17 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Turned 21

21st Birthday
Photo Cred: Boho Weddings Online

 

Towards the end of last year, my aunt asked me to help her put together some advice/words of encouragement for a young lady who was turning 21 years old. She asked me to think about what I wish I had been told or what I wish I had known at the age of 21. As I did the list, I realized that there was so much that I was forced to learn from experience as I entered adulthood.

 

I think it is an assumption in our more modern black African community that you’ll figure things out as you go, especially because most of us are growing up away from home and from our elders. Granted that the best teacher is experience, but some guidance and counsel never hurt anyone.

 

Most of the words of wisdom we receive as we enter adulthood is to work hard, get a good job and get married – especially as black African women (bAw). As though that is the fullness of life. This got me thinking that there may be some young 21-year old who hasn’t had the opportunity to receive counsel on life and could benefit from reading up on a few key lessons that can help make their next stage in life more fulfilling. Or possibly, just a woman who needs to remember what is important in life.

 

And so here goes – 17 things I wish someone had told me as I turned 21:

 

  1. You are beautiful both inside and out. From this age onward, understand that society and your own doubts and fears will try to disagree with that statement. Begin now to choose to believe that you are beautiful and tell yourself that truth every day when you look in the mirror.

 

  1. You are more than worthy of love. You may find yourself seeking validation and worth in different places as you reach this stage of your life – in men, friendships, career, beautiful clothes or just looking good. In all instances, nothing and no-one will be able to validate you. Understand that your worth and value stems from your Creator God alone. This will serve you well in years to come.

 

  1. Be much kinder to yourself. You’re going to find yourself making some major mistakes in life because now you’re playing in the big leagues. There are enough people out there who will try to make you feel bad about this so don’t add yourself to that equation. Learn to be your number 1 fan by encouraging yourself when you fall.

 

  1. When it comes to people (associations, friends, family, romantic relationships etc) take those associations with an emotional maturity. Understand that not everything done to you deserves for you to take it too seriously. Most times, it’s not even about you.

 

Be Kind to Yourself
Photo Cred: WordPress.com

 

  1. Expect less. This is not about lowering your standards but about what you hope others will do for you. This gives you the opportunity to be taken by surprise in a good way in life. The less you expect from people, the better.

 

  1. Rejection and disappointment is not the end of the world. Now that you’re a little older, rejection and disappointment will hurt a little more than it did when you were younger. Try now to learn that it does not mean the end of everything. The sun will still rise tomorrow.

 

  1. People who were meant to shield, love and protect you the most may end up being the ones who hurt you the worst. Learn to discern the hearts and intentions of people early on so that you can gauge those you can lean on a little more. Remember that only God will never disappoint you.

 

  1. At all costs, avoid debt in your life. You will soon be on your own, making your own money and making your own financial decisions. There is such a pressure and a tendency to want to get all the wonderful things in life that you can’t afford just to keep up with others or to “show what you’re working for”. Try as much as possible to adjust this mind-set and attitude. Instead, pursue the freedom and peace of owning what is yours and living a lifestyle you can afford. This will allow you to sleep better at night.

 

Save Money - Don't Get Into Debt
Photo Cred: Frugal Farm Wife Online

 

  1. Make time for your family. Yes life is exciting and you’ve got so many amazing friends and adventures but remember where you have come from. Your family will always be there for you regardless of what you go through or how life changes. Remember to make time to appreciate and enjoy them.

 

  1. If you haven’t already found it, seek out your life’s purpose. This is usually closely linked to what you are passionate about or what you’re really good at and love doing. It’s the thing you would be willing to do without ever getting paid for doing it. Knowing your purpose makes life that much more of a joy to live. It gets you out of bed on a tough day. It warms your soul even though things are unbearable. It can also become your career. Find out what you’re on Earth for.

 

  1. Take your time and enjoy your season of singleness. Contrary to what social media/family/friends may say, singleness is a blessing. Seek to enjoy and bask in all the goodness that it holds for you – your own time; travelling; meeting new people; excelling in your career and purpose; making mistakes and getting back up amongst other things. You will never get this time back so get over being single and get into how amazing it is before it passes you by.

 

  1. Wait for a man of his word. You’re young and beautiful with so much life ahead of you and men will recognize and desire that. Try to keep a cool head when it comes to choosing the men you date. Be selective – be hard to get but easy to be with. Be a delight but set your boundaries early on. This will serve you well in protecting you from men who do not have your best interests at heart. Wait for a man who does what he said he will do and with whom you will have no questions about his intentions.

 

Be Selective 2
Photo Cred: Skinny Sticks Tumblr

 

 

  1. More likely than not, your heart will probably be broken despite all your efforts to wait on the right guy or to protect yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over that. Instead, learn from your experiences so that you are clear on what you deserve, which will make it easier for you to identify that in future.

 

  1. Understand that you will probably lose friends as you journey on in life. It’s not necessarily because you or they are bad people. As you grow, you evolve and so do those around you. You may not grow in the same direction and sometimes that may mean that you must part ways. It’s alright. People who are meant to be in your life will remain there to walk with you as you become your best self. The rest are for a season or a reason. Learn to differentiate who is who in your life.

 

  1. Find a mentor. Be on the lookout for a woman or women you admire in terms of how you desire to live your life and where you would like to end up. Women who uphold your principles in life. Seek to develop relationships with them. Life is not lived in isolation and as a young woman, you can learn much from your older sisters and mothers who have already walked the path you are embarking on – regardless of how “old school” you may think they are! Life and its principles never go out of fashion.

 

  1. Never make anything or anyone else more important than God – not even yourself. As long as you grasp this simple but powerful truth, you can have the best life ever and become all that you were meant to be.

 

  1. Have fun!!! You are young. You’re at the peak of your youth and the world literally is your oyster. Don’t rush to grow up because that comes with its challenges. Soak up every single year of your life because it will never be the same again. Have no regrets.

 

 

Have Fun
Photo Cred: Allure Online

 

 

And so there it is. Thanks to my colleague Tumelo Bosaka who also helped me out by sharing a few of the truths she wishes she had been told at 21. I hope this serves someone well as they enter into the next season of their life. Maybe you’re past 21 but you haven’t come across some of these. It’s never too late to learn and grow. Or you may have just needed a refresher. Let’s keep going ladies 😉

 

Let me know your thoughts on the list and please share any other lessons from your experiences. Maybe you had a completely different experience. I would like to learn from yours too.

 

With love,

Sonia Dee

image
Photo Cred: Noxolo Chalale

Before you go sis, just a few things you may be interested in:

  1. We have a Hiking Event to celebrate you gorgeous bAw on Sunday the 27th of August at Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve in the South of Joburg. If you desire to get out, meet other bAw and hear inspiring stories about how to best reflect on your life and live it in a way that God desires for you, this get-together is for you. We will have a lovely picnic after our short hike and some uplifting words from our older sisters who have learnt the value of taking stock of their lives. Come and let’s Heal, Exhale and Reflect together.
  2. Would you like to be part of a community of women who are daily speaking and seeking healing for different aspects of their lives and returning to their true identity in Christ? Then join us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to receive daily encouragements and connect with like-minded sisters!

 

Chat to you soon!

Women’s Day Post: In Conversation with Tsitsi Dangarembga

Arise
Tsitsi Dangarembga
Filmaker / Playwright / Poet / Activist
Photo Cred: Davina Jogi

 

 

This Women’s Month, my team and I really wanted to celebrate black African women (bAw) each day on our social media pages. To celebrate God’s gift of women who are making waves as activists, artists, and go-getters but also to celebrate our everyday sisters, friends, mothers and daughters. To be able to capture the essence of who the bAw truly is as formed by God.

I remember watching the movie “Neria” as a young girl and being moved by the plight of the widow Neria. That movie was ahead of its time and clearly highlighted the struggle of the black African woman in a patriarchal society. And so, it was a life-changing moment when my sister Rumbi reached out to the author of “Neria”, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and she agreed to engage in a conversation about her experience as a bAw.

Today, I would like to share her genuine and inspiring insights:

 


Rumbi Dube: What is the greatest hurdle you have had to overcome as an African woman?

Tsitsi Dangarembga: The greatest hurdle I have had to overcome as an African woman is lack of access to resources to maximize on my abilities, skills and achievements. Sometimes this hurdle manifests socially because society tells you that a black woman can only do this or this but not that. When society makes that decree, there is little to no support when you as a black woman opt to do the thing society has indicated you should not do.

This can even begin in the home as you grow up, because most of our families are patriarchal, this includes our mothers.  Many of us have had patriarchal mothers. I am glad to see some change in this respect, but there is still a long way to go.  At other times the hurdle is material, for example, when I have no access to resources, such as land and buildings to realise a dream that needs to go further.  At yet other times the hurdle is lack of access to human resources because men or political parties or patriarchal women – of which there are many – may not support your excellence.  The hurdle is also financial since, generally, as a black African woman, you are excluded from capital.

As a black African woman on the continent, you are generally relegated to donor aid and this donor aid is usually tied to political or another form of power.  It is also predicated on a world view that sees Africa as a continent of peasants who need to be saved.  So if you are not grass roots, and do not need to be saved, but need to be empowered to fly, you seldom qualify for donor aid.  I call this financial apartheid This brings me to the last hurdle in that the cumulative outcome of all these other hurdles is that one’s ability to contribute to one’s community and society is seriously compromised.    

 

RD: What do you wish the black African woman would come to realise?

I wish black African women would come to realise that we have to work together, that when we work together we can produce more than the sum of what we produce individually.  I also wish that black African women would realise we have to pull ourselves together and stop accepting a victim identity.  A victim identity is extremely dangerous as it can become an excuse for all sorts of negative tendencies and behaviours.  When captured in a victim mentality, people tell themselves, ‘It’s all right for me to do this because…’  They justify actions that are clearly not acceptable.  This results in serious ills for society.  In short, a victim attitude encourages selfishness, which, in spite of the Kardashians, is not cool.

 

RD: Which African women inspire you?

TD: Women of my generation have few female role models on the continent.  We have to be the role models for ourselves and others.

 

RD: What legacy would you like to leave for other African women?

TD: I would like people to say of me, ‘She never, ever gave up’.   In terms of external results, in the same way that black African women are too often excluded from capital and ownership, we are excluded from representing ourselves in narrative as we see ourselves in our diversity, agency and beauty.  Narrative, like resources is power.

Narrative is particularly important because we learn about the world, come to understand it and communicate with each other through narrative.  The exclusion of black African women from narrative is another reason why we have few role models.  So my desire is to create a strong institution that can focus on telling the stories of African women from the point of view of African women in a way that is accessible to many and has powerful impact.  This means film, rather than writing.  Writing has its uses and I pursue it also, but film is ideal on the continent for reaching wide audiences.

A decade ago, having realized this, I designed a project called Hitting a High Note.  It was to portrait at least half a dozen exemplary African women of achievement in half hour documentaries to record their stories for posterity so as to act as inspiration for future generations.  Well, that project never saw the light of day.  But I persevere.  I have already begun setting up the institution.  It is called the African Women Filmmakers Hub. Our pilot programme is successfully being carried out in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Malawi with support from the Ford Foundation. The next step is to roll out the five year programme across the continent and to create an African women’s film fund that will exist for a minimum of five years in order to enable a critical mass of African women to tell the stories that are important to them.

 

RD: What does the future hold for Tsitsi Dangarembga?

TD: I have a confident expectation that I will realise my career dreams.  They all revolve around boosting the creative industries and growing the creative economy on the continent.  As human beings, our creativity is the path through which our inner being is manifest.  If we do not sustain our own creativity and its products, we will end up consuming and mimicking the products and creativity of others.  The world will be a poorer place if this happens and will not develop in the way that is intended, because black African women are on this planet to participate and contribute as much as everyone else.  Preventing their participation and contribution is preventing the great plan of being from coming to its best fruition.

 


 

Thank you Tsitsi for engaging with us and giving us insight into your journey and life as a bAw. It was humbling and encouraging to see that someone who has already achieved so much in her life faces similar challenges and struggles to us who are getting started. We wish you more love, joy and strength, as well as God’s best in all your future endeavours!

To my bAw family, I hope today is a special day for you as you are celebrated for being a beautiful creature of God! I also hope that the experiences of our fellow bAw, Tsitsi Dangarembga, encourage you to continue to pursue the purposes and goals God has placed on your life in spite of the resistance you may face. That we may truly band together and uplift one another as women in fulfilling the great work God has imparted on our lives.

Happy Women’s Days sisters!

With love,

Sonia Dee

 

 

About Tsitsi Dangaremba

Born in Mutoko, Zimbabwe, filmmaker, playwright, poet and activist Tsitsi Dangarembga completed her education in her home country, where she worked as a copywriter and started writing seriously as a poet and playwright. She obtained her Masters in Filmmaking from the German Film and Television Academy Berlin.  She has produced several documentaries and has credits on most of Zimbabwe’s feature film classics, including EVERYONE’S CHILD, which she co-wrote and directed.

She lives in Harare where she founded the production house Nyerai Films and the International Images Film Festival for Women.  She also founded the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa where she works as director.  She has received international awards for her prose and film work.  Her award winning short music KARE KARE ZAVKO (MOTHER’S DAY, 2005) was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H.E.R. Hike Event

H.E.R. Hike Poster - August 2017 Final Edit

We’re thrilled to announce our upcoming event in celebration of women! The Healing | Exhaling | Reflecting (H.E.R.) Hike aims to bring women together for a moment of reflection. We would like to encourage our fellow sisters to embrace the journey their on and take a moment to appreciate how far they’ve come. So often we focus on moving forward or on how far we have to go. This time, we want to take a moment to celebrate how far God has brought us.

H.E.R. Hike is for every woman who needs a moment to exhale, and what better way than out in nature at Kliepriviersberg Nature Reserve.

Hosted by the formidable Zandile “Zahr” Mqwathi, a drama therapist trainee, we want to get your endorphins kicking with the hike, followed by a lovely picnic and conversation about life and how far we’ve come.

Book your tickets here before space runs out. A big shoutout to our sponsors, including BOUNCE South Africa.

We hope to see you there!

Should you encounter any issues with purchasing your tickets please do not hesitate to contact us.

With love,

Sonia Dee

To The Man I Love, But Am Yet To Meet

sonia-dee

Me in beautiful Cape Town in July 2015

You see me. All of me. And not once have you shrunk back from my awkward talkative nature or loud laugh or my desperate need to analyse everything. Instead, you have a way of turning my flaws and failures into possibilities and opportunities for me to be even greater.

You pursue me. Relentlessly. Not once have I wondered whether you care or think about me. It’s obvious that you do. I see it in the way you look at me as though I am the very first woman you have ever laid eyes on. I recognize it in the way you notice the most random things about me. In the way you don’t get tired of looking for me even if we just spoke this morning or had a falling out. I have no doubt in my mind that I am desirable to you.

You celebrate me. In every way possible. You may not share my exact interests but you still want to know all about them. You see all that I can and shall be, and you remind me of that at every opportunity that you can. You remember what’s important to me and find ways to make a big deal out of that even if it never really mattered to you before we met.

You’re curious about me. Like a child is curious about the first drop of rain she feels on her hand or about how her mama seems to know everything about everything in the world. I am a deep and vast body of water that you’re not afraid to completely submerge yourself in and yet that still wouldn’t be enough for you. It feels like you’re reading a fresh page in my story each day that we are together – even if you’ve read my story countless times before.

You remind me. Remind me about Whose I am and who I am in Him. Remind me of the capable, loving, powerful and gorgeous soul I have always been but that life had ripped from my memory bank. Remind me that I am so uniquely beautiful, enchanting and lovely. Remind me that I’m not alone at any juncture of my life’s journey. Remind me that someone believes in me wholeheartedly and has my back. Remind me that there are still amazingly good men in this world. Remind me of the very first Man who ever loved me unconditionally – Jesus Christ.

You pray for and over me. From the moment you wake up and have a conversation about me with God until you lay your head down at night. You present me before the Creator and plead with Him about my salvation, my healing, my joy and whatever I may need at that time. Your prayers for and about me are what keep me pushing forward daily into the woman God knows me to be despite the odds.

Dear husband, these are just reflections of your deep love for me and a few of the things I am grateful for in you. Thank you for how you challenge and push me towards the mark God has set for me. Thank you for reinstating my hope in godly men, when, for majority of my life it has constantly been torn down. Thank you for loving me in a way that reminds me of my Saviour’s love for me. Thank God that every day He blesses me with the opportunity to try and return the beauty you have brought into my life. I pray that I may honour my God by loving and respecting you the way He has called me to.

I haven’t met you yet, but God has already taught me to love you.

Yours truly,

The Woman You Adore, But Are Yet To Know

Thought-Provoking Tuesdays: Your Story

open book
Photo Cred: YIPA Online

I received this short devotional from my mother-friend, Aunt Gail. It really made me question whether I honestly understand my story as God has purposed it. Do I short-change His vision for me? Do I doubt who He says I am? Do I truly understand how He desires to heal and grow and love me? The answer is that I do not get it most of the time. The below devotional reminds me that my story begins where I end and He starts. I hope it provokes you to think about your own story. Enjoy 🙂

 

Where Your Story Begins by Uknown

Daughter, you hear Me say it true: I begin a new thing in you.

The past is behind you. I was there with you. I can show you where I was.

Looking back is not bad, but staying there is not My plan. Let Me place My hand on the places of pain, where you feel alone, where you cry out for rescue.

I have rescued you, daughter. I created your frame, the contours of your skin, the timing of the way your eyes close, just so. I know your makeup, all the details of you, your entire story.

I author you, daughter.

The drafting of your story, your hand in Mine . . . there is paper not more beautiful–curls of letters that make Me smile.

Daughter, the story of your name is written in My book, your beginning, the moment where you felt you ended and I begin. That is your beginning, child.

You begin where you end and I begin.

And the story keeps writing, child. After beginning there is adventure. After beginning there is trust and falling and catching and believing and choosing and waiting. There is much waiting and beginning again.

Your story running right off the page with Me.

 

Guest Post: The Single Black African Mother by Mondisi Mabhena

Single Black Mom 4

Once upon a time many years ago I sat at my desk in high school envisioning the perfect future.  I saw myself married to a handsome and loving man and mom to five bright eyed and bushy tailed kids.  Fast forward sixteen years the picture looks very different to that perfect vision I had all those years ago. Today I am a single mom to three precious boys.  I’ve never been married and so far nothing on the horizon, and I couldn’t be happier.  My situation may not be God’s design for the prefect family, but through the challenges I have faced, He really showed me who He is and even though things became so difficult and painfully unbearable He brought me out of the darkest situations I’ve been faced with in my life.  He showed me that even when we choose to satisfy the flesh and defy Him, He remains true to His promises, that He will never leave us nor forsake us; that He will deliver us out of the miry clay and set our feet upon a rock; that even when we make our bed in hell, there He will be with us.  Oh, I just want to shout as I write this!  I have never known a love so moving and so perfect, and let me tell you I have been searching all my life for this wonderful feeling, for the perfect Man to enter my life and bring me true joy.

My goal in writing this is for single black African mothers to know that no matter the challenges we may face we are not facing them alone even though sometimes it does seem as though the odds are stacked up against us and we may feel completely abandoned and vulnerable.  God’s tender mercies have always seen me through the roughest of episodes and He does the same for each one of you.  Looking back on all three of my pregnancies and the circumstances around each one I see the Father’s mighty hand.  I specifically want to quickly mention the circumstances surrounding my second pregnancy. When I fell pregnant my boyfriend at the time was adamant that he wanted an abortion, and foolishly I gave in to his pressured request and swallowed the dreaded pill that would steal the life of God’s beloved creation. It was a low point in my life especially where my relationship with God was concerned and I felt like dying.  I spent weeks in a zombie-like state, I battled with the pain of what I’d done until I could bear it no more and one day alone in my room I fell to my knees and said a small prayer. I plainly asked Him to give me back my baby. I told Him I had read that He was a miracle maker, so He had to do this for me. I told Him that the only faith I had was as tiny as a mustard seed and it was all I had to offer. In the solemn silence I heard a sweet small whisper say “Yes”. A peace like I had never felt before engulfed me for the briefest of moments and I was momentarily convinced that He would actually do this thing for me, but after I arose from the floor I was back in my usual zombie-like condition not believing I had really heard God speak to me. I mean, come on, these things don’t really happen, not in the twenty-first century at least, is what I thought.

A week later, as per the instruction of the nurse at the clinic, I took a pregnancy test, and to my absolute bewilderment there were two bold pink strips on the test, indicating that I was in actual fact still with child! In that moment I believed with all that was in me that my Father, my Jesus had performed this amazing miracle! I had no doubt that my baby was safe and intact. Now I have to mention here that I was told that the reason I had to take the test was to ensure everything was expelled as there are instances where parts of the fetus remain, but I knew with certainty that my baby was whole. I needed no confirmation of that. Today I can’t get a word in edge-wise when he’s around. He is a ball of energy, a bright and intelligent young man, and definitely the life of the ‘party’. With the birth of each of my boys, in that moment when I held them for the first time, I cannot describe the emotions that flowed through my body. I am not the type who cries and balls her eyes out in that moment, all I do is stare in admiration at the wonderful thing that God has done for me. I always find myself in absolute awe of His handiwork. I always find myself blessed. He has taken each bad situation, each ungodly union I had with a man and brought something good out of each situation. I know I don’t deserve that, yet He blesses me still.

Today my eldest son is ten years old, my talkative ball of energy referred to earlier is five and my baby is three months old.  I know people look at me and wonder why I have three children and no husband.  They wonder what I’m doing wrong; perhaps some feel pity for me and maybe others think I’m crazy or of questionable character or maybe even stupid and irresponsible or all of the above. Well, I don’t have a response because I sincerely have no need to defend or explain myself, and I say that in the nicest possible way. It is what it is, and my Father knows my whole story and to me that is all that matters. I guess what I mean is that we all are on a plan that God created for each one of us at the foundation of the earth. He knew that He needed to make some wiggle room for our stubborn, sinful and selfish free will, but ultimately He knows the plans He has for us and one way or the other His plans will be fulfilled. I believe that I had to go through everything I have experienced for a greater purpose – to be a blessing to others, to stand up strong as a black African woman (bAw) and hold my head up high through all of life’s curveballs.

One glorious day a few weeks ago I had another mind shattering encounter with my Father and what a truly glorious day it was because He revealed His plans for my life, which I will keep to myself for now, but I will share them with you soon.  Anyway, I was at my lowest and I had been that way since finding out I was pregnant with my third child. Throughout my pregnancy and for almost three months after giving birth it was probably the darkest time of my life. I mean think about it, who wants to be pregnant and single and rejected for the third time in a row? Certainly not the innocent high school girl I knew sixteen years ago. So there I was drowning in a pain I thought would last for the rest of my days on this earth, when He changed my life and with a mighty voice said “Arise!  Come up out of that dark pit and be the woman I made you to be.  You are created in my image, you are powerful and you are loved. Have no fear for your life is in My hands. I am your Father and I love you. You are a woman of grace and a woman of wonder. You are more than you can imagine – you are mine and it’s time now to rise and let My glory shine through you. Have I not told you that you were fearfully and wonderfully made by My mighty and gentle hand.” I cried all through that night. I kid you not, I did not sleep one wink. That was the last time I felt the nagging pain that had been threatening to consume me whole. I knew then that from that moment on my life would be different. I knew I would fulfill the purpose God has for me. I knew I would make it.

So here I am, a single mother to three beautiful children. I wake up each day with no fear, I am ready to take on the world and come out victorious. I no longer doubt my abilities, and I certainly spend no time worrying about my status in society as a never married single bAw with three children. In my Father’s eyes I am His precious daughter, beautiful and triumphant and loved. My dream is for black African women to take their place in God’s awesome plan. I believe all people were created equal (Galatians 3:28), and I also believe that women have a different role to men in society, in which we can thrive and be the powerful beings God created us to be. Let’s explore that together as we journey with our sister Sonia as she rediscovers what it means to be a bAw in the world today.

I am blessed to have been given this opportunity to share some of my story and I pray that you have been encouraged to seek a deeper relationship with God. The word says “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” It’s as simple as that – seek Him first, make all other needs and wants secondary, and you will experience just how good God is.  David says it best in Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

With love

Mondisi

Mondisi Mabhena

Mondisi is a vibrant, talented and loving young woman who is dedicated to serving and loving her God. She is a single mother to 3 amazing young boys and currently resides in South Africa. Mondi is passionate about empowering the children and young people of Africa in understanding their heritage and true value.

Do you have an experience you’d like to share with us? Have you gone through a life-changing journey? Please feel free to share below or contact Sonia at sonia.dube3@gmail.com

Learning the Truth About Our Heritage

African Heritage 2

In light of the recently celebrated Africa Day this past Monday, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts around the African continent. This is a place that I am truly passionate about and that I love. I recently read an article (100 African Cities Destroyed by Europeans) which discusses the truth about Africa – where it has come from and what it lost along the way. I must say it did make me really angry all over again about the injustice that this beautiful continent has had to face, and the effects that racism and greed has had on the continent and its people.

The article discusses the fact that the history that we are fed regarding Africa is incorrect. This amazing continent that I call home once stood glorious and majestic. There are so many things about our continent and the black man that we do not know. All we are made to believe is that Africa has always been so backward and can never catch up to the Western world. We’ve essentially been taught that Africans were dumb and animalistic in their nature, and needed the help of the West to become a better place and land. The message that is continually drilled into our minds is that the African continent has always been (and will most probably) remain poor, dark and striving. Most African history is depicted as having “savages” for its inhabitants that the West came to teach, groom and better. We are made to believe that the African continent was basically done a favour by the West because its people were clueless.

Now, as you read the above article, which presents factual information, you will come to realize that this was actually not the case. Africa was just as (if not more) civilised and advanced as the West was in the 14th century. In fact, the article reveals that the Westerners came and saw Africa and how organized, wealthy and advanced it was in comparison to their disease-riddled land which was still behind in terms of development. They sought to disrupt the progress of Africa and to take back to their own land what had been discovered in Africa and call it their own. Africans had advanced so much and were wealthy in all aspects of life. For example, did you know that the wealthiest man in human history was Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali? Or that the West came and destroyed about 100 African cities leaving no ruins or mark of the once wealthy state of Africa? Or that there were libraries of knowledge within Africa, and the African people were advanced in their understanding of various subjects such as astronomy, maths, law, medicine and poetry? Or that the West came and killed or enslaved the strongest, smartest Africans leaving behind the weaker, less intelligent ones? Or that the cities of Africa back in the 14th century were well-organized and advanced? The list is endless. Do yourself a favour and go read the article in the link above. It’s long but so worth it. You can also check out the article on Understanding Slavery for more.

In a nutshell, the truth is that Africans are amazingly gifted, powerful and intelligent beings. Something that struck me in the article was the fact that the West managed to conquer African cities because they took advantage of the loving and embracing nature of Africans. The people of Africa believed in peace and love. They took care of the weaker people in their land believing that no-one should be without. Thus, they did not ever find the need to have weapons because they did not anticipate violence in humanity in general. It was the nature of their value system – respect and love for fellow human beings. They had developed the mind-set that people must be all-loving and respectful to others (a mentality I think we as Africans are beginning to lose – look at Xenophobia). This was such a beautiful strength to possess, yet it left us vulnerable and led to our greatest downfall.  Our historical buildings and monuments were utterly destroyed so that future African generations would have no recollection of their great past. And the author highlights that this is what has kept Africa back for so long. We have nothing to stand on and to build up from. We have no true understanding of our heritage, our past, and this hinders our progress.

I believe that as Africans it is so important that we look back and learn about where we have come from. It will aid us in avoiding those same mistakes that perpetually leave us in a state of poverty and struggle. We will continue behaving in ways that undermine us and our true value if we do not learn the truth about our heritage. The truth is, my fellow Africans, we are powerful, intelligent, creative, more than capable and innovative! The sooner we learn this, the better and the more empowered we shall become. It is my wish that every African understand this truth. That they realize that God created them with such powerful faculties, gifts and talents to wonderfully impact the world. Not because He has not blessed all other races and nationalities with this same gifting, but to realize that He has put something unique in Africans just as He has in Europeans or Asians etc. The enemy (Satan) and society in general are doing their best to get us to forget this and not believe in our greatness. And as Pastor Myron Edmonds said, “You can tell what the devil is afraid of by what he tries to keep you from doing.” He’s been working overtime for centuries and centuries to keep the African continent in the dark about their true heritage and power!

This is just the tip of the ice berg, but as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, acknowledging that you are powerless is the beginning of recovery. By acknowledging that we have been missing the mark for so long as Africans (whilst not spending too much time dwelling on the injustices we have endured for centuries), we can begin to re-learn our truth and build up to our former glory and beyond. My dear fellow African, do yourself a favour and invest in yourself and your future, and the future of this world. Learn the truth about your heritage.

Remember that I’m praying for you!

With love,

Sonia Dube