I haven’t written much, nor made any significant art work since the beginning of the year. June literally sprung up on me. Usually I see it coming and I plan for it. This is the month that typically reminds me that I only have six more months to seriously start tackling those resolutions and identify areas where I need to improve. Unlike other years, this time June comes not with its usual pressure to actively pursue personal goals. This is because I experienced a major loss and sometimes I still feel like I am just getting back on to my feet. On the last day of March this year, my dad went to be with the Lord. It’s the prostate cancer that took him out, however he had battled with Alzheimer’s for just over five years. So I haven’t felt really motivated about anything, and I am learning that it is okay for me to feel this way at this moment in time.
Among the myriad thoughts that I have ruminated over in the past couple of months is the idea of legacy. I am grateful that my father left an amazing legacy and though I sometimes feel cheated for having him removed from my life, I have a strong feeling that he really did fulfill his destiny. Destiny fulfilled = success. This usually means a good legacy.
Without going into too much detail, my dad chose to fight for Zimbabwe’s freedom and spent just over a decade in Rhodesian detention cells. Like many other comrades, his late twenties and thirties were spent in solitary confinement doing hard labour- simply because he chose to pursue justice and create a better world for the next generation. It’s his pursuit of equality that led him to obtain a law degree through correspondence while in detention.
Growing up, my father emphasized values of love and respect for all people, of all races from all social standings. Sadly today, some people associate the War Veteran Status with greed and racism. Two attributes that do NOT describe my dad.
When we were going through some of his old documents a couple of weeks after the funeral, my sister and I came across a wad of letters that he sent from prison. These letters were cries from his heart. They touched me so much! They were letters asking a specific missionary organization to assist his mother (my grandmother ) and his young siblings (some of whom he only met after his release) so that they could go to school. Perhaps one of these days, I will share one of the letters, but it just amazes me that from a dinky little cell, my dad connected his siblings to key people who were able to meet some of the needs of this poverty stricken family. I am proud to say that all of my dad’s immediate siblings are educated and have done pretty well for themselves.
We also found a couple of letters that he wrote to the then authorities requesting that the prisoners receive more blankets and more humane treatment. BRAVE! We grew up with cousins.
Once in a while, relatives would come and live with us for a year or two…. or more. It’s only later that I found out that my father was paying for their school fees and helping them pursue their personal endeavors. Throughout funeral week, so many people spoke about how my dad had helped them get an education, get their first job, get a fair deal or something along those lines. I honestly had no idea that he had assisted so many friends and family members. Education was so important to him and he loved people.
My dad was always there for me. I don’t remember a single moment in which I felt neglected as I grew up. I know this is a blessing because not everyone can say the same thing. He raised my 3 sisters and me to be empowered women. He taught us to dream and reach for the stars. There are too many things to mention (big and small) that he did in the 75 years that he lived. I was amazed to hear that parked cars literally wound themselves around our circle road as people came to kubata maoko (offer condolences). Hundreds of people showed up, and a hundred more wished they had showed up to bid him farewell. He definitely left a legacy.
He impacted his family, his extended family, his various working environments, his hometown and his nation. I am so challenged.
This has got me thinking, what am I impacting?
Or how am I impacting?
What legacy will I leave?
When that day comes, (when I go to be with the Lord), will hundreds of people show up for me?
My legacy will be shaped by how I treat people- starting from today.
It will be shaped by whether or not I pursue what I believe God has called me to do on this earth. We are all called to do something; we have to believe that we are here for a divine purpose.
My legacy will be shaped by how big I start to dream and how much I challenge myself to grow holistically.
I won’t leave much of a legacy if I settle to be average- that’s too safe and comfortable! I have to do things on purpose and aim to create a positive change for my family, my society, my nation and maybe even the world.