But Are You Fuckable Though?

They’ve been called ‘toenails of Satan’ and ‘trash’ but I still believe there’s a remnant of men who are genuinely clueless about how to live in harmony and be in fulfilling, life-affirming partnerships with women. I believe there are men who are so confused by the speed at which women are evolving and healing that they just don’t know how to be men in relation to these goddesses. Just yesterday a woman was no more than property (thanks, colonialism) and now women are saying “I’d rather be single than deal with a man’s bullshit.” Men don’t even know what that “bullshit” is, leaving both sexes frustrated and flailing in the dark. Men have been left behind and just don’t understand why women are choosing singledom over them.
Here’s the thing they don’t understand: most self-respecting women would rather be single than tie themselves to unfuckable men. After all, “self love” is a thing. Pun intended.

If you’re a man who wants to be fuckable to high value women, here’s what you need to know (and apply).

How To Be Fuckable


1. Desire her. Not “a woman.” Her. Few things (in context) are more appealing to a woman who fucks men than a man who wants to be fuckable to her and is not only willing but able to prove it.

2. Make her laugh. Trust me on that. The thing is, it’s a “learn as you go” situation because different women find different things funny. A man might make one woman laugh and leave the next one wondering if he shouldn’t be committed. If you want her, make her laugh, and you’re in there like swimwear.

3. Turn her the fuck on. What turns her on? Well, refer to point 1. If you desire a particular woman you must invest time into getting to know her. If you don’t want to put in the time and the work of figuring out what moves her, then you don’t want her, you’re not the man for her, and you should move along.

4. Be lovable. When they choose to, women can love unreservedly. If you don’t want to be loved and/or if all you want in your “romantic” pursuits is no-strings-attached sex, then quality women often can’t fuck with you, literally and metaphorically. It takes more than a smile and a wink to get them nekkid. A lot more. The kind of woman I’m talking about desires a commitment to co-creation so she’ll decline offers for sex or partnership if she perceives that the man making the offer is a liar, cheater, user, abuser, or other unsavoury type. She can create and manifest the life she desires without a man and she knows it, so if she’s going to make room for a man in her already juicy life, he must enhance her experience of the world and be willing to have his enhanced by her. He must be open to receiving the gifts she has for the man who is able to receive her love: he must be lovable or she’ll keep it moving.

5. Be a provider and a protector. A self-actualizing woman will find it nearly impossible to maintain attraction for men who bring nothing to the table except swangin’ dycke. For 9/10 women (study conducted by yours truly) money is a love language, but a man who brings nothing but money is often viewed the same way as the man who brings nothing but dick i.e., both are undesirable. Healthy, high-value women are refusing to settle for less than the full package which includes (but is not limited to) money, sex, holistic wellness and wellbeing, and authenticity around matters of mutual desire. Refer to point 1. In addition, this kind of woman can’t fuck with a man she doesn’t respect and since she can feed, house and clothe herself, a man who wants to be fuckable to a high-calibre woman must step all the way up as a provider and protector. “The basics” alone just wont cut it.

But what does she bring to the table, feminized men and masculinized women will ask? Listen. Men are not women and women are not men and if you don’t know the difference then this isn’t the blog for you. I will say this though: quality women may use gigolos but they don’t allow them access to the magic. The magic is reserved for the fuckable ones and I guess the question is, but are you fuckable though?

Being fuckable to quality women isn’t really complicated; this thing is simple. The self-development world puts it this way: be the person you want to attract. If you’re not ‘pulling’ the high calibre women you want it’s not because they don’t exist, it’s because you’re not fuckable to them. The problem is not women, it’s you. You’re not fuckable to quality women. When you become a better man and have the 5 fuckability factors on lock, you’ll find your goddess and not only that, you’ll know how to keep her. It’s not rocket science.

From Bulawayo To The World

From Bulawayo To The World

Listen,  I’m not gon’ lie. I know you’re gon’ say it’s because I have a thing for men from Bulawayo but Vusa Mkhaya‘s just-released Ngiyabonga Mina feels like a love letter from a man who wants you to know what he’s about before he shows you just what he can do. For the record, I have a thing for myself. Men from Byo are just the masculine version of me, get it? Ok.

I wish I was the kind of person who could write about melodies and rhythm, about beats and pitch, give metronome detail and write intelligently about the technicalities of music, but I’m not. I’m just a girl from Bulawayo who believes in sharing beautiful things. Listen to me when I tell you that this track is a beautiful thing and you need it in your life.

My love for Bulawayo’s floss with music is why I wrote about this track, and why I made this commentary. It’s why I wrote this rebuttal when a certain mag came for Awa Khiwe.

I really wanted to write about this one too but Thembi Terry did such a good job there really was no need for me to add my two cents. Yes I do expect you to click all those links and explore what you find there.

So what is it about this track? In a word, everything.

This is Bulawayo in song, a love letter from Bulawayo to Bulawayo. You probably think I’m saying that for dramatic effect but I promise you, I’m not.

Something about this track will remind my generation of that old Bulawayo vibe when Christmas was ikhisimusi yamaqini and going to the Trade Fair was a family event until you were old enough for Luna Park with your boyfriend. It’s nostalgic and current, vibey and yet it feels like a comfort blanket because listen, this man knows what he’s doing. If you don’t believe me, check out his other music on Spotify. He’s probably on iTunes too but I wouldn’t know because Apple fanboys and the dictatorship that is Apple are yet to recruit me to the dark side. Yes, I said it. Fight yourself. But back to Ngiyabonga Mina…

Vusa Mkhaya http://www.mkhaya.net/

I don’t know if Mkhaya kaNdlovu knows about Christmas and Trade Fair like lok’shin culture knows about those things, but I do now that he knows Bulawayo and her people and that he’s given that most beautiful of cities a shout-out of note, and I’m here for it. You should be too.

What I’m saying is, if you know about Bulawayo, you know. If you don’t know worry not, because Ngiyabonga Mina is a love letter and like all well-written love letters, you don’t have to be the addressee to understand it and appreciate it. Just click play, fam. Thank me later or better yet, share this track with a friend and tag our new fav himself.

The lyrics, the IsiNdebele (yes fam, modern nomenclature for Nguni languages demands that the Isi is always capitalized), the collaborative energy, and above all the definitive statements that Bulawayo and her diaspora can strongly relate to – Nkos’ yami, you all already know I’m a sucker for all these things.

My favourite part of Ngiyabonga Mina comes at the 3:21 mark: “From Bulawayo to the world, angesabi lutho. Ng’hamba loNkulunkulu wami, ngihamba laba phansi...”

Jesus be some self-control, dammit mani. I’m over here fan-girling at my big age!

I don’t know about you but it’s the BDE for me. I’d break that down for you but this post is already too long. I’m nothing if not considerate of my readers.

First of all, don’t come for Awa unless she sends for you

First of all, don’t come for Awa unless she sends for you

I saw an article titled ‘Byo Arts Awards: Why Awa Missed Out.’ How’s that for a click-bait title? You won’t know that that’s what it is until you read the article and discover that it’s not so much an objective analysis of Bulawayo’s awards season and Awa’s standing thereof, but a rather thinly-veiled attempt to achieve relevancy by coming for Awa with snarky jibes and not much else – and doing so with spectacularly bad sentence construction and questionable grammar. To whoever wrote that piece, don’t come for Awa unless she sends for you, futhi khipha ibizo lakhe emlonyeni wakho.

Awa Khiwe
source: chronicle.co.zw

The title of the article states that Awa ‘missed out’ on a nomination for a BA award. Like anyone with a basic grasp of English Literacy would, I assumed the article would be about the unfairness of the process, or that it would detail some technicality or other that put her out of the running, or expose shenanigans in the upper echelons of the awarding body…you know, something useful or at the very least, relevant. Imagine my surprise (read: dismay) when I got to this sentence: “I would have loved to see her name on the nominees list, but she had no music for submission.”

Dear Editor of Fokus. If Awa had no music for submission then what, exactly, is this drivel article about???

Now, here’s where shit gets real. See, I read that article and since the title was misleading af I got to thinking – what was the desired goal here? I’m not a regular reader of Fokus because I’m not in these entertainment streets like that, but what I know about the article in question is that it reeks of misogyny and a thirst for clicks.

There was absolutely no need to bring Awa into a discussion about the awards since, according to the article, she had no music available for consideration. If the writer wanted to write about their longing for something fresh from her, there’s a way to do that and this aint it, fam. This ain’t it. I suggest he/she/they ask the Navy how to lovingly submit a request for new music: RiRi hasn’t released anything in half a century. In the meantime: khipha ibizo likaAwa emlonyeni wakho. Asikufuni khonokho. Int’ oyenzayo s’yayizonda. Insert other Proudly Bulawayo demands for better behaviour here.

It’s all fun and games and “nothing personal” until your words are examined for intent and it becomes clear that you’re clout-chasing, whoring for clicks, and throwing lowkey shade for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with supporting Awa’s art. Not that everyone has to support her but dammit, if you’re going to claim you love her at least let your commentary reflect that.
Whoever wrote this needs to do better and no, we’re not fooled by the “she’s family” line. Sibadala.
The Editor of Fokus needs to do better, too. This article should never have been run under this headline, or at all.
Lingangiphikisi liyangikhwezela iBP.

P.S. There’s no link to the article in question. That’s deliberate. We do not reward poor behaviour.

Salani lalokhu. Click the play button.

We Are All Zanu By Association

We Are All Zanu By Association

The most interesting thing this week has been watching zanu beneficiaries post Barry Lungu’s artwork and attach emotive posts like they don’t benefit from zanu privilege.

If Zimbabweans REALLY want change we must align our personal interactions with our politics.

Because the personal is political.

It’s crying emojis on social media and kiki’ing and high-fives at home because home is only standing thanks to zanu.

zanu is not some ephemeral, untouchable force of evil, zanu is people.

Before tweeting about change, what have you done to advocate for change with the people you call family and friends? Before you answer that let me remind you that words mean nothing. Action is what counts. Who must do that work?

zanu is you not holding your circle accountable and instead actually benefitting from the corruption and oppression of others. Ever wonder how that friend always ends up in the VIP section at national events with a per diem allowance in US$, or how that NGO stays getting funding and government contracts? You don’t wonder because you know it’s thanks to alignment with zanu, and you don’t really care except on social media or when it’s trendy to perform outrage as it is now.

zanu is tweeting with one hand and receiving zanu largesse with the other.

zanu is complaining about zanu policies to your zanu lover while making love with him in your zanu-funded house after he comes back from his zanu job.

zanu ain’t going nowhere because zanu is us.

All of us.

When you say #zanumustgo but also keep zanu close because well that’s my family, or that’s how I get those tenders and contracts and how else would my business survive if I don’t do business with zanu, what kind of change do you really want and how do you think it will come?

Which zanu must go when you are zanu?

We see you but we don’t judge you because you are us and because idla lapho ebotshelwe khona. But respect us. Just shut up, sit on your typey fingers and eat that zanu blood money quietly.

Zanu is going nowhere. We are zanu and zanu is us.

Khokhela Sambe Nyongolo

Khokhela Sambe Nyongolo

Bulawayo is telling truths only these days kanti kusani? I’m here for it. Khokhela sambe we Nyongolo, mbabazane eyahaqaza amabhunu lasemasendeni, okwatsho imbongi.

I swear I don’t go looking for these things, they come to me.

I believe this is called a bridge? Kumbe yi chorus?

The first time I saw this Facebook ad I ignored it because there’s a lot going on and I didn’t have the capacity to deal with ‘Mthwakazi’ rhetoric, which is what I expected from a track titled Nyongolo.

The next time it came up on my feed I ignored it again. Guiltily, because #cityofkings, and because this post is still fresh however, no capacity.

Third time’s the charm though because I finally clicked the SoundCloud link and…

Listen. Click here to hear the full track.

Angilawo amanengi ngoba uDoni (uNgudoni? Kuthwani?) uqede konke.

It’s one of those tracks that makes you want to Google the lyrics so you can sing-along, immediately.

Not only is the beat perfectly suited to the cadence of the rhymes/bars (or vice-versa, whatever) but the lyrics – oh my God the lyrics. Pretty simple on the surface but if you know the history (as in, the history) then you know that whoever wrote this knows a lot more about Nyongolo and isiNtu than they’re letting on.

I developed an instant semi-crush on whoever wrote this track because damn, the big dick energy hinted at will be something to behold when this fire matures and settles into smouldering unquenchable heat. It’s the difference between a black man in his 20s and one in his 40s. Both are virile and strong (please, I’m not talking about your sugar daddy with the beer belly) but there’s something that comes with age that Ben 10 just doesn’t have.

I’m saying. Rappers flexin’ is kinda boring to me but once in a while along comes one who flexes and my ovaries and I sit up and take notice. Give this man a few years and he could really make me pay attention and like it. Of course I don’t know him, have no idea what he even looks like, all I have is this SoundCloud link and an inclination to see what else he has done. His talent is undeniable and that’s hella sexy to me.

If you know anything about Nyongolo, about Bulawayo, you’ll love this. If you love isiNdebele rap/hip-hop, you’ll love this.

If you love isiNdebele, period – well… you’re welcome.

Was It Love Or Was He Bored?

I call it: A Study in Pink


What this picture reminds me of is not my baby’s first ‘holiday’ or how much fun we had at Bela Bela, but how callous men can be and how I can be made stupid by a man who can turn a bunch of words into a poem written just for me. Whose head wouldn’t be turned by that?!

So there I was, minding my own Facebook business when Shaun inboxed me. Long story short he’d found a piece of my writing, been impressed by it and wanted to tell me so. So he did. I have twice fallen for ‘inboxing fans’ but Shaun was the first. It happened again a few years later because I live in hope (and I’m a slow learner). Don’t get it twisted – I will never not believe in love.

When Shaun asked me for a recent photo this is the one I sent him. It really was the most recent and it gave all the necessary information for him to decide whether or not to continue what was fast becoming a flirtation.

Despite knowing that I had a three-month-old baby (and an older son) and that I belong to team flat-chest and keep my hair natural, he pursued me as much as anyone can be pursued via texts and calls – he was in Europe you see, it’s not like he could take me on dates.

He fell for me and I fell for him. We discussed a possible future, what it might look like and what it might require. I spent a couple of thousands on phone calls and several hundred on gifts. That’s the ‘relationship’ that taught me about polarity – if you know you know and if you don’t know, I’m sorry your love-life sucks.

He called almost daily, video-called often, and we lived on WhatsApp. He wrote me poetry assuring me he was ‘here’ and that he was ready to ‘jump (into love).’ I had (and might still have if I didn’t delete it) a special Onenote notebook for all his words to me. He sent me money, he sent me gifts, and when it came time for his annual visit home we spent many hours discussing how and when we would meet. It was all really exciting until he set foot on African soil and went AWOL.

My friends believed with me that ‘something must have happened’ because the last time we spoke was when he was on his way to the airport. Did the cab crash? Was he in hospital somewhere wishing I was at his side? Did he miss his connecting flight? Did he even land in Zim? I was frantic and powerless. What the fuck happened? I ran through all possible scenarios except the one where he decided he wasn’t going to talk to me anymore. That didn’t occur to me until a mutual friend (who didn’t know I was pining for my missing love) mentioned, unasked, the drinking spree they’d had. To say I was hurt is an understatement.

When I did hear from him again – after he was back in Europe – he told me he’d decided that he wanted ‘a blank slate’ (yep, his exact words) – he couldn’t fathom taking on someone who already had kids. He was sorry. I was stunned (and really, really hurt) because he KNEW I had kids before anything even began…

You would think that I put him out of my mind then and went about fixing my life – you’d be wrong.
A couple of weeks later (or whatever) he convinced me that he’d thought about it properly, that he’d read up on step-parenting, and that his mind and heart agreed that I was the one. I believed him.

Sigh.

It was soooo good, that ‘relationship.’ We liked the same things. Like Terry Pratchett, wine, mascarpone and amacimbi (not all at once though). We were both as ghetto fabulous as we were bougie. We were writers, critiquing each other honestly, even brutally. We talked about everything, even his two friends who discouraged him from a long-distance relationship with someone he’d never met. Those haters.

I was so excited when he wrangled another trip home. We would finally get to meet and say to each other all the things we’d been wanting to say that didn’t work via phone or text.

You might not believe me but he pulled the same stunt as before. Not exactly, no. This time we spoke even after he landed in Zim and all the while he stayed there. We planned his Joburg visit – well, I say ‘planned’ but he claimed to be a spontaneous traveller and that he would ‘figure it out’ when he landed. I spoke with him daily right until the Sunday night that came before his Monday flight to Joburg and to me. Then I never heard from him again.

It took me a year to put myself back together and really forgive him. When I no longer needed closure from him because I’d found it on my own – as one should – I wrote to him. I wrote to him because I was free of all the feelings of unworthiness he’d triggered, because his name popping up on my feeds no longer hurt, because I’d dealt (I thought) with the broken parts of me that could fall so in love with someone I’d never even met in person (y out that last wasn’t done because M-ho came along a few years later – but that’s another story). I wrote to Shaun because the circle was still open and so I closed it, finally. I didn’t need or expect a response but one came anyway. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”

This photo reminds me of the time a man who didn’t want to be a step-parent fell in love with a single mother. It shouldn’t, but life’s funny like that.

LINA BANTU BAKONTUTHU, MATABELELAND ZOMBILI LE MIDLANDS: NGIKHULUMA LANI.

LINA BANTU BAKONTUTHU, MATABELELAND ZOMBILI LE MIDLANDS: NGIKHULUMA LANI.

Bulawayo artist Cal Vin released this track and it is fire. My thoughts after the jump.

Yikuthi iqiniso lisababa asikalifuni, kumbe ngithi asikabi lesibindi sokuliginya lonke. Olendlebe (lamehlo) uzezwa.

Into eyakhulunywa nguMajaivana iliqiniso kodwa siyaphambanisa nxa siyikha phezulu, nxa singacacisi ukuthi wathini ngodaba lolu lonke luphelele.
Nxa uMajaivana wakwanisa (yes I said that, yenelisa for who) ukuthi aliqambe iqiniso libaba gamu, thina sizahlulwa yini ukuthi lathi silikhulume?

Mina ke angisomuntu we music, or any of the performing arts, really, so I don’t follow the trends or the news. Ngingusisi (please don’t call me ‘masalu’) ozithandela ukuthula, lo Cal Vin yena lo angimazi ngiyam’qala today. Sengimazi futhi ngihle ngamthanda because listen, uqinisile and there’s some good writing in there – I believe it’s called bars? Barz? Anyway. Cool track. Otherwise I wouldn’t have shared it. But I digress.
I was saying ngeke ngiqamb’ amanga ngith’ i-industry ngiyayazi to comment in-depth. Ngazi kuphela engikwaziyo, yikho engizakhuluma ngakho.

UMajaivana wathi kasoz’ aphind’ abuye koBulawayo. Bakhona abakwaziy’ ukuthi kwakutheni az’ atsho njalo. Lokuthi kasolanga amaShona kuphela, bayakwazi. Maybe bazafakaza, asazi.

Mina engikwaziyo yikuthi nxa sifak’ umunt’ omdala entwen’ zethu kumele simhloniphe, singacatshi ngaye ngoba sisesaba ukukhangelana leqiniso LONKE.



UCal Vin uqinisile kodwa iqiniso lelo aliphelelanga, futhi bekungadingeki ukuthi liphelele lonke ngengoma eyodwa so don’t get it twisted. Inselele yikuthi silixoxe lonke iqiniso lakhona otherwise kusamatopi and the entire conversation is pointless, but maybe that’s just me.

Mina ngingahlangana lento yakithi emnandi ngiyathanda ukuzwisa abanye, unless into emnandi kuyindoda ngoba lokho kuyazila. Kuba buhlungu kimi nxa sengisizwa umuntu esithi ‘ah, imnandi ngayizwa.’
Hawu, wezwa wathula? Why?

Kungumbuzo oqakathekileyo ngoba how do you ‘support local talent’ if you can’t even like/share a damn YouTube video? Pho ku-show uzahamba? Merchandise uzathenga? So… Support how, exactly?

Lokhe sibukela idoti yezanu kulokuthi sibukele okwethu ngoba silinde yona zanu leyo labantu bayo ukuthi basithuthukise. Sihlala singo Sincengile labo Lahliwe eHarare kodwa nxa oCal Vin labo Ras Boom besiphakela sidla sisesulela phansi, asila dankie. Nywe nywe amaShona while we do the same thing they do – neglect us. In what universe does that even make sense?

Ngabe likhala ngemali kodwa isupport igcwele phamu ngabe ngiyezwa but as it is, alikafuni ukuzwa iqiniso elithi ikhwapha elinukayo ngelakoNtuthu. Zinukeni bo, ngoba mhlawumbe yini elilenkinga.

UCal Vin mina bengingamazi, s’tru bob. I’ve seen the name on social media posters but honestly, I thought he was a comedian – or is he multi-talented? Yebo i-music asonto zami, kodwa lina elithi liyamazi liyamthanda and liyamsapota, why singakaze siyibone isupport leyo, evidenced by you sharing his work lathi size sifise ukuzwa?

UCal Vin uqinisile, but iqiniso leli libanzi njalo lijulile ukudlula ingoma le. We all know that. We know that the discrimination on tribal grounds is systemic. Ingoma leyi ngokuncane kwakhona.
But the song has, I hope, opened a door, and that’s what art should do: get people talking. So, khulumani sizwe, oro ngithi sibone.

Kumbe liyesaba ukuthi nxa singaqeda ukusola amaShona kuzamele sibhekane sodwa sitshelane amaqiniso?

Autocorrect Is NOT My Friend

Once upon a time I met a man in these estreets. DMs were slid into, preliminaries exchanged and the basics established: we’s interested in each other and no, not for friendship.

Conversation moved to WhatsApp right quick and it was all the way lit. Immediately. Not lit like some of y’all’s message apps, but lit like two people who love words, appreciate punctuation, love humour, and love Bulawayo. Also, two people who understand how Nguni courtship works. If nothing else, I’ll give him that.

This man (shall we call him Farmer Bae?) slithered and wriggled his way into my life (read: my heart) such that me saying ‘I love you’ to him was not outside of the realm of possibility.
Did I say it? Not in so many words. I wasn’t that far gone but oh, it was a close thing.
Did he say it? No.
He just pulled movie stunts like finding me reference books I didn’t even know I needed, and showing up unannounced and making it feel romantic instead of creepy…which is to say, he did and said just enough that I was led to believe he felt it and wanted to say it…

Me, I believe in love. I will never not believe in love. I know this about myself now and I’m OK with it. Maybe it’s something to examine and heal, maybe it’s just who I am; all I know is I love easily, deeply, for real; each time like it’s the first and last and only time. I’ve learnt to separate my capacity for love from my fear of being hurt… But that’s another story.

Farmer Bae turned out to be a lying liar of the worst kind. Ruthless, a bounder and a knave, calculating, without couth, mercy, or conscience, and surrounded by enablers who help him maintain a facade of decent (faux) respectability.

Was I hurt? Yeah. Disappointed? Hell yeah.
But what really pisses me off,
What gets my goat and grinds my gears
Is that now,
Some two, maybe three years later when he’s nothing but a cautionary tale,
My phone auto-corrects ‘me’ to ‘Mem’
And I don’t know how to fix it. 😭

His name might Memabonke or MemHo…doesn’t really matter.
All I want to know is, how do I fix this?

The Woman Who Forgave Too Much Part 1

Once upon time, a brave legal secretary who wore nothing but heels to the office went into business. When I say nothing but heels I don’t mean naked except for heels, you understand that, right?
Anyway.
Everyone told her she would fail, that she couldn’t keep her job as a legal secretary, run a home (she had children) and co-manage a business. But she signed the agreements with her partners and took on the store.

She brought in her sisters, her children and housekeeper to sweep, mop, clean walls and eventually pack the shelves. She sent the littlest one with a list to nearby shops – Seawater Supermarket on this side and Tony’s Superette on the other, past the butchery – to compare prices. Competitive pricing, you know. With her partners, the lovely couple from Lobengula West, they agreed they would hire ONLY family, no outsiders, and they agreed on who would man (or woman) which counter. The shop opened, oh yes, and business was good.

The brave secretary (legal, not just a typist mind you) brought in her older sister Doris and Doris’s grown daughter Beatrice. She brought in her other sister too, Constance. Maybe they all three swopped womaning the tills and the bread counter and the sweet counter. Ah, the sweet counter. The huge yellow-orange apricots (a sugary imitation of the fruit, delicious), the fudge and the ‘fish’ – marshmallow shaped like fish – were my favourites. Also the chocolate éclairs, ama glucose in their red wrappers…ah, the good old days, when Arenel was Arenel. Her partners brought in staff too, but I wasn’t privy to the roster and division of labour so excuse the gaps in my knowledge of who did what.

Next door, sharing a wall, a kitchen and a bathroom, was a butchery. The secretary and her partners had wanted that space too but alas, it wasn’t available for rent. The butchery workers were two young men who took her admonishment to stop peeing against the back wall and use the bathroom now that it was clean, very seriously. They were nice young men, polite, from Tsholotsho. It was good to have more men nearby, she didn’t think they would cause trouble. Oh, how wrong she was.

Life was good in those supermarket days. People who had never worked before were earning real money, taking day-old bread and buns home, liberating Flava Rava and Fresh that had reached use-by dates from the fridge because everyone knew ‘use-by’ meant two or three days before it actually went bad – it was a good time for all concerned. Children began taking pocket money to school, cheeks grew fat…yes, things were looking up. The legal secretary didn’t have to support everyone anymore. She was no longer the go-to for any and all problems. Her family had means and it was a beautiful thing. Can you say Empowerment? How about Agency?

One day, the woman and her partners received a call from their lawyers. Oh no! What could be wrong?! They couldn’t help speculating as they rode the York House lift on the appointed day. Or was it Kirrie Building where their lawyer was?
What they didn’t expect was the butchery tenant – they’d never met him – and his impatience. He told them that he didn’t want any trouble, he just wanted his profit margin back where it was. What?

Yes, you and your store full of thirsty women are ruining my business and that needs to stop before I ruin yours. His final word. I think it was a very short meeting.
Everyone was confused because WHAT?

You, reading this, are not confused because although you know that nobody said ‘thirsty’ in that context in the 90s, you know exactly what was meant. Right?
But the woman – let’s call her Ntombi – and her partners didn’t understand what thirst had to do with anything. They had no idea of the shitstorm that was coming their way. Still, they agreed to fix it, whatever it was.

Back at the store, Ntombi and her partners agreed to investigate separately. Investigate they did. Well, her partners did. Ntombi simply asked MaSibanda, her housekeeper of many years, for all the gossip. MaSibanda did not disappoint.

What followed in the next few months was a fallout between the partners, an unexpected and unimaginable betrayal, and the loss of a business that should have and would have changed lives in lasting ways.

What followed, eventually, was a legal battle that put Ntombi – my mother – in debt for years, wiped out her savings, and forever ruined several longstanding friendships.

What followed should have broken the family too but it didn’t, because Ntombi – Ntombizodwa – was beautiful inside and out and forgiveness was her superpower. Some might argue that the family didn’t break apart because it was already broken and that Ntombi was plastering over cracks – over chasms in fact – trying to mend the unmendable, but that’s another story.

I never saw my mother cry except on three occasions. The first, when Aunt Matilda died. Second, when Gogo MaMpofu died and the last time was when I was in labour with FirstBorn. Outside of those times I don’t remember seeing her cry (although I think she must have), but when she told me what happened to the shop, I think she came very close it.