to face this cruel world but that is no longer the
case.
I would have appreciated having been taught about culture and what it should mean for a young
woman like me. It would have been an honour being told the truth about the reality of this world,
who knows, maybe I would have prevented a number of unpleasant things that I have gone

through.
For so many years, I have been concerned about my physical appearance. I have been concerned
about my weight, my race, my tribe and my gender. I have resented myself for being the person I
am, I have never been content with myself and always looked for people’s approval. I have
always been reluctant and judged myself.
Not realizing the damage I was doing to myself, I questioned my femininity and my role in the
society as a female figure. People have presented different versions of truth and happiness but
none of those have seemed to make sense. With all that I have been through, I have learned a
very imperative lesson to never rely on vengeance and to never hold grudges.
I have allowed myself to know the secret of real happiness but I am still uncertain if eternal
happiness exists. Through all the aspects of life, I have been able to adjust and adapt to different
environments from time to time. But most importantly, I have been able to take whatever life
throws at me.
Yes, I have had my moments of weakness but I have strived to keep on going forward and never
stopping no matter what. I have overcome my fears and fought a winning battle. It’s funny how
amazing life can be at one stage, especially when you let loose and live a little. Although the
interpretations and misconception of this whole theory often gets confused, it is important to
understand the meaning behind every line.
Growing up, I wasn’t one of the fortunate, cool kids who had everything they wanted and
needed. I wasn’t fortunate enough to get everything I wanted as a kid but I am utmost grateful
for the best gift God ever blessed me with, my parents. They are the tree of my life. The love
they gave me was great enough to fill up the space and the need for material things.
That, somehow made me to become the woman I am today. I sometimes wonder how life would
have been if all I could have growing up was all the flashy things but no love. My parents
taught me a very important lesson, they taught me that nothing beats the love of those close
and dear to your heart.
Among everything else I wish I knew growing up, is that the value of love cannot be traded for
anything.

We Were All Meant For Greatness

It is funny how we all have different dreams growing up, but I am most certain that most of us
didn’t follow those dreams.

I remember how I used to tell everyone that I wanted to become a
doctor when I grow up, but here I am writing every little detail of what happens in people’s lives
on daily basis.
Back in high school I had a friend, she was so envisioned that sometimes I would lose
confidence and feel so little when she was talking about her dreams. She would talk as if she has
figured it all out, the next step after graduating in high school.
She was so passionate about Biology and the people. All she ever wanted to be become was a
genetic engineer. She was so interested in learning more about human body and the people’s
genetic history.

It was my first time hearing about such career path, sometimes I would wonder I
would wonder if she was being realistic but to my surprise, she meant everything she said.
I used to feel jealous when she told people what she wanted to become because that meant she
was damn good in Math and Biology. It is funny how life doesn’t always turn out the way we
want it, when I look at her today and recall what she used to say I just feel emotional.

It hurts me
to see someone who was so driven with passion doing nothing with her life.
I always looked up to her, among the people who were my inspiration she was always the first.
Having as a close was a thrill and the best thing that ever happened to me, her wisdom and
encouraging words were all that made me want to always become the best that I could be.
She was one class ahead of me but we were in the same learning stream, science. She helped me
with getting the formulas right. I look at her today and reminisce, our time together and the
whole of plans we had for our prospects.

She was one of a kind and she was the last person I
would have imagined without a career and a decent job.
When she first heard that I had made it to the university, she called me with cheer and she was
very happy for me.

I was also excited but I wished she was there with me to fulfil our dreams
together. A lot didn’t go as planned with her, she first started by falling pregnant and that became
a barrier.

She didn’t have an active support system therefore even if she wanted to go to the
university it was impossible.
I watched her trying to put her life together but each time he tried it felt as if a piece of a puzzle
was always missing.

Till to this date, she hasn’t made anything decent of herself and that is
killing me inside. I am willing to help her but I just can’t figure out what it is that I could offer
her.
She was her father’s joy and pride but when things started falling apart slowly, she had no one on
her corner to offer her the kind of support she needed. She was now all by herself and the
pressure of people expecting too much from her started kicking in.

Nothing hurts as much as being expected to do well in your life, given that we all make mistakes
and it’s the only way we get to learn.
My friend used to be a woman with faith and she was a strong believer but that is slowly vanishing.

She is losing all the hope in her life and I wish I could be there to uplift her and show
her that she still has a purpose to life. She is still young and there are great things ahead of her,
she just needs to brace herself for her chance in life and she will live her dreams.

I believe that her time is yet to come.

The Journey of My Dreams

Similar to a woman’s wardrobe, there are a number of memories that I would love to write
about but in this case, I can choose only one. That’s the day I will never forget, I have my
reasons for choosing this one. Not that it stands out from the rest but it’s the only one that
makes me smile whenever I look back and think of how far I have come.
It was the beginning of the year 2013. I was puzzled, scared and feeling helpless. The only
last strength I had was that of my mother’s prayer, she had certainly told me how proud
she was of me and how far I will go in life.
Those were the only words that kept me going even when things seemed hopeless. I went
to the university to seek funding for my studies, which was after receiving the admission
letter to enrol for a National Diploma in Journalism. There were a number of us who had
applied and wet for an interview but it was only a few who got selected.
Coming from a financially deprived family, my only hope was the students funding aid
which one had to apply for prior admission to the institution. I had applied but somehow, I
did not receive any response from the financial aid department. I didn’t know much about
the processes hence I didn’t think it was a big deal, until I went to secure my place at the
faculty office and bumped into a guy whom we had been selected with.
With him, there were a number of different documents and curiosity hit me and I asked
him what the paper work was all for. He grinned and politely told me they were for a
residence and funding application, I frowned with total panic. I felt the knots in my stomach
and a need for the ladies room.
That was the beginning of the real journey to my dreams, I became restless at nights
wondering what I would do if I couldn’t get my hands into the pink and blue forms. They
were just pieces of papers but without them life was somewhat hopeless. After days of
sulking, I pulled myself together and went to the institution to find more information on the
residence and funding application.
I was directed to different places, I went door to door with no luck of any tangible useful
information. The ladies at the receptions had no humour and as for their time, they
certainly couldn’t spare a minute. I was so eager to be on campus that year, following a gap
year that turned into 3 years of no studying.
When I finally found out what was required in order to secure a funding and a residence, I
took it upon myself to do what I had to do. I didn’t know anyone in the city therefore I had
to go to the institution and sleep in the corridor because during 6 in the morning, the queue
was usually long and most people had to return home without being helped. It was my very first experience of sleeping outside a house with no covers. But I was very
happy to do that knowing by the following midday I would be carrying a piece of paper which
confirmed securing of funding. Little did I know that it was only the beginning of the worst,
by the time the officials arrived that morning, they announced that the only people who
would get preferential treatment would be the students who were there since the previous
week and had been in possession of numbers given to them.
I only had R50 with me, my dad was not working anymore and only I could understand the
situation back at home. Being told that I won’t be assisted that day crushed my heart, I was
ready to lose hope and go back home because the money I had in my pocket couldn’t last
me another day in the city.
Until a good Samaritan saw the pain and despair through my eyes and came to my rescue,
he was a member of the students representative council (SRC). And knowing that nothing
comes at no cost in the world that we are living in, the thought of what he might want in
return couldn’t get past me.
When we were done with all the paperwork and I was now in possession of a piece of a
paper that opened the doors for me, I couldn’t help myself but calmly asked him what he
was expecting in return. He gave me a sharp look and asked if I realized that nothing is for
free, he then said “ All I want from you is for you to go to that journalism class, join the
ruling party and make your family proud.”
Just as he finished that line, I felt a sigh of relief and I extended my gratitude to him
and the almighty. I called my mom and said “Mommy I made it”. The tears of joy started
pouring down my cheeks, this was the day I realized how fortunate I am to be given such an
opportunity in life.
The best lesson ever learned on that day was, where there is a will, there certainly is a way.

When writing becomes the only thing that makes sense

I often wonder how writing help one deal with emotions and depression. But each time I am going

through solitude, writing becomes the only remedy.
It might not make sense to those who haven’t tried substituting talking about their feelings with writing.
I am not n easy person when it comes to confiding in another human being, so much so that sometimes I
wish I had a pet that would listen to me offloading.
Growing up in a family of seven children, with me being the last born wasn’t easy. I never used to talk
even when I wanted to because there was always that one brother or sister who always got the parents’
undivided attention. Perhaps my imagination was always running wild, but I always felt isolated and my
diary was my only friend.
Writing down my thoughts was the only thing that made sense and it always had me at ease. The best
lessons I ever learned from that was that writing isn’t for nerds as I always thought, but every single
individual needs to write every once in a while.
Since the digital media has taken over the world, I am always on my phone and knowing that I can now
type using my phone, I have no excuse not to write. Thanks to the modern technology evolving.
Sometimes I wish I could even write on my sleep, the urge for putting something down on the paper has
somehow made me feel like a sort of a scientist.
If u were up to me, I would have a small lab where I would have all kinds or writing tools and spend most
of my spare time there, not that I get much of that.
Being a post graduate and a freelance journalist consumes most of my time and energy. The never
ending research is draining but worth every effort I put in.
I will be the first woman if not the first person to hold a Degree in my village. I am on a quest of
becoming the best writer I could be, in both journalistic and academic writing.
I will strive for excellence in writing, who knows, I might become an inspiration to the younger
generation of my community and they might want to look up to me someday.
There are times when I feel the urge to write but my heart holds me back. Those are the times I know
that procrastination has gotten the better of me.
I have reached a decision to let go of all the things that hold me back from doing what I love, which is
writing. I promise myself to write until the ink in my pen becomes dry and my thumbs and fingers
become numb.
I

Women and homelessness

When I think of writing my mind wanders, this is simply because I have a lot to write about,
from tips of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to the social issues affecting my people. I am still in
the dark on what to go with, but whatever it is that I choose to put down on the paper should be
something useful for everyone.
Currently, I would love to write about the societal issues and what is happening in my
surroundings. That would include homelessness, racism, sexism and everything else that can’t be
ignored. When it comes to the above mentioned issues, a lot is being swept under the carpet
especially with homelessness.
There is a lot we still don’t know about the challenges of homelessness and femininity. Women
on the streets are more likely to be subjected to different situations such as intimidation, stigma,
shame and lack of privacy. These are not the only challenges they are faced with but the growing
need for basic hygiene is the most common challenge.
I don’t know how much I often complain about being on my periods, having to go through PMS
and enduring the period pains is always a chunk to take in. how selfish of me right? What about a
homeless woman who has to struggle for a shelter over her head, her safety and a simple sanitary
pad which has become unreasonably costly for regular people like me to buy?
Whenever it’s that time of the month, I normally feel the pressure of the last R20 that I have to
spare just to get myself a pack of comfortable, quality sanitary pads. On top of that, I have a
bathroom where I can always walk into and lock myself in so that no one would know that I am
on my periods. Meanwhile I am that privileged, there is a woman out there who doesn’t have a
tissue to use as a substitute for a tampon.
Sanitary pads are a basic need and I feel that they should be issued out to us (women) free of
charge. This is probably one of my pipe dreams because the distributing companies are in it for
business, but what about the consumers and the needy women who can’t afford a loaf of bread to
go to bed with something in their stomach?
People may partly have a solution to this dire condition and their answers may vary but my one
still lies with the government. If our government could offer so many people with children social
grant, why can’t it distribute free sanitary pads to the needy since it is a basic need? This may
come across as illogical and irrational but sanitary pads are always a part of our monthly grocery
list, hence they are essential.
I might be blessed enough to afford to buy myself a pack of sanitary pads or tampons but there is
someone out there who needs them just as I do but cannot afford them even if they were half the
price.

A journey to self-discovery

Having a dream of becoming a writer is one thing and having to write another. Journalism wasn’t
always the first choice in my career paths but thinking about it over years became the only thing
I wanted to do in my life. Being a journalist is not about bling and flashiness but all about
making change in the society.
I have always dreamt of becoming the best writer I could be but procrastination has had a huge
impact in my life. All this time, all I ever wanted was to be a writer but the only time I ever write
is when I am doing a story and have to meet a deadline. I never really sit and write just for the
sake of putting my thoughts on a paper.
Now that I have decided to put my money where my mouth is, I hope I will overcome the fear of
being unable to write the best way I can. After all, I think this is the challenge that I have needed
all my life as a young journalist. In fact I love writing because it helps me express myself better,
I have never been able to express my feeling and somehow I have always wondered how I could
overcome that challenge until I became a writer.
When reading through what other people write and blog about, I wonder how they do it every
day, this has thought me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. From this instance
onwards, I want to teach myself to practice more often by putting all my thoughts down on the
paper.
Writing isn’t rocket science but it can be very difficult if you don’t practice enough. My editor
once told me that I can be the best writer if I could start reading and writing more than I do. At
first I couldn’t understand what he meant but when I compared writing to exercising, I realized
that similar to gym writing requires focus and willingness to do it. When you exercise more it
often becomes easy to workout.
I always wonder how authors write and put together books containing hundreds of pages but I
am finally catching up with their trick. They don’t just write when they feel like it but they make
a habit of it, allowing them to write more than they think they could.
Writing usually takes me more time than it should but today I am thrilled that I got to write this
piece within 45 minutes. I always thought this was all impossible but now here I am and my
mission is accomplished. As I have embarked on a greatest journey of making writing a habit,
this is only the beginning and I am willing to put an effort without failing.
I am not used to taking myself upon challenges but this is the beginning of an adventure. I want
to explore the secret of greatness of best writing ever.