NOTICE: This will be a long read from me, but it will be worth it!! Read and be inspired…
Today (28th July 2020), marks 22years since my father passed on. I have never had the time to sit down and write some reflections on this before, but today I made a decision to share some thoughts to challenge and inspire someone who may be in a similar situation.
This article will give you a sneak peek into my life, and will enable you to understand why I speak the way I speak, and what I speak. 22 years ago, I was just a small boy doing Form 1, wearing school uniform from Mucheke High School who walked into the dining room from to find his father lying on the sofa.
I recall showing him marks for one of my subjects, and he replied, “congratulations son, keep working hard.” Midnight, he eventually gave up and passed on. That was also my first time to come into contact with a dead body, as he died in my mother and I’s hands. Life changed!
My mother was a housewife. All her life she had not sold anything to make any extra dollar. My Father was your typical husband who wanted to see a housewife when he came back from work.
Now, five children, one parent! The last born was still breastfeeding (now a First Year Law student at the University of Zimbabwe). I was wearing shoes, that I had been using since Primary School in Grade 6.
I had been promised a boarding school transfer to Dadaya for the Second term from Mucheke High School, but reality struck that it was not going to happen.
The shoes I was wearing had to make sense. I remember visiting the cobbler until the shoe could no longer be repaired. We had to move from the four rooms that we had been using, to two rooms so that we could get rentals from the other two rooms.
Five children, and a parent in one bedroom for years, that was to be the life we moved into. Nothing is permanent by the way!
Losing a parent is not easy. Truth be told, it happens nevertheless unless if you predecease them. Life still has to move on. Mourning is for a season. With the pension we got from the District Development Fund (“DDF”), mama was wise enough to draw a plan extending the full house. The foundation was built, and we were left with money enough to fund the building of one room for renting purposes.
The room was built and we had a tenant. Mama went into the streets to sell bananas for us to go to school, and having food on the table. She was constantly harassed by the Masvingo municipal police and our own Zimbabwe Republic Police for selling in the streets. She used to operate at a shop called Maworesa for those who know Masvingo.
Say whatever you want about vendors, I have so much respect for these wonderful men and women who are working hard for their families to eke an innocent living. This is where I came from.
She moved from the streets, and started crossing the border to Mozambique where she would sell various wares via Border Sango, during some of the worst times where nothing could be found on the shelves.
We would have rice from Mozambique and other foodstuffs from these entrepreneurial ventures. I thank my maiguru Mai Chimusaru for mentoring mama in cross border trading, life began to improve as she started going to South Africa. She did this at a great sacrifice to her health.
Today she suffers from a back problem. All this in order to ensure that we can have a life. You see I do not mince my words, I have no respect for any “Papa” or whatever title they may chose who does not tell you to go and take of your parents before taking any offering for themselves from the congregants. I prioritise my mother before any “Papa”. I have a story! I will touch on this as I close the write up.
Fight for the fatherless
My father left a herd of 22 cattle, and all of that disappeared. There were some mischievous circles from my paternal side who wanted us to be relocated to the rural areas, with no plan as to how they were going to be taken care of.
They just wanted to see us there. We grew with the aid from my maternal family. None from my paternal side even paid school for one term. Here we are today! Why do I say all this? Because there is a young widow reading this message today, and is in that situation.
I do not share this story as a sign of bitterness, but as a sign of strength. I am past this. To this young woman I speaking to, do not give up! Be strong for your children! Vana vanokura “Children grow”, that’s what my mother always says to those women who would have been bereaved. She is not lying.
I would like to acknowledge, Petros Kativhu, my mother’s brother who went beyond being an uncle and become our father and mentor.
I call him “dad” proudly. A teacher who was able to sacrifice from the little resources he had for us to have a better life. We finished building the Masvingo house through his intervention.
My school fees were paid to University level together with my young ones. When I started working in 2009, I talked to him and “sekuru, let me take the fees from here.
” I took up the challenge, and I am happy that today out of the 5 of us, 4 now have Degrees, and a life of their own, and the last one doing is Law studies. God is good!
Inspiration for many of my talks
I never thought that I would a public speaker like what I am doing now. At most thought that I would be a Pastor, until one day I realised that God had put a burden on my heart to encourage people. My inspiration, comes from my story. Seeing the grace of God every day. When I stand in front of the many huge platforms that I speak before I am always asking myself, “…is it really me?” That is God’s grace. I have a deep passion to see lives change, and my message is to challenge people to rise up, believe in themselves and change their narrative.
With no secondary education, my parents were able to build a four-roomed house, and when my father died, we had somewhere to stay without paying rent. I am on record saying, “Don’t park an expensive vehicle on a rented property.
” My father was almost tempted at one point in time to buy a car, but wisdom visited him, and in 1997, together with mama they bought a stand in Rujeko B, and they started building from the little resources they had from their farming ventures in the rural home in Guruve. We would walk to Rujeko at times to go and clean the stand, whilst builders were working.
In December 1997, we left the one room provided by DDF at Chief’s Hall in Masvingo to our own place. On 28th July 28, 1998 my father died. He could not live in the house for more than 7 months, but he left us with something solid.
When I am challenging people to focus on home ownership rather than splashing money on expensive cars where they cannot sleep in when night comes, it’s inspired by what I saw.
Your family will not live in a car when you die. Invest in something more solid, and prepare your family for your absence.
I don’t what you drive until I know where you park it at night. Move to your stand, and build a temporal structure whilst you build the main thing. The discomfort will drive you to work father, and even harder.
You see, I never went to school to learn how to speak. I have a “C” in English at “O”, and “A” Level, and a Third-Class in University Communication Skills. Generally, speakers tend to boast of their amazing resume to justify their presence on stage. I have no amazing resume. I have a simple story learnt from my Grade 7 parents, who birthed an attorney, author and speaker that I am today. My challenge to you today is you can turn around your life.
If you plan on inviting me to speak to your team, be prepared for blunt conversations. I do not believe in beating by the bush, let’s just tell each other elementary facts that inspire transformation. I tell people that I am not a motivational speaker, I am a transformational speaker. I am so blessed to have a mother. My heart is torn when I see people with both parents harassing them, and busy being champions at church and devils at home. Be a blessing to your parents or anyone who is alive who played a significant role in your life. Bless them!
The last part of the article is going to challenge into some serious thinking.
“A mother can take care of seven children, but seven children can fail to take care of 1 person”. I saw this quote and it provoked me to immense anger and thought.
This is what many people are doing. Children who have small houses that they are spoiling with expensive gifts, iphones, cars, clothes, shopping vouchers, you name it, fail to take care of their own mothers in the rural areas who are languishing in poverty.
I do not know what happens to people; they become so exceptionally generous when it comes to strangers, yet very inhuman and cruel when it comes to their own families.
You might have a better background but that does not mean you have no role to play. Always look for opportunities to minister and reach out to them. Telephone calls can mean a lot. Have you ever imagined the amount of time you spend on the phone with strangers, yet you do not even know how your mother or father is doing? Think seriously and think deep.
Take care of your family
“To all those who did nothing for their mums…. but contributed towards the Pastor or Prophet’s wife Mother’s Day gift at church. Today…… I pray your fuel runs out whilst driving past the State House…”.
I think you might have an idea of what will happen if you run out of fuel at this stage. I do not usually like sharing jokes on social media, but this one is not just a joke, but wisdom couched in comical format. This is what many people do; they take care of other people and neglect their own families.
Nothing wrong with taking care of your “spiritual mothers” and “spiritual fathers” but everything wrong in hypocrisy of taking care of them when your own parents are languishing in poverty and problems. Who do you want to take care of your family?
Any church that does not teach you to take care of your parents and your family is not a good church for you. In fact, leave it! I said it! Any Pastor, Prophet or Papa who does not teach and remind you to go and take care of your mother and father is not a good one.
If you are a Pastor, Prophet or Papa and reading this article, challenge your flock to go and bless their parents. Even if those parents do not go to church, they are still your parents. God chose and used them for that assignment.
Some people don’t even want to see church because of what they see church people do. I look forward to days when churches have “Parents’ Day” where they celebrate parents in their presence.
I prioritise my family in every aspect, and in terms of time. I cancel speaking engagements to go and see my mother if she is not well. I drove midnight one day to Masvingo when I picked that my brother had been injured by a baseball and suffered a fracture. My mother had tried to hide this from me fearing that I would drive. Who do I find at Morgenster Mission that night, my mother next to my last-born brother. She was detained for the whole weekend until the boy was discharged after being detained.
I drove to Masvingo to speak to my last-born brother before the examinations. I speak to thousands of children and motivate them to success. I also want those close to me to benefit first hand as well.
You did not fall from heaven
This is the truth we are not emphasising. No matter what title you are given, you did not fall from heaven. There is some old woman who went through a lot for you to be where you are today. Remember her, and if she is not there, remember whoever took the role.
I thank God that I have been able to reach out to many people through these articles, and live talks. This is possible because of one woman who believed in me, and stood with me through difficulties. Now I am here!
Decent lives, must precede decent burials
For some weird reasons we value decent burials without considering whether there was a decent life. Give your parent a decent life first, and honour them with a decent funeral when their time comes.
Funerals unearth worst forms of hypocrisies, Christians included, and we look smart and dress well to attend funerals of people we never cared for.
Do not speak volumes you never spoke during a person’s life time. I have refused to spoil my mother in death; I want to spoil her in life. She now has a driver’s license; and drives a car in her own name. That was a Christmas gift I gave her one of the Christmases. I took her to South Africa with my brother and asked her to choose a car she wanted. Now a Grade 7 drop out, widowed at a young age, is driving her own car. I see some people spoiling strangers with money on Instagram and social media for some weird and dubious acts and I am always driven to some serious thoughts about the integrity of some of these forms of generosity.
I cannot do everything; I commit to do what I can! One of my success secrets, is I have a woman praying for me daily because I reach out to her.
To all single mothers
There is no child without a father, but there is a father without a child. There are fathers who father and leave their children. Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a “dad”. You might have been abandoned, and left with children. Take care of them no matter how difficult it might be.
Show them a good example you would want them to live with. One day, your children will grow and be a blessing.
To all the young widows, be strong for your children’s sake. Give them an example you would want them to emulate. Soon, we will be sharing the story.
Do not look for a “blesser”. Let God be your “blesser” and work with your own hands.
My mother is committed to counselling widows, single mothers. I will share her with you contacts on request if you reach to me using the number below. She is equally blunt but very practical in her advice. I take after her.
I did this article to say thank you to my mother on this day. I love you “Soko”. One of the greatest privileges I have ever had has been to speak in her presence in a live audience of over 18,000 people. What an honor!
Has this article inspired you? If yes, call your mother or father if they are alive and just tell them how much you love them.
Arthur Marara is a corporate law attorney, keynote speaker, corporate and personal branding speaker commanding the stage with his delightful humour, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. He is a relationship counsellor and is passionate about addressing the issues of wellness, strategy and personal development. Arthur is the author of the “Personal Development Toolkit”, “Keys to Financial Freedom”, “Keys to Effective Time Management” among other inspirational books. Join his WhatsApp Groups where he shares inspirational materials by sending “Inspired365” to +263718867255. Please read instructions before joining.