By Namatai Marygrace Chipunza
It pretty much felt like any other usual day, until my friend called me around mid-day and alerted me on how unwell she was feeling.
I quickly had to drop everything I was doing and rushed her off to the hospital. Hospitals in Africa have always been somewhat unique. When you get in the emergency room, you can almost know what has happened to who and everything that’s taking place.
As my friend was getting assistance from the doctor, I sat by the reception. The trending story on this particular day was that; a 24-year old young woman, who was in her second marriage, had attempted to commit suicide by drinking rat poison. Her reasons behind this were that her husband had cheated on her and she was there in the hospital fighting for her life. Her name was Chenai.
Older women who were in the hospital when they heard the story had a lot of unkind words to say. “Is she the first one to get cheated on? She deserves to die…” angrily said a woman who was about in her mid-40’s.
Another one then said, “Aaah manje murume wake izvezvi atori busy nemumwe mukadzi” loosely translated to mean that her fiance is in bed with another woman while she attempts to commit suicide.
There were so many unkind remarks. l remember thinking to myself that, clearly when it comes to mental health awareness, Zimbabwe has a long way to go.
We will talk about mental health someday.
Love and marriage is a very beautiful thing, but I’ve also learned being in love and settling down as an African woman also means to lose a very big part of your identity. Although the culture has evolved in the last few decades, there are those who have drowned in the identity of the men. They have chosen to embark on the journey of life with men.
Back in the day, there was nothing wrong with the idea of having to lose your identity so as to serve your husband and your children because the social structure at that time did allow that and had a safety net for the women, but with time cultures do evolve and as of today.
As a woman, whether you have chosen to fall in love or settle down; YOU MUST ALWAYS HAVE YOUR OWN LIFE THAT YOU CAN GO BACK TO. It is important that as a woman, you must have a life and purpose of your own that is outside that one of your partners such that on rainy days, like the one Chenai had, you will have a reason to live and to go on because no one is ever worth cutting your life short.
In as much mental health does play a part in cases like this, PURPOSE gives people hope and courage to move on with life when the days are cloudy. I will end my article by saying: “Dear Beloved Chenai. Wherever you are, I hope you’ve found your healing, light, and purpose.”