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Goodbye Rose of Matabeleland! You now belong to heaven and the stars spell out your name!

02 Mar 2019 at 18:47hrs | Views
Goodbye rose of Matabeleland! Today is your burial

I was blessed with your life on this earth. I was blessed with the friendship we shared together as young growing up girls, young women, mothers and comradeship in the struggle for independence of Zimbabwe. In playing together, laughing together, sharing together anything and everything that we had: sharing that deep love that decent mankind upholds: that love and adoration of one another cannot be bought by any gold worthy pieces. Indeed your presence in my life is ineffaceable forever. I can say with a painful heart: Sibare: Goodbye the rose of Bulawayo. It is wholly challenging to me to say I celebrate your passing: How do I celebrate this? My greatest consolation is that you now belong to heaven and the stars spell out your name: Soneni Ngwenya-Matiwaza.

I realize now how blessed I was to have you in my life at that early age. My near companionship with you made me realize the importance of life and education. My eagerness to go back to school was enriched by my social interaction with you at that tender age. Soneni you were a no-nonsense girl, those were the values and principles I embraced as standard. You never realized in your life time how much of a star you presented to me to emulate from you those noblest ambitions: education as the key to success. I took this on board and am what I am today because of your gentle embrace, personal and emotional influence over my personal and academic development. I thank you very much for this dear Sibare.

I remember the scripture union camp fires I was part of at your recommendations to my mother and Mpopoma Secondary School Christian Club: those bible verses that taught us what was good and bad. You initiated that for me to be part of it: what a blessing. I woke up from a school dropout nonentity to an academic because you set the bar measurement for me and I realized it. You never said it loud but your actions and gentle push and pull made me realize those noble goals of education first. I cannot even try to comprehend our disparaging social mobility differences, but you saw in me as a friend and you accepted me as I was: what a blessing! It is only now at your death I begin to appreciate your invaluable and indispensable rich friendship. What a blessing!

I now can recall the beautiful lives we lived full of innocence we had at Tshabalala Township. It was a life full of joy and dreams, we dreamt because we were growing up girls. Is it not a wonder that all that we dreamt of, some of it came to fruition? On my part, when I think about happy childhood, it is that time we shared in Tshabalala before we separated, you went to train to be a teacher at United College of Education, and I left Rhodesia and went to Zambia to do secondary education much later in my life. We both needed to cross the River Zambezi did our lives get a roundabout turn: our personal values and principles we upheld high were immensely challenged.  

What I will remember most is the bread and sugar you bought me when I was at boarding school: Roma Secondary School in Lusaka - Zambia. We broke bread together to symbolize the friendship we shared for so long. This act of breaking bread was to me the punctuation of our deep and undying friendship: (when I think of it now) In Zambia we indeed found ourselves in most challenging and excruciation circumstances. But because our future goals were set long before we arrived in Zambia Lusaka, we were convinced that those life challenges will come to pass: those were vicissitudes in life we had to go through and overcome. It is only now that I realize the notion of "breaking bread" together: be it in the Christian sense or any other religious belief. I wonder still if both realized the symbol of such noble act when we did it back then.

I am glad that we enjoyed motherhood together: saw our children growing up. On my doctoral attachment in Hwange our children Bakani and Nqobizitha were, just like us, inseparable: played and fought each other, we loved it, but because we were so immersed in our girl-talks, we continued as if we did not see them. We were busy with ourselves; had just reversed some of a life time decade's back. We had so much to talk about, so much to catch up with during absence from each other. We had managed to turn the clock several decades back and revisited those past times that comforted us most, not the rough life in Zambia, not the times you were in Kenya and I was in East Germany then, but it was those dreams we were able to dream apparently they came fruition to both of us: very rare. It must have been a way of thanking God for all he/she has done to us: our dream-prayers were heard. The vicissitudes of decades merely solidified our friendship.

The last time we could see each other again it was in 2012: Premonitions! we spoke about death for some reason I can now comprehend this today the day of your burial 02.02.2019. Somehow I am now sure we were preparing ourselves for something to come. We were saying goodbye to each other. We spoke at length about one going first and leaving the other behind. Not remembering the actual words we said, we were kind of saying: when she dies please I should be present for her children so that they recognize the friendship we had. I remember saying the same to her; please hold my son Nqobizitha's hand at my funeral.

The irony of it all is that, it is Soneni burial is today and I am seven thousand miles away from her last presence here on earth: away from her children I promised to hold their hands on her day of burial. Her last church burial service was this morning at Amphitheatre in Bulawayo and over 800 burial guests were present except me: I am visibly absent from the burial scenes except some flowers talking on my behalf saying "goodbye rose of Bulawayo. You now belong to heaven and the stars spell out your name: Soneni Ngwenya-Matiwaza."

She was once a queen of Bulawayo at Jairos Jiri Fete. Soneni continued to be the queen of hearts to so many people in Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe and in SADC region. She held a senior position in the Methodist Church at SADC level. Her service to her husband, children and grandchildren is honourable. She died in honour and service to the Church and to mankind. She rose to the higher echelons of the Methodist Church and became a preacher of the Gospel truth. Soneni is a hard act to emulate from because she shone out since her girl-hood times till her death. Her kindness, mercy & compassion and her empathy to the neighbour will remain indelible, ineffaceable inerasable in our hearts. Sleep well giant of Bulawayo, the queen of our hearts, the rose of Bulawayo: sleep well dear Sibare wami! Iqhawe lama qhawe: you are counted as one of them!


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Source - Nomazulu Thata
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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