The Single Independent Mother

I have some saving tips from a single mother who is in her 40’s.  I think everyone will benefit from this post and I took this pretty seriously because she clearly has more years experience on raising a child single-handedly.  Take out your pen and paper…

  1. Cut your hair, imagine the amount of money you are spending on hairdos that you could be saving for better use for you and your child.
  2. Live within your means.
  3. Do not compare yourself with people who are married, they have a double income you only have one, stay in your lane.
  4. Save some money each month, it doesn’t matter how little, trust me it will go a long way.
  5. Do not buy on credit, especially clothes, save to pay everything with cash.
  6. Take a lunchbox to work with healthy home made meals or sandwiches.
  7. Make friends with women in a similar situation who understand your struggles better.
  8. Do what works for you, do not try to please anyone.
  9. Set targets for yourself and make sure you reach them, it might take time but eventually you will get there.
  10. Learn how to sew, simple things like replacing a button and hemming your pants will go a long way for your pocket.

If you live by most of these rules you might actually get round to going for that holiday you have been dying for!

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Photo Credit : @summer_rose_ (Instagram)

©MaKupsy 2017

Speak Things Into Existence

Believe me when I tell you that the universe pays attention when you speak.  Many moons ago I wished for a tall, good looking man who dressed up nice and would shower me with flowers; I have a serious weakness for them it’s insane.  I used to tell my colleagues almost everyday how my handsome prince would come for me and guess what, months down the line I was in a relationship with a guy who fit those specifications to a tee.   Like how was that even possible?

I remember this one time I tagged along when my friend when she was going to court.  I was heavily pregnant at the time and when I saw the women standing in line for Child Maintenance issues I said; “One day I will be standing in line too given the drama we are always going through with the father of my child”.  Again I tell you, the universe pays attention, I was in that exact same line 5 years later going through the most.  I spoke this into existence and I don’t even know why I was surprised when it actually happened.

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image from Pinterest

Thankfully, there are some pretty good things that have happened.  The one time I was going through pictures on the internet and wishing for a holiday.  Something about the Christmas holiday makes me feel like travelling.  I had my eyes on Cape Town and told myself it was going to happen and it did!  My sister is the best for making it happen and you should find yourself a sister just like her!

From my experience when it comes to self talk, the more positive things you say to yourself the better your experience outcomes.  When I started my fitness journey I was outspoken; most people didn’t understand how a “big” woman could have so much self love but they were never ready for the extra confidence that would come once I lost the weight.   I used to go for my runs without music just to have a chance to speak to myself and encourage myself throughout the run.  I would tell myself things like:

  • You’ve got this, just one more kilometer to go
  • Wait till you do your weigh in tomorrow and see how much work you have put in
  •  They are not ready for the after run photo I am going to post on Instagram
  • Who would have thought I would ever run 10K
  • The way I am smashing that cellulite on my thighs right now though
  • Girl you are on fire did you hear that pace on the voice over!

You see, all that self talk got me to push myself and my body to the limit.  Imagine if I had been telling myself negative things.  This body would have never come to life, it’s a pity I can’t show it to you, it’s still illegal to walk around naked this part of the world.

I have a whole list of other positive things that I have asked the universe to grant me after I realised she actually pays attention.  No more random negative thoughts because I certainly don’t want to end up in situations I will dearly regret.  Lately I ask for good health, success, financial security, a whole Land Rover Discovery (in red of course), to be the first Nike Woman in Zimbabwe and a rich husband.  Speak things into existence people!!

In whatever you do, be good to yourself.  Speak of all the beautiful things about yourself and those around you and the universe will also respond positively.

What are some of the things you speak into existence?  Have any of them come to life, care to share?

©MaKupsy 2017

Children Need Outdoor Play Too!

I realised last weekend that the only activity I manage to do with Miss Kupsy when I go home for the weekend in Marondera is go and grab a bite.  We usually settle for pizza and icecream because that is the ONLY take out place in the whole town.  When I bring her to Harare that is a completely different case because the options of things to do are countless.

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Image from Google

However, today my main concern is the lack of outdoor play areas for children in my hometown.  When I was growing up there was a functional swimming pool, a video game centre, a movie house, a tennis court, a basketball court and a park which actually had swings, slides the works!  Ask me what has happened to these play areas?  Well, the swimming pool since stopped working years ago, the video game centre is not used for that anymore, I am still to find out what is going on there, the movie house was turned into a bar, the tennis court now has people setting up stalls to sell second hand clothes, the basketball court is being used as an area to line laundry and the park… oh well; just another dump in town with no swings at all and a lot of litter.

It annoys me that whoever is responsible for town planning does not take the children in the community into consideration.  Where in the world are they supposed to play?  I mean, they can’t possibly stay indoors all day long, or play on the streets or around their house till kingdom come.  They obviously get tired just like everyone else and need a break and need to socialise with children their age.  And if you ask me this should be something that can be done without having to fork out a lot of money if any at all.  Imagine if all they are going to be exposed to is eating unhealthy take out?  I can just picture a whole bunch of adults suffering for weight issues in the near future…

The following points are (based on Wardle, 1996-2003) describe the main reasons why outdoor play is critical for the healthy development of young children.  I took a few points from the article.

Physical Exercise Children need to develop large motor and small motor skills and cardiovascular endurance.

Enjoyment of the Outdoors Outdoor play is one of the things that characterize childhood. And as Lord Nuffield once said, the best preparation for adulthood is to have a full and enjoyable childhood.

Learning about the World Outdoor play enables young children to learn lots and lots and lots of things about the world. How does ice feel and sound? Can sticks stand up in sand? How do plants grow? How does mud feel?

Learning about Self and the Environment To learn about their own physical and emotional capabilities, children must push their limits. Health Everyone who works with young children in early childhood programs and schools knows how quickly bacteria and viruses spread in these environments. One way to reduce the spread of infection is through lots and lots of fresh air.

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Definitely NOT in Marondera

Then you wonder why I am thoroughly upset with Marondera Town Council?  Do you see all those benefits of outdoor fun for children? It seems those in the powers that be do not have children as a part of their programme because if they did surely there would be at least ONE play area where children can just have a grand time.

Miss Kupsy loves the outdoors and I feel bad that the only open space she has to play is at home.  I hope someone addresses this  issue and something is done about it.  When I think back to my own childhood, some of their fondest memories are of outdoor places and activities I got up to (I will never forget the first time I fell off a tree trying to climb to the top) I hope Miss Kupsy and all the other children in the community do not get deprived of that opportunity. All children have the right to basic childhood needs…jumping, running, climbing, swinging, racing, yelling, rolling, hiding, and making a big mess,it is what childhood is all about!

©MaKupsy 2017

A Man’s View On The Single Mother

In a thousand words, I will touch a potentially sensitive subject in modern day Zimbabwe. This subject is about, single mothers whom we as Zimbabwean society have called M1’s or M2’s. The 1 or 2 suffix being the number of children they have. M1 is basically mother of one, but in Zimbabwe it generally points only to single mothers. However, a married mother of one is not referred to by that label.

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Image from Google

Once again our plastic republic has put these women in a category, so that they can treat them differently or judge them. Automatically if I were to have a relationship with an “M1’, my friends  and family would discourage me from so doing and speak so much evils about the group. Family may dis-own me. Yes, we have seen this happen. The question is; are they really less worthy than single girls with no children? Do childless girls necessarily make better wives than single mothers? I ask because a lot of girls in modern Zimbabwe are already indulging in sex outside marriage, they just haven’t got pregnant yet. They might escape it before marriage too but many are also doing it. So, society is going to condemn the ones that made a mistake one-day and got pregnant?

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Image from Google

In modern Zimbabwe, a girl not having a child is not consistent with her being decent and Holy. Having a child does not make her evil either.  Have you ever thought that  an “M1” you condemn so much has done less damage than the “K1”. What do I mean by “K1”? “K1”- is a term I am using to say “Killer Of One”. While society and families are dumping garbage talk on the strong queens that decided to keep their babies, despite their fathers bailing out, there are those that seem not to have children because they did abortions. So Mr. I Judge M1’s before you go around judging single mothers and feeling special about your girlfriend not having a child. I want to tell you that in modern Zimbabwe, there is a possibility of your girl having had an abortion at one time especially if you found her already sexually active. (I am not saying she had one either, but it’s possible)

So here’s scenario 1; Janet is having a sexual relationship with Jack, they conceive a baby. Jack doesn’t want in, he tells her to abort. She aborts the child, so by the time I meet Janet; she’s not an M1 to me. I have no idea what happened. Deep inside only she knows what happened. She doesn’t hope to do it again, but she could do it again.

Scenario 2: Alice is dating Jack, they conceive a baby. Jack doesn’t want in, he tells her to abort. She refuses to abort and Jack says he wants nothing to do with the baby or her. He says uncalculated cruel statements like, “Kana ariwangu murutse undipe,” (If the child is mine, vomit him/her and give me). She is hurt but keeps her baby. I meet that girl and think she has an amazing personality (you must have an amazing personality to keep your child in a judgmental society).

However society will not agree that she is amazing because she has a baby. Society will try and make me see Janet and say, “Why don’t you choose Janet instead? Do you not see that Alice is an M1?” The decision making is made harder for me now, because society is armed with daggers. There’s also a father out there whose child I have to carry the cross for. Let me say, to all those man, that have taken this load upon then, may there be increase in your daily work. To the men that refuse to sustain their own seed and further pressure our queens, if the law does not catch up with you, may you lose out on all the money you refuse to pay for the welfare of your child.

“Did you just curse them Michael?”  Oh so someone is going to see the evil in my curse to them, but they do not see the evil in society making girls that kept their children feel unworthy?

I applaud all the women that are the mothers and fathers of their children but hang on, work hard and have changed their perspective of life. Except for a few single mothers, those are some of the most hardworking women I’ve known. The family throws piles or verbal rot onto them daily behind closed doors. They silently cry and wake up knowing no one else seems to love their children and only they can go out there to get bread for the children. They have drama with the father over taking care of his own child in some instances; they still take that torture, get up and work hard.

This plastic society pressures girls that are already pregnant, to opt for “K1”. She is going to pay an unethical doctor large sums of money with the aid of the father, who is not ashamed to perform this act. They destroy that child’s life. Now all the activists that support abortion, hide behind the “what if she was raped” excuse, yet the average abortion happening in Zimbabwe is a product of sex given by consent. No matter how many daggers society will stab you with for having that child out of wedlock don’t be pressured to take your child’s life. Life is at conception. The only proven way to escape the trouble is abstinence before marriage, which most of you ridicule. It holds no regrets though in this type of society.

If there is a single mother in your immediate community whom you have been holding judgmental daggers to, may that attitude change from henceforth. In fact go an extra mile in appreciating her to compensate for the life sentence she has been given by society and her own relatives. If you’re a man and you think she’s a good woman, regardless her past, marry her.

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Image from Google

Let’s have this conversation on Twitter, follow me @Mcpotar

You can also check out my website www.mcpotar.com

 

©MaKupsy 2017

Expectations of the Zimbabwean Woman

Sometimes I feel our culture expects too much from a woman.  We are taught to accept certain things as “normal” and not question them.  Take infidelity for example.  The moment a wife finds out her husband is cheating or has a small house trying to confide in his or her relatives can prove to be fruitless because most times she is told that’s what men do.  Today I will touch on relationships in our society.

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Image from Google

 

There are so many different cases of unimaginable things happening around Zimbabwe lately.  One of the articles that I read recently shocked the lights out of me. A woman killed her husband over a text message.  If you read the story at first glance you just tell yourself this woman be crazy!  But when you really think about it; it was probably not about the messages.  I would like to think there is a story behind this story; you just don’t wake up and decide today I am going to kill my husband for no reason.  Chances are her spirit had been broken beyond repair because of issues that hadn’t been dealt with within the marriage and a whole lot of bullshit she had to endure as a woman.  Remember I told you that our culture just tells you to accept things that a man does and go with the flow; now see where that kind of thinking leads to?  A man will cheat, he will beat up his partner, he will have a love child and even bring the child to his matrimonial home, he will leave his family for another woman and what is the woman told?? SHINGA NDOZVAVANOITA VARUME!! (be strong that’s what men do).

I asked a few people whose names will obviously remain anonymous why they chose to stay in abusive relationships even though they could see they were in an unhealthy relationship.

  • They were promised heaven on earth
  • They had low self esteem
  • They enjoyed the attention they got from their partner even though it was the wrong kind of attention
  • They thought he will change and become a better person
  • He promised he would never do it again
  • They stayed because that’s what they knew and were used to
  • Their partner threatened to commit suicide if they decided to leave
  • They stayed because of the children involved in the union
  • They stayed because they worried about what people would think
  • They stayed because they did not want to be alone

I have been in a toxic relationship before and trust me at the time chances are you don’t see that this person is actually abusing you especially if it’s emotional abuse.  Do not even ask me about the process of reporting to the police after an abusive incident, what a joke!  I ended up feeling like I was the one who committed the crime.  Then I tried to go to Musasa Project to try and get some counselling but the queues were long and I waited for half a day on both occasions I tried to go there until I just gave up.  I ended up dealing with the abuse on my own because clearly there was nowhere else to turn to…

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Image from Google

Okay, back to the story at hand.   It’s only after you leave that you realise things could have gone pretty bad if you had decided to soldier on.  I learnt my lesson though, I know that the moment I see any signs of abuse I will walk out and fast I won’t even second guess my decision.  I remember the night my then boyfriend beat the life out of me like it happened yesterday…I stay at a flat with 30 units and even though I screamed and cried for help not a single person came to my rescue.  Do you see another worrisome thing in our society?  Our society does not want people interfering in things that don’t concern them so someone will probably get beaten to death and the neighbours wont say a word or intervene because “it’s none of their business.”

The people who contributed to this post also had a few lessons to share.

  1. He taught me that staying with an abuser is just letting them know it’s okay to get angry and lash out with physical violence they won’t stop.  Your best bet is to leave before something worse happens.
  2. The moment three or four people highlight that your partner is abusive take a step back and look at your relationship from their point of view.  Sometimes outsiders see what you are going through with clear eyes.
  3. People must at least try to intervene when they see a problem.
  4. “Being strong” is not the answer to every problem, people need to sit down and talk about their issues and concerns.

A few weeks ago I noticed that Njabulo wrote a status on Facebook asking why women do not leave abusive relationships.  You can read more from here.

After all is said and done all I can say is we are all human beings and we should always consider how our actions will affect the next person.  Do not go around doing things that will hurt the next person just because you know society will allow you to get away with it.

Have a heart!

©MaKupsy 2017

Life As A Single Mother In Zimbabwe

Being a woman, Being a black woman, Being a black woman in Zimbabawe – MaKupsy 2017

Good morning my darlings, this is a post from last year that I feel needs to be read by anyone who missed it.  Below, a Zimbabwean woman shared her story.

From the onset please note that this is an account of my experiences and does not in any way speak for all single mothers in Zimbabwe. I had my first baby at 16. I was still in school. I got pregnant again at 18 while I was doing my final year of High School “A level”.  Don’t ask how…It’s a story for another day.

Life at School Amazingly I never faced any judgement or shaming.  Maybe it was because I had left the school by the time I started showing.   I started showing very late during the pregnancy and by then had been moved to a school closer to home. But even in the new school everyone was amazingly okay with it and I even went on to do my A Level with no hassle. So being in school as a single mum was not so bad.

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Image from Google

 

Life in Church My family church is Anglican. They were not as accommodating; and for church people, looking back, I feel they were too judgemental. Since I was no longer a virgin, I did not qualify for Saint Agnes Guild nor did I qualify for Mothers’ Union because firstly I was too young, and secondly I was unmarried. But as I grew older, I still could not be part of the Mother’s Union because I was unmarried. Even getting my kids baptised was a hassle. They told me they can’t baptise kids whose fathers are “unknown”. You see, my baby daddies have never seen their kids hence I don’t include their names on the kids’ documentation. They are not even on the birth certificates. My kids finally got baptised at age 12 and 9 after one church elder, a woman; made so much noise about it and threatened to take the issue further up to the Bishop. But over ally, the church never accepted me after my teenage pregnancies. I have since stopped going to Anglican.

Life at home From the onset let me say God blessed me with two amazing parents who took my kids in and looked after them as if they were their own. But it was a different case for my mother and me.  She never quite forgave me for the shame I brought on her by getting pregnant twice. I did the unforgivable in her eyes! Life at home was bed of nails. I became the proverbial slut. After all, according to my mother; the reason none of the guys married me was most probably because I was a slut. It had to be my fault.  It never occurred to her that maybe it was just them who failed to man up.  As a result anything that went wrong in the home was my fault. If she needed someone to lash out at, that was me.  My own sister was warned to keep her husband away from me lest I try and snatch him from her. At the worst of times I was accused of sleeping with my father. You see, he is a very forgiving man who will not continuously punch you for one transgression. He believes in moving on. My mother never understood why he never chased me away from home as is expected by society.  She never understood why he still enjoyed spending time with me watching soccer, generally spending father daughter quality time puzzled her after all the shame I had caused. She never accepted that he would continue to treat me the same way he treated my siblings despite all I had done to the family name.  As a result she felt my father was looking at me as a ‘woman’ not as his daughter and because I was loose, I was hell bent on sleeping with her man too. The day she made her feelings known was the first time I moved out of home with my children. For the record, my father never acted inappropriately towards me ever.   After moving out, she was on my case to comeback since the same society was judging her about my leaving home. I went back, I was still in Varsity. But the emotional and verbal torture would only get worse as I got older. I would always be reminded of how much of an inconvenience I was to my family.   The upside of all this you may ask?  It pushed me to work very hard and make a life for my kids and me. Though my older daughter is currently undergoing therapy to undo the damage caused by hearing and witnessing everything I suffered in my own mother’s house. The list is endless, I could write a whole book about my experience at home as a single mother. It was pure hell on earth.

Life among society in general I am grateful for my few true friends. They’ve kept me sane throughout the years.  As for dating, it was hard to find a man who would take me seriously. The moment they hear single mother, they think you are easy, just to be taken for a ride and have no feelings whatsoever.  They are mostly married men by the way.  As for the single guys; they would not touch me with a ten foot pole!  Extended family would throw a fit if their husbands came anywhere near me.  My sister didn’t like the idea of her husband and me getting close. Then there were those who would label me without even knowing me. I was accepted by only a few members of society Fast forward to today >>> I currently live in South Africa with my daughters. I feel at home because no one ever judged me on the basis of being a single mother. I am currently engaged to a single guy who has no kids. Imagine that! Who would have thought my story would have a happy ending?  I have finally found a place were no snide remarks will be made after I’m asked “So where is your husband”? And I say I don’t have one with confidence and no need to explain my circumstances. I can truly comfortably be me!

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Image from Google

Conclusion Zimbabwe is still a long way from being a good place for single mothers. We get called all sorts of names and M1 (Mother Of One) has to be the worst term ever to come up with. I wish our society could progress beyond all that judgment and realize that just because someone is a mother, has children and not married it does not make her any less of a woman.

I would like to say a big thank you to the beautiful woman who shared this story with me. This story reminds me that us single parents should not despair, there is hope for a beautiful future ahead.

MaKupsy© 2017

I Want To Raise My Daughter Differently

Compliments of the new season!  We made it alive and in good health, that is the one gift that I am forever grateful for.  This year I have so many things lined up in different aspects of my life but today I will be sharing my thoughts on how I want to raise Miss Kupsy.  She is 5 years old now and I feel getting her to believe in herself from a very young age will do wonders for her as she gets older.

Effective parents give children roots to grow and wings to fly.

Hobbies

My daughter loves her music.  She will sing along to Nickelodeon, Disney Junior and the whole bunch of songs and jingles they play on there.  Let’s not even start with music videos.  She likes that J.Lo Track “Ain’t Your Momma” but her version of the chorus leaves me in stitches all the time because she sings it as “I’m not going to cook your laundry I ain’t your momma!”  She clearly doesn’t know what she is singing along to but gosh does she dance and sing away like the care free child that she is.  You see, because she loves music I have made sure that I have bought her musical instruments.  I got her a flute and tambourine.  Her grandparents got her a drum, my sister got her a guitar for Christmas just a few weeks back.  When I spoke to her this morning she was telling me she wants a Marimba set.   I want her to explore her musical path and enjoy her hobby.  You never know what will fire her soul as she grows so I might as well fuel it right now.

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Miss Kupsy

Career

The time I grew up you didn’t have much choice when it came to what you wanted to be when you grow up.  The options were limited.  You were either supposed to be a Doctor, Pilot or Accountant in order to have “made it in life” so you can imagine how the rest of us possibly disappointed our parents seeing that we didn’t fulfill their expectations.  I am a creative person and none of those titles were going to blend in with me.  Unfortunately I only got to find this out when I was older and had already studied something I didn’t like but something that would pay the bills at least.  When it comes to my daughter I want her to choose her own path.  Of course I will give her input on the available options at the time but ultimately the decision will be hers to make because she will be the one who will have to study and eventually work in that field.  Her happiness will always come first.

Self Confidence

Most parents have that “You can’t do this” mentality which I find pretty disturbing.  I mean, this is your child, why are you stopping them from greatness?  You parent(s) should be your biggest cheer leaders.  Even if you fail they should be right there to remind you that you can always try again.  I want to teach and always remind Miss Kupsy that she needs to know the extent of her own abilities and that she can overcome problems in the world, she just needs to put in the time and the effort to make it happen.

Relationships and Marriage

By relationships I don’t mean just the romantic relationships. I am talking about how she will relate to her friends, family, school mates, teachers and at some point in her life her partner.  My daughter is naturally a fun loving little person who finds joy in giving.  I remember buying her ice cream the other day and she shared it with three of her friends and yet when they had theirs they didn’t offer her a single bite.  A part of me wanted to tell her to not share but then again that’s out of character for her so I just called her aside and asked her to sit next to me while she at least had the half that was left.  I didn’t know how to tackle this one.  If I told her to not give her friends then I was teaching her not to share but at the same time if I didn’t she wasn’t going to eat any of that ice cream. What would you have done?

That said; I want her to always know that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.  I want her to be able to show love, to pray for discernment when it comes to the partner and friends she will choose.  To show respect to everyone and their feelings regardless of their age.  To say thank you, I’m sorry and I love you.  With these things I strongly feel she will grow to be of strong character.

I also don’t want to be that doting mother, she must learn to be independent as well.  With independence I want her to know that she does not have to get married.  She can if she wants to but I will not put pressure on her to do so.  I will teach her that life will go on whether one is married or not and if that will be one of the things she wants she has to remember that. I will love her all the same whether she will be single, married, divorced, whatever her marital status what will always matter to me is that she is happy.

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That said, I have a lot more things I would want to talk about but this is my first blog post for the year and I would want you to come back for more so I will leave it here for now.  If you would like to read more adventures my daughter gets up to you can read them from here.

I would like to hear from you.  If you are a parent, how are you doing things differently raising your child?  If you are planning on having kids how do you intend to have an impact on them?  If you don’t have any kids how do you help those around you raise their kids?  I know I left a handful of other points so please include some of yours in the comments section.

Let’s talk.

©MaKupsy

Judge Not!

I got this message from my friend Tillo a few weeks ago and I thought I would share it here.  I don’t know who wrote this but I think this might help a lot of us to think before we start judging those around us.

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Image from Google

Let’s bear in mind before we judge…

Not everyone wants to get married

Not everyone wants to have children

Some people cannot have children

Some people are not married because of circumstances

Some peoples are religious some are not

We need to accept that it is okay and that

doesn’t make them less human  

We are all different with  different views, goals and aspirations

stick to what’s yours and stop trying to understand why X and O does not do such

You don’t know what heavy burden one is carrying.

©MaKupsy 2016

My ONE and only…

“To have a happy kid, I figure I need to be a happy mother, and to be a happy mother, I need to be a happy person.” Lauren Sandler

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Miss Kupsy at 3 months 🙂

I have really thought this through, and I am happy to only have one child, Miss Kupsy.  Most people will say it is selfish of me to make such a decision but that’s what I want.  (To them I say feel free to make more babies for yourself, whatever makes you happy works for me) Everyone around me is always telling me that she needs a sibling but to be honest, I feel that she will do just fine on her own, she is an independent little diva.  Growing up I remember I used to say to myself, “If I ever have children I will have two, one or none.”  And here I am with one and that will not be changing anytime soon.  A lot of realities have sunk in after having Miss Kupsy and it is probably for the best that I found out sooner rather than later.  Maybe sometime in the years to come I will change my mind but as it stands I stand firm on the decision on not going through child bearing again in an attempt to give Miss Kupsy a sibling.  Here are my reasons why I have no plans of going through this again:

  • Worrying to death, when you become a mother worrying becomes second nature, well, at least for me.  I worry if I am being a good mother, if I am not spoiling her too much, if she is okay at preschool, if she is going to get better when she gets sick, if I will be able to take her to the good grade school I heard about, worry about what will happen to her if anything ever happened to me.
  • Labour is NO JOKE.
  • I can’t afford to have another child, the amount of MONEY that comes with a child is nothing I even want to start all over again, the diapers, the formula, tjo!
  • I will not be able to give two children everything they need so let’s just stick to one and give her the best of everything.
  • I don’t want to go through severe morning sickness for 3 solid months.
  • It will ruin the body I have been working so damn hard for!
  • The sleepless nights…no one prepares you for that…
  • Breast feeding; my breasts were always engorged.  I will spare you the inside details about when they started cracking and eventually bleeding.
  • Finally, I do not have the energy to start all over again, it works on all aspects of your being, mind, body and soul and frankly speaking I just have enough energy to cater for one child.

That said, I will add on more reasons why I prefer having an only child to my list when more come up.  As it is I am beyond happy and at peace with only having to take care of Miss Kupsy, I doubt if I would ever cope if I had to cater for two children.  It already feels like she is out there running around with my heart, imagine having two of them.  Will I be able to love them the exact same way?  Will my heart be able to handle being divided between two children?  I will probably never know hey because it’s one child only for this mother.

I would like to hear your views on being an only child if you are one, or if you are a mother who also plans on having one child.

©MaKupsy 2016

Shona Lobola Procedures

Roora (Lobola/Dowry)

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A man marrying a woman from the Shona culture has to observe the roora. This is a sign or show of love and affection when a man saves up and marries his beloved. There are many ways this can be done but I will dwell on the general procedures followed on the following condition  The man has done all the other necessities e.g. proposing (not musengabere, kutizisa), formal Introductions (dated for over 6 months) and more importantly girl is not pregnant (damage) or previously been married (virgin?).  In Zimbabwe, roora takes place in a number of stages and each stage has its own traditions and small amounts to pay. The process can differ from place to place due to the fact that in the Shona culture there are 12 different ethnic groups.

Stage One – Introduction

This stage involves the ‘munyayi’ who is a go-between when a man goes to pay the bride price at his future wife’s family stating to the family his intentions and purpose of visit e.g. “I have been sent by (the husband) to look for Sadza” , literally translated to I have come to marry your daughter (name). Here they are asked who they mean. Once this is done the bride’s family will ask the daughter if she knows the people who have come to marry her.

Stage two – Grocery

A list is given to the groom prior the ceremony, this will be a list of groceries required to bring to the family. The items are then checked and should match that on the original list for example, if its 5kg of sugar he should bring exactly that and not less.  Adhering to the stated requirements of the new in-laws is a show of respect from the new son-in-law. It is often advisable to do exactly as stated or better, to ensure smooth relations between the newly united families. Some families are more tolerant than others; A LOT of tolerance is needed as this is not a money making ceremony.

Stage Three – Preparations for payment

At this stage the bride’s family will ask for ‘ndiro’ normally a wooden plate from the munyayi and if he has brought one he would present it. This (the plate); in the past used to be provided by the bride’s family but since some people began charging for them some go with their own wooden plates.  Once the plate has been placed a process known as ‘sunungura homwe’ (loosening pockets) or ‘Vhuramuromomo’ (meaning opening of mouth) where a small fee is paid to for the greeting of the guests. At this stage some fines may be imposed.  For instance if the groom failed to meet an earlier date even if he notified the bride’s family well in advance and any other misdemeanours he might have done, These however should done with humour and laughter just to make the ‘munyayi’ feel at home and comfortable.

Stage Four–Payments

The process of Roora negotiations can be long and complex, and involves many members from both the bride’s and the groom’s extended families so these days due to our busy nature in some parts it being shortened and made less complex. The payment stage has quite a many stages which can even take days to complete. These are now grouped in two main sub processes which are:-

1.    Zvireverere zvaBaba (Gifts for the father)

This stage involves payment that are direct from the bride’s father (a guardian or representative can accept charge for these if the paternal father is deceased or not known) which in the old days had a lot of very long sub-processes and has been shortened. The main payment is the ‘Matekenyandebvu’ to acknowledge him for “the pulling of the beard” as she sat on his knee, or putting up with the playful antics of his daughter as a child. The amount paid for the father is negotiable.

2.    Zvireverere zvaMai (Gifts for the mother)

Same as the process above the payment are strictly for the bride’s mother (a guardian or representative can accept charge for these if the maternal father is deceased or not known).

The gifts for the mother of the bride in the old days included things like ‘mbereko’, for carrying the bride in a pouch or sling when she was a baby, and ‘mafukidzadumbu’ for covering of the belly; this is alternately translated as “carrying the baby in the womb” or “tucking the baby in with a blanket (when she wakes in the night)”. These are now charged under this blanket term due to the complexity of the past processes as well as the fact that people may have even forgotten exactly the names of the processes. The amount paid for the mother is non-negotiable.

Stage Five – Mbudzi yedare (yemachinda) Goat

This is a live goat that is brought by the man and is slaughtered during the payment process. The whole goat is then cooked and made ready to be served after the completion of the ceremony. If they don’t bring a goat a payment will be asked for and this money is shared equally between all the boys available at the household (usually can cause a lot of commotion if the amount is not even).

Stage Six – Musikana/Tete (Gifts for the bride)

The woman being married is required to pick some money from the plate for herserlf.  This money in some places can be set by the aunt or the woman’s sister. This is a small allowance for ’Mari inonhongwa nemusihare’ for the purchase of household or cooking utensils, and this amount is given to the bride. If there are younger sisters or siblings, she may give them a portion of the money. This money is for all the cooking that would have taken place for the party which the groom will finance after the ceremony is concluded. Usually this money can be returned by the woman to her future husband to cover the other payment that would follow.

Stage Seven – Rusambo (Roora, Dowry)

This is the most important stage called “Rusambo” and although the above process is referred to or called “roora”, this is the name given to the whole ceremony and all of the gifts, not just the bride price or dowry. Paying Roora is called ‘kubvisa pfuma’, giving (or parting with) wealth. Roora is wealth and its quantum must be consistent with wealth. This stage can only be reached if the stages mentioned above have been fulfilled. The bride price varies and nowadays factors in things like the social class of both the groom and the bride. This however can be paid as a part payment as long as some form of payment is made. For illustration purposes maybe the above processes may have cost the groom $1400 and he had only brought $2000 it is accepted for him to pay $600.00 and then the rest will follow for the next twenty years. If the groom fails to come up with any part payment then the whole process becomes null and void and will have to be started again at a later date and he will not be give his bride.

Stage eight – Danga (Livestock)

This stage traditionally is a gift of cattle and nowadays it is most commonly paid in cash, although the amounts will still be representative of fair market price for cattle.  Normally the number is between seven to eight cows and in those the most important one is the one for the mother known as ‘mombe yeumai.’ This should always be a live cow that the groom gives to the mother in law.  The cow is expected to produce an offspring as proof that the union has been blessed, also our belief the most powerful ancestors that protect us are the maternal ones.  ’Mudzimu wamai ukadambura mbereko’ (if maternal spirits let go) spells disaster.  To keep these spirits happy and attentive there is need to follow the ‘mombe yeumai’ protocol to the letter.  To to give ‘mombe yeumai’ is to acknowledge this spiritual symbolism. Once the offspring is weaned it is then expected that the cow can be slaughtered by the bride’s family and eaten by both families just as thanks giving and strengthening both the couple’s relationship as well as the family as a whole.  This will take place after two to five years. This stage is dependent on the Rusambo stage and if Rusambo is not available then they cannot proceed to this current stage.  In old times ‘pfuma/roora’ consisted of cattle, ’mapadza’ (symbolic iron hoes) and ‘machira’ (imported cloth) as indicative of a rich agricultural community.

Stage Nine – Majasi (Clothes)

This stage also dependent on the Rusambo stage.  It is the gift of clothes that the groom is expected to buy for his in-laws. As stated after Rusambo has been paid and the bride’s family are happy the groom and his party will then be invited and welcomed into the family ‘Kupinzwa mumusha’, the groom will then greet the in-laws as a new groom (no longer a prospective groom or stranger, but a member of the family) with the special traditional clapping greeting ‘Gusvi’ and is permitted to be a part of the household. At this stage he will be given a list of items of clothing that both the mother and father require normally full attire from top to bottom.

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N.B Lobola Groceries vary from family to family but the standard grocery list is:

Cartons or boxes of:

Rice
Hupfu
Meat
Cooking oil
Tissues
Soap
Drinks
Flour

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Photo Credit: Blessing Mutinhiri

 

This article was written by Richard Chashamba Thank you very much for the information you shared with me, I hope someone will have a clear view of what the Shona Lobola Procedures comprise of and not be in the dark like I was.  This was very a very insightful article.

© MaKupsy