I attended a funeral last week. I had to travel all the way to Bulawayo for it. It was quite a sad way to start the new month, with a death but also a very insightful experience.
As we stood there by the grave side, watching what was happening, the men slowly covering the grave with soil, it just got me thinking about life.
The deceased was a woman who was well respected and many had the most amazing words to affirm her even in her death. Hers was not the typical those-who-are-dead-must-be-well-spoken-of, nope! It was a sincere eulogy that evoked a sense of inspiration.
This got me thinking about life in general and the choices we are constantly making with each day. How our choices affect not our lives but the lives of those we cross paths with each day. It is the way we choose to live our lives that influences the quality of lives we live today, tomorrow and forever! It is the way we live that creates a very lasting legacy.
I recall growing up in many contexts. It could have been at school, church, in our home or in the homes of various people, the emphasis was almost always about becoming a respectable member of the society. Often, there we many instances of conversation and these were centred around how as a young, black, Zimbabwean girl, it was of utmost importance to “know my place in the world”.
Save to say that my place in the world was often to be submissive and be subjugated to whatever norms society has in store for the girl child. There was very little, if any, space for compromise, negotiation and exploration of what that meant or what I wanted. It was somewhat a healthy notion of socialization in that the powers that be were of a very string opinion that whatever they were instilling in me, would be values to support the making of a responsible human being who would co-exist in a healthy manner with others.
Given, however, they do argue that culture is dynamic — that is not static and is constantly being influenced by many constant series of changes. As a people we explore what it then means to be grounded in our socialisation and yet we also choose to advance ourselves in ways that we deem healthy to continue co-existing with others!
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Now, I do not think that, all things being equal, anyone is socialised to be a thief or live their life in such a manner that they make the next person feel robbed, pained, uncomfortable and struggling! However, as we witness life with each day, we do come across individuals we can tell are compromising the peaceful co-existence of humanity. Now, let us take a look at the recently aired Gold Mafia exposè by Al Jazeera.
I am of the very strong opinion that indeed money makes the world go round. It answered very many things. The how we earn money is at the heart and core of who we become as a people. Of course, people may speculate about our lives and assume things but when one has reached such levels of global mafia dealings, it becomes a case for soreness.
Yes, absolutely, people ought to make money and enjoy life.
After all, we only live once and if we live right, they say, that once is enough! My point here is that when we choose to live life fully, on our very own terms, doing what we like and fulfilling our heat’s desires, it is also important we look out for others. Each decision we make and focus on creates a lasting legacy that will follow us into our afterlife.
Now, dearest reader, legacy means different things for each one of us. As we reflect on this and go through life to make it work as we would like it to, the biggest issues is what kind of legacies are we building for ourselves and those who will live after us?
What culture are we building?
What will they emulate as key aspects of our lives so they live lives that too create lasting legacies?
They say we stand on the shoulders of giants — are you a giant on whose shoulders one can stand on?
Charting a way forward
As we walked away from the grave site, I spoke to one of the sons of the deceased — he shared so many stories of inspiration and pride of the great work his mother had carries out.
Her exploits were clear for everyone to see and be envious of, in a good way of course. She stood as a true matriarch and source of hope for generations to come.
My dear, dear reader, we too can take a leaf from this amazing women’s story and life. With each passing day, we make a choice so that our lives are meaningful and can be traced back to the goodness of what we choose to do with ourselves. No life is lived in a vacuum — we seek to continuously unlearn and relearn what works form this life.
We can never be too sure we have mastered it but we can be certain that our course is right and creates meaning beyond ourselves.
No action is too small, let us hold hands and make a difference for ourselves and others so that when they stand besides our grave, our stories are inspiring too!
We can never be too sure but it is doable. Until then, we live, laugh and love louder in a bid to show the world that we were here, becoming better, making our mark, and leaving our footprint as we make the world a better place!
Chirenje writes in her personal capacity as a citizen of Zimbabwe. Twitter: @graceruvimbo; Facebook: Grace Chirenje; Instagram: @graceruvimbo.