My 2020 Reading List


You’d think a pandemic with many imposed lockdowns would have been a perfect time to break my own “_books read in a year” record but alas, I could not even make an “at least one book a month” goal. Feel free to judge me. I’m not judging myself. At least I’ve made it in time for World Book Day to bless you with this list.

1. My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

This was a fun way to start the year. I have told myself I’ll read more books by female African authors and my reading list from 2020 is riddled with them. I was pretty surprised with each turn the story took, which is weird considering the “serial killer” is in the book title. Not your usual thriller story and it was quite refreshing to have a female murderer in the books for a change. Haha

2. Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

This has to be the best autobiography I’ve ever read. (I don’t read many, but I’ll take recommendations for more). This is an account of the Nike founder Phil Knight and is great story of determination and business practice. Also one of those books I wish I had run into earlier in life. But the next best time is now, right?

3. Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling

I’m a Mindy Kaling fan. Nothing new here. This is a compilation of her life stories, a sequel to “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) which I’ve written about before. She makes light of her misfortunes and makes for a fun read.

4. Baby Proof – Emily Giffin

This was not my first Emily Giffin book either but I’ve enjoyed her other books more. Or 2020 was not really a chick lit year for me?

5. The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu

I’m biased towards books set at home. I loved the familiarity of the story and visualizing the streets of Harare. Tendai is on my 2021 to-be-read-list because I enjoyed The Hairdresser of Harare so much. I felt like I had travelled back home.

6. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

I looked for this book after I had watched the short series Little Fires Everywhere adapted from a novel by the same author. Have you watched the drama? I love dramas and Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon absolutely killed it. I’ll recommend both the book and the mini series. I’ll admit, I indulged in a lot of TV during quarantine. That could be part of the reason why I slacked in my reading 🙊😅 Celeste Ng is a genius. If you run into any of her books, please stop what you’re doing and read it.

7. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin

Another fun book from a female African author. This book follows the lives of the four wives of a Nigerian man. He’s just taken a new learned young wife and things seem to be changing for the family. It was fascinating to delve into the background of each of the wives and how they ended up with Baba Segi. I could see a few cultural practices and ideas similar to those at home that made me realize how we’re all the same in one way or the other.

The few ebooks I managed to read

8. Rotten Row – Petina Gappah

I think Petina Gappah is my favourite Zimbabwean author. After I read An Elegy of Easterly, it became my go-to item when I need to gift anyone something from home. Her short stories portray such a realistic picture of Zimbabwe that you’d think they’re true stories. There’s a combination of laugh out loud moments and heartbreaking stories.

9. What it Means when a Man Falls from the Sky – Lesley Nneka Arimah

Here’s another compilation of short stories but from a Nigerian Author. This is another instance I could see the stories from home reflected in the stories of other. (We really all are the same person.) During the lull times, when my brain can’t read (can we call it Reader’s Block?) I appreciate a good short story.

10. Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

The time way back in High school when everyone else went through a Dan Brown phase, I read The Da Vinci Code and stopped there. I guess it’s time to play catch-up. Funny enough, I recently watched The Two Popes on Netflix and I got to picture the Papal Conclave that’s in the book.



As you can see, my 12 book list is incomplete. Can I share list of TV shows I watched instead? I’d want to say “No Excuses 2021” but it’s almost May and I’ve just completed my first book 👀 Again, feel free to judge me 😃

A happy reading year to you all. Do share any fun books you come across.

Jo 😉

What I read in 2019


Now that I think about it, my 2018 goal to read 10 books in a year was such a breeze. I decided to up my game and challenge myself to reading 12 books in 2019. One book a month, still a feat for babies.

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama

I started off the year with the former FLOTUS’ book merely out of FOMO (fear of missing out). I have no regrets though, there’s a reason why it seemed like everyone was reading it. I enjoyed reading about the young Michelle growing up, her love life and her journey alongside Barack getting to the White House. This was my only autobiography in 2019 and it lived up to the hype that everyone gave it.

2. A Spark of Light – Jodi Picoult

This was my favourite book in 2019. The author tackles the different societal takes on abortion in a very fascinating way. I couldn’t put this book down. If I rated books I’d give it 5 Stars. Absolutely brilliant book. I’m looking forward to reading more of Jodi Picoult’s work. For the first time, I read the author’s note about the research process she carried out for her book and I learnt a lot more about the different arguments on abortion.

3. Blue like Jazz – Donald Miller

Donald Miller explains Christianity in a non-preachy way. Very honest look at how sometimes we as Christians like to make religion difficult for each other. You know any atheists or anyone questioning God? Send them a copy. (You can send it to your Christian friends too 😅)

4. The Ice Cream Girls – Dorothy Koomson

Dorothy Koomsoon is fun! The ending of this book was kind of dark and unexpected. Her two lead characters are such opposites and yet endured the same kind of emotional abuse. I’m one of those people who judge books by their covers, so I was was sold by the book’s title and cover (obviously had girls with ice creams). The story was not what I expected it to be from the cover but I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out there’s a Crime Drama TV adaptation of the book, if anyone is keen.

5. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

One of those books I wish I had read earlier in life. It’s basically a guide (somewhat) on how to show love to others in a way they understand love. I had a bit of a reflection when I was reading this book on what my love languages are and how they relate to how I’ve received and given love since I was a child.

6. The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang

I like to get back to fiction after a self help book. Reading for fun. Autistic girl looks for love. Very unconventional love story. I also read the author’s note here and I liked the background on the autism spectrum. I’ll definitely be learning more on conditions relating to socialization and communication.

7. The Woman He Loved Before – Dorothy Koomson

I had to read another Dorothy Koomsoon! In this novel, the author follows the stories of a woman and her husband’s late wife when she finds her (the latter’s) old journals. Riveting book! There’s prostitution from extreme poverty, drug abuse and even a pimp! All of it knitted in so well it plays on your sympathy. Excellent book!

8. The Looting Machine – Tom Burgis

There’s a lot of things I was clueless about with regards African geo-politics that I learnt through this book. Tom Burgis does a great job painting the political picture in a non-boring way. Eye opening account of post-colonial Africa. I’ll recommend this book to anyone’s who wants a quick overview on African post-colonial history.

9. An American Marriage – Tayari Jones

My second favourite book of the year. Compelling yet heartbreaking love story. No spoilers, I’m totally recommending this novel.

10. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams

Any fans of the “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” here? Here’s another one from Douglas Adams absolute funny play with fantasy and imagination. This is a pretty long book so be prepared for a long yet amusing journey through the impossible.

11. Normal People – Sally Rooney

Another unusual love story that doesn’t quite go the way that any of the other love stories I read normally progresses. The book follows the complex relationship between two friends all the way from High School until tertiary education.

12. Travelling Light – Max Lucado

Simple book on unburdening yourself while guiding you through Psalm 23. This was an superb way to wrap up the year!

I’m raising my bar again this year aiming to read 24 four books before the end of the year. I’m off to a great start! I’ll take any recommendations for your favorite books that I can read this year.

Until next year (for the next book update).

Jo 😉

2020 Resolutions for the Year and the Decade


New year, same old me, new benchmarks. New Decade too! Here’s a few of my goals for the new decade. What new goals have you set for yourself for this year?

  • Celebrate the small victories

Looking back at a whole decade seems a lot more reassuring than what I see when I reflect back a year at a time. Thank you 10 year challenge! The big picture yields a more satisfying feeling of achievement (in retrospect) when compared to the feelings associated with each small struggle in the moment. This year then I’ll take pride in the smaller battles that I conquer.

  • Be Kinder

When an opportunity to be kind arises, we take it

I think the world is a much better place when we are all kinder to each other and to our planet. This year I’ll work on being more gracious to the people I meet (my customers at work, my colleagues, the guy in the street). There’s a lot of angry people on the internet and I often see small disagreements online quickly escalating into unnecessary name calling and insults. I’ll encourage those around me and myself to respect the people we come across despite their religious denominations, racial backgrounds, sexual orientation or political affiliations. This Earth is big enough to accommodate everyone despite our differences.

“Be Kind to one another” Ellen Degeneres

  • Green efforts

There’s been a lot of conversation lately about global warming. The most prominent conversation as a result of 17 year old Greta Thunberg’s activism on climate change. I might not be speaking to political leaders on a global platform but I’ll do my best in my own space for change. Reusing what I can – plastic bags, clothing items. Reducing my waste – being mindful of how much water and electricity I abuse. Recycling when I can. I might seem like a miser when I choose not to pay for the plastic bag in the grocery store but my reusable bag is a progressive step in reducing single use plastic. Kindness to my planet Earth. 😉

  • Exercise Gratitude

In 2019 I challenged myself to exercise a little more gratitude. Every now and again (when I remembered) I made an effort to consciously think of a few things that I’m grateful for and jot them down. I feel like this exercise has helped keep my spirits up when I could easily have been feeling down by remembering that I have something to be grateful for. So of course, in 2020 I’ll keep up the attitude of gratitude.

  • Learn More

Actual representation of what I know versus the information in the world I could possibly learn.

We can never know too much, right? So in the spirit of continuing education, I’ll read more books – my 2020 reading goal is 20 books this year. Hopefully I complete a course or two in a different field from Pharmacy. One of my new favourite pastimes is listening to Youtube summaries of books that I enjoy. Anyone want to gift me an audiobook subscription?

I also intend to keep fit and eat healthy, as I get older my metabolism is slowing down. Self care and self love. Most importantly, I’ll pursue peace of mind and happiness at all times.

“Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.” – Robert Green Ingersoll.

A Happy 2020 to you all! A progressive and productive decade lies a head.


End the Partriachy


I find the idea of man bringing home the bacon to be “oh, romantic.” It’s the traditional idea of man I grew up with. My childhood neighborhood was full of those families, man goes off to forage in the concrete jungle and the women stay at home to clean and wash and raise the children. The man returns at the end of day, kicks the shoes off and waits to be fed before bed and tomorrow the same repeats. The dramas on tv had those same storylines too, the children’s books that taught me how to read portrayed that society as well. A lot of families have grown up like that. That’s the expected norm, man works, woman cooks.

Twenty first century, the situation has changed. The role of woman is changing. We have female presidents, prime ministers and even stay at home dads. Women are disrupting the status quo. But unfortunately for some males in the work place having females in leadership positions is unnerving to them. I speak from personal experience. I’ve had respectable men come up and ask to speak to a more senior person when they have been referred to me. They want to see someone… older? male? white? I’ve been in conversations about males who refuse to take instructions from young females in superior positions. The idea that a woman, the person whose role traditionally is to serve and take instructions can give the final word is unfathomable in their minds.

I’m curious, is this just a common trend in my part of the world? Does this happen outside of Africa? I mean women have repeatedly broken the glass ceiling but they are still viewed as if all they are good for is being inferior beings? Do you think the German Chancellor Angela Merkel has similar problems at the office? Do you think Jacinda all the way down south has to tell the people she’s the Prime Minister when people excuse her for the receptionist when she takes a call on the work phone? Is there room for more elected female presidents in Africa? Are we going to give a Bells to women who have been in the field all day to bring food to the table and still come home to cook and clean? Can we have more Hillarys campaigning for presidency and showing the young girls that women can lead too.

It’s fitting that today, South Africa is celebrating National Women’s Day, a day when back in 1956 women from all races came together to march against a common cause. Over 20 000 women protested the proposed amendments to “pass laws” that would affect black people in apartheid South Africa. Let’s celebrate the women who’ve gone out of their way to make life better for others; the mothers who have to lead families, the activists who sacrifice everything to sat and for a bigger cause, the girlfriends and the siblings.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Genesis‬ ‭2:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here’s to woman and the load on her head that cannot be quantified. Many years after suffrage the world over, the struggle continues for equality between the sexes in the work place and in society. But she continues the fight.

An interesting conversation on gender roles by one of my favourite IG pages @drawingsofdogs

Fake News in the Information Age


The internet is a truly wonderful place. If I could list all the pros of the ease to daily life brought by the internet, I would be at it all day. However, without the correct filters, the internet can be a deep dark abyss of infinite murk.

Information can be easily transmitted these days, thanx (or no thanks) to the internet. A few years ago, I discovered that my grandmother had passed away from Facebook before my mother had had the chance to call and inform me. A relative had received the devastating news and had decided to seek consolation from his facebook friends. I unknowing, procrastinating my last minute preparation for an exam went to pass time on the same platform and found out the terrible news. Should there be protocols or some sort of internet etiquette to how such news is shared on the internet? There was a conversation on Twitter once about the question is it respectful to share pictures of a bride or new baby before the bride herself or the mother has shared or given consent to have this information shared? How would you take seeing your loved one on some circulating pictures of a bad road carnage that has just occurred?

It’s just as easy to spread misinformation these days. You found a really good story on facebook? Does it further your own agenda? I once ran into a story where someone had shared a video of Hosea Kutako International Airport at peak times. The original poster clearly wrote that the video was at the mentioned airport in Namibia and was asking NAC (Namibia Airports Company) to do something about how they run the place when it’s a full capacity. In the comments section was a man who was clearly fed up with the government of the ANC (South Africa) and was irritated at how they were failing the country and he couldn’t keep up with all the renaming of places and things that has been taking place in the country, blah blah blah. Sigh. There is a lot of angry people on the internet. This man’s anger was easily ignited by a story that was not related to his problems but of course it was easy to share the post and add colorful insults to make his point.

Does it sound like your friends would love to know about it? A few days back I was going through my social media and I ran into a warning that cut onions become poisonous if they’re used a day later. The post was well presented with a big red warning that made it look very believable. It’s not the first time I’ve run into onion myths unfortunately. I’ve read before that a cut onion if left in the house can absorb the germs from the house making people heal faster and prevent illness. 🙄 A quick search on the internet would obviously quickly dispel such false claims but clicking the share button is even much quicker (and easier?). What I find more annoying is these messages sent via IM with “share to save a life” tag. I constantly find myself being the party pooper in a chain message with stop sign and an “Well, actually…”. If it’s not miraculous cancer cures, it’s quick cold remedies or overnight melt the belly fat recipes.

Does it sound like a great Medical discovery? I once nearly fell for a nicely wrapped story about a 101 old lady who had given birth after a “successful ovary transplant”. This news blew me over, I was so excited and quickly shared the story and then went on to look up the details of this great leap in medical advancement. However, this is when I got the red flags. Most false stories are click bait that lead to pages riddled with ads and usually the same story is shared word for word on all these sites. I quickly had my aha moment and removed my shared post but who knows how far the news had travelled?

Picture from the internet. Historically accurate.

So how hard is it to verify information before we share it? Here’s to taking a moment to think about the messages we share and being ambassadors of the truth. Spread love!

Jo 😉

I just had to add another one!

My 2018 Reading List


Turns out that the 7th of March is World Book Day (in the UK). It’s funny that the UK sometimes has unique holidays compared to the rest of the world. I decided then that today is the perfect day to write about the books I read in 2018. I know I’m a few weeks late, as the year is already in its third month but better late than never, right?

A few years ago, I saw a tweet from someone who had challenged herself to read at least 25 books in that year. I thought to myself, well that’s not too bad, 25 books is doable. That’s at least 2 books a month. I gave myself an easy start with a 10 book goal for 2015. I started compiling my list of books that I read and it turns out I’m not such a reader as I had initially thought. In all fairness, I watch a lot of tv… So finally, 3years later, I met my goal!

  1. Twenties Girl – Sophie Kinsella

I’ve read quite a few of Sophie Kinsella’s books and I really enjoy them. This was a very funny story which is a good getaway from reality. I’ll recommend to anyone who likes fiction and enjoys to laugh in a book.

2. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

This book, I later discovered was made into a movie. Although most movies I’ve watched after I’ve read the books were a little disappointing, I’m actually looking forward to checking this one out. It’s an intense thriller with an unexpected ending and because I enjoy watching crime dramas, this book was right up in my alley. I just couldn’t wait to get to the end to see how the story would unfold.

2. The Fault in our Stars – John Green

When I started reading this book I had already heard about the movie and a friend of mine had told me that the story was so sad she had cried at the cinema. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I’ll recommend it to anyone who needs a good cry and a laugh. Such a great story about young love even though it’s heartbreaking in the end.

4. The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas – John Boyne

This was a quick light read that I had borrowed from a friend. I’ve been told the movie is not as PG 13 as the book. It’s set in WW2 Auschwitz and follows a 9 year old German boy’s story in a world ravaged by war. A weekend read, fun and innocent considering everything else that was going on in that time in history.

5. We’re going to need more Wine – Gabrielle Union

In 2017 I read Trevor Noah’s book, Born a Crime which was my very first autobiography. I never considered biographies to be an interesting read but now I’m a fan! Gabrielle Union’s book is like a doorway into her life and I got to experience (from her own words) her life as a black woman in entertainment. It’s quite fascinating to read about how other people have lived their lives, the challenges they have faced and their relationship experiences. She narrates it so well you’ll feel like you’re hanging out with a girlfriend over wine!

6. The Jackrabbit Factor. A story – Leslie Householder

This is another short story and my very first self help book. I actually started reading it by chance. I decided I’m not entirely against non-fiction books.

7. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kawasaki

I wish I had read this book sooner when I was much younger. I think everyone should read this book at least once in their lives.

8. We need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo 

The lady in the book shop where I bought this book highly recommended that I buy We need New Names. Very fun and amusing book. Follows the story of a Zimbabwean girl from the slum all the way to the United States. (I didn’t even buy it in Zim!)

9. Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me and other concerns – Mindy Kaling

I have a whole blog post about this book here. I’m a Mindy fan girl, I love her work on TV and I indulged this book. I can’t wait to read her other book “Why not Me?” I love comedy and I like when anyone can take their life experiences with little bit of humor.

10. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

After reading A Fault in our Stars and The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas I just had to read this book. The book was written as journal entries by an 11 year old girl hiding in an attic with her family. It’s a gripping story to follow how the relationships among people forced to live in a small space for a long time develop over time. The story is very sad in the end as well as just thinking about the atrocities that were going on at that time.

This list is not necessarily a review of the books I’ve read but merely a list of books I read. I’ve enjoyed some of them and others were alright. Books are added to the list as I complete them so some books I might have started them the previous year but I have listed them in year that I completed them.

I’ll see you next year for my 2019 reading list! The stakes are up, 12 books this year.

Jo 😉

The Attitude of Gratitude


The first month of 2019 has come to a close already. How time flies! Despite the fact that people like to joke about how January feels like it’s unusually long, I feel like this month has sped by just like that! Now that the first 12th of the year has gone by, if I may know, how well have you kept up with your goals for the year? My main goal for this year is to be truly grateful for all that I have. Sometimes we immerse ourselves so much in our frustrations, be it our jobs, our personal relationships or our pockets that seem to be always almost empty that we take for granted what we actually have. Think about it, at some point you sent out an application for that job that you have now and anxiously waited for a response. You prayed and prayed that you’d get it. Then you got it! So remember to be grateful for that opportunity that befell you.

As 2018 was winding up, I saw a lot of people sharing their highlights and blessings of the year while enthusiastically praying for more in the new year. What I noticed as a common trend was gratitude for all the grace. It truly warms my heart when people have the humility to recognize that the glory belongs to a higher power. I’m reminded of a song from my childhood that went, “when you’ve been blessed, don’t forget to remember to thank the Lord.” So of course, I think it’s fitting that I started my year making a daily effort to think of at least one thing I’m grateful for. It could be seemingly small things like finally getting home to sit and rest after a particularly daunting day or an uplifting phone call with mother. Here’s what I’ve noticed, when I take the time to think about what I’m blessed with, I feel much better than when I concentrate on what I do not have.

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬

I recently had an interesting conversation with one of my colleagues. She had a hip replaced a few years back and she’s almost always in pain because of one or the other ailments in her bones or joints or muscles or… But as we stood there just after she had purchased some pain relief medication she said to me, “You know what, I’m grateful that I can afford to buy the medication I need for my pain.” I smiled as I thought to myself that by just shifting her attitude she saw her situation in a positive light. I imagine it could have been easy to complain about why she has pain or what a tedious process it is to get her medication refilled at the state hospital but instead, all she had was gratitude.

So here’s to remembering the little gifts we get from God everyday and saying thank you. And here’s a challenge to be grateful to the service providers that get up despite whatever they may be going through and give an A class service all the time. Here’s to appreciating those that make our lives easier without complaining, the sacrifices from family, listening ear from friends or the warm shelter we have in the face of an approaching polar vortex!

Stay Positive! Stay Grateful! Happy 2019.

Jo 😉

One of my favourites


Mindy is Kaling is one my favourite people. I don’t normally keep track of who or what’s on my favourite lists but she’s been on it for sometime now. I discovered her in the show “The Mindy Project” then later “The Office.” When I like someone I sort of get a mild healthy obsession about them and follow their posts on all their social media and take in chunks of information about them from the internet. (I would like to add that recently the internet makes it very easy to devour information related to whatever you follow in large quantities by remembering your preferences and giving back suggestions whenever there’s new details about them online. If you’ve ever tried to google what a certain car looks like just the one time you’ve probably had your google feed flooded with all those new posts about the car’s latest model release date or safety certificates awarded to it on another continent somewhere.)

When I learnt about Mindy’s books “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns,” “Why Not Me?” and “Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk to Myself,” I just had to read them. I mean those titles just scream to be read! I’m currently reading “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me!” and boy is it amazing to get into someone’s life and read an account of their life in their own words. I’ve recently started reading autobiographies, the first being Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” and earlier this year I read Gabrielle Union’s “We’re Going to Need More Wine.” I am concurrently reading Shonda Rhimes’s “The Year of Yes.” Disclaimer: I watch a lot of TV and that’s how I end up reading TV people’s books. I’ve been a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” for years and I, along with millions of people around the world followed Olivia Pope show us how’s to fix White House scandals for over seven seasons. (I have watched “How to Get Away with Murder,” “The Practice” and seen her guest appearance on “The Mindy Project” among other of her productions. What can I say, I’m a fan. Shrug)

If you’ve never read an autobiography before, you should try it. Find out if one of the people you admire or are curious about have books written about them. There’s a whole lot of reading material on soccer players, saints or dictators. It’s better than following the tabloids for juicy stories. It’s an honest account of a person’s life and if you’re lucky you get to see bits of yourself in that story too. And you can’t be more honest to yourself than when you’re reading someone else’s story. I love comedy and reading Mindy’s book is a combination of two of my favourite things. Reading and watching comedy. And it’s even better because I read it in her voice. I could give a summary but I enjoyed the book so much I might just end up transcribing the whole book here. Here’s the power of dreams, the book was written in 2011 and she has a chapter where she writes parody movies she’d want to make and one of them was a prequel to the Oceans Movies (Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen) and she’s call it Ocean’s Five because apparently there was just too many people in those movies. Well, Mindy Kaling is in the 2018 Ocean’s Eight. How amazing is that.

On my reading list for the near future is Kevin Hart’s “I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons” (because comedy, duh!) and Priyanka Chopra’s “Unfinished.” Too bad that book came out before her engagement, I’d love to read her small details to that story. Priyanka Chopra is on my favourite people list too.

I guess in summary, I watch too much TV. I’m at peace with that. I’m a fan girl. That’s undeniable. I’ve been having too much writing this post and I’m going back to reading my book.

Jo 😉

Ps. I’ve been doing a lot of reading a lot that’s why I haven’t been writing much. I’ll be back soon.

The big Picture


Have you ever found yourself in such a fix that you just don’t know how to wiggle free? I’ve been in such a spot more times than I can count. Each time the best advice I got was that “everything would work out in the end.” Well, when you’re stuck and feeling hopeless that’s the last thing you need to hear. Of course the end seems so far away when you’re in pain or at a loss. You need everything to work out now. Some other common advice I’ve received to cope with a feeling of being stuck is remembering all the things you’re grateful for to help feel better. I find myself exhaling quite constantly in a given timeframe when I feel trapped and overcome by exhausting thoughts.

I have been in such beautifully orchestrated muddles that I think my own reality show would seem like a well scripted drama. Even the things I was meant to be grateful for seemed like a curse. Imagine just being freshly unemployed then getting evicted and soon after that finding out your tax claims might just be a problem because you were erroneously given a wrong tax number a year back. I sigh. I exhale. As I recall those times now I feel relief that I managed to get through that tunnel and there was light on the other end. It’s not a myth! There’s always light at the end! The Lord came through for me. Here’s the beauty of it, had I known what I know now about that situation back then, I could have worried less. I should have been like Father Abraham, the man of faith. A few months later, I was in a fix again. I (and many other people I’m sure) am like the Israelites freed from Egypt who questioned God every few thousand miles on their way to the promised land. “Take us back to Egypt!” They called to Moses very time they encountered a small obstacle in their journey.

We can get lost concentrating on the negative sometimes. How the company downsizing has left us unemployed, how the unexpected downpour has dampened the hopes of a football match we’ve been anticipating for weeks. But while we are sour about the one door of opportunity that’s been closed, we fail to recognise the other windows of opportunity that are open for us. Maybe that job was holding you back from investing more time in a hobby you think is only for your spare time. Before you know it, you have made a more fulfilling job from what you really enjoy spending your time on job. That unexpected rain had been in the prayers of some other farmer not far from you. That was his miracle from what could have been a disastrous loss. He’s celebrating his miracle right now. That’s the big picture.

It’s okay when we don’t understand the whole story. In our moments of trial, we should put our trust in God, have a little faith. (Easier said than done.) I recently learnt of the word Selah. It’s one of those Hebroic words that can’t quite be fully explained in English but basically means Pause. Trust and wait. So I sit in my corner and wait. I don’t know what is expected of me. I can’t see the big picture. But I know that I have to wait.



The different languages of the world separate us making it difficult for the nomad that is me to sprout up in a place and immediately integrate. I lived for 6 years in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where Xhosa is the dominant black language. Note: black language. The white people speak English or Afrikaans, the coloured speak Afrikaans and the black people (in the Eastern and Western Cape) speak Xhosa. That means, I as a black person was expected to speak Xhosa. What made it more of a challenge was that my work in retail Pharmacy requires that I talk to people all the time. Imagine this old makhulu walking into the Pharmacy and feeling relieved that she’s going to be served by a black woman in vernacular only to discover that this person only speaks English! I did try to learn the language, obviously. By the time I left South Africa, I could comfortably go through greetings in IsiXhosa then switch to English and have to explain that I wasn’t Xhosa. At that point my old makhulu or tate would have no qualms about speaking English with me even relating a story about how their neighbour or so and so is also Zimbabwean!

Image from

Then I moved to the South of Namibia, “the land of the brave.” The region has a rich mixture of culture. The original Nama people, San descendants are a minority to the swarms of migrants from all parts of the country and the world. South Africa is very interesting linguistically because each geographical location has its own African languages dominant in it. This made it easy for me as I only had to familiarize myself with one black language as long as I remained in that part of the country. Namibia’s history makes the language story all the more colourful. Unlike in South Africa where the black people refuse to speak Afrikaans, Apartheid left Afrikaans as the second most spoken language in Namibia. Black, White or Coloured, if you don’t speak English then you probably speak Afrikaans in addition to whatever African language you speak. Then comes the foreigner that is me to settle in this language stew. When the ouma comes to the young Pharmacist for help, she tries to explain her condition in Afriakaans and the meme has to explain the consistency of her baby’s stool in OshiWambo. Babel. Sigh

When people walk into the pharmacy there’s a whole different language tha a layman may not be familiar with. I have to remember this before I try to correct someone who comes to ask for a repeat on their “subscription” or their “chronicles.” Foreign languages can be a headache. In the same light Pharmacy is when I have to explain how a generic medicine is the same thing that the Doctor has written even though he didn’t use the exact same words. In the mean time I’ve mastered what sooibrand, verkour and griep are so I’m good… until I find myself in another language zone or somebody comes with a condition I still need to learn the Afrikaans terms for. I’ll remember the days when I couldn’t spell Rautenbach let alone pronounce Lategaan. We all have our journeys!

So here’s to embracing our different backgrounds learning a few words at a time of each other’s languages.

Happy Africa Day.

Jo 😉