Letters by Afropolitan Women

By Motlagae Konyana

Afropolitan women write about their experiences in the journey of their lives,  they share their lessons,  they are achievements and their happy moments.

I am powerful beyond measure…

When you were in your twenties and thirties,  I over worked you, criticized you and never acknowledge your hard work. I accused you of being weak and not good enough. I accused you of being irresponsible and for never getting anything right.
What I didn’t realize was how heavy these accusations weighed on you and made you tired, and took away all the energy you needed to raise two daughters as a single mom. Yes I neglected to acknowledge your strength, your loving and caring nature and your dedication and commitment to doing your best to create a loving home for the children, and to take care of all their needs.
In my negative space I demanded that you work harder and provide more. And as you worked harder to advance your career, I accused you of being an absent mother who does not make time for her children.
I made you run around like a mad woman, always having to prove yourself. Until minute by minute, day by day I realized how I have been beating you up and demanding that you be a better person, a better mom, an outstanding employee.
I looked at you in the mirror and you looked back at me. For the first time I looked into your eyes and confessed all that I have done to you to make you afraid of life, to make you feel weak and insecure. I confessed for putting other people before you, always wanting to please others and not standing up for yourself when others disrespected you and abused your love and trust.
With tears streaming down my face, I asked you to forgive me. And I committed to a new intention. I choose to love and take care of you like I have been doing all these years- but was too highly strung to see how strong and determined you have been.
You have been courageous when times were tough. You have looked after your spiritual and physical health.  You have walked out of abusive relationships and stood up for yourself when you were being bullied and undermined.
You have showed up in your life and became a leader and a pioneer. You have empowered yourself and others.  In the words of Marianne Williamson: “Your greatest fear has been that you are powerful beyond measure. It is your light not your darkness that most frightens you. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure around you. As you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”

You have become a solid rock hat does not move during a dark stormy night.

– By Anonyomous 

I am a fighter,  I am conqueror & I am a woman and I can…..

I learnt from a very young age that the world we live in is not kind … especially to women. In my first year of university, I was sexually assaulted at a party I went to with my friends. I don’t think that the assault was my biggest problem… the biggest problem was the latter when I told my then boyfriend what had happened to me and his response was: “Why did you go to the bathroom on you own? Where were your friends? What were you thinking? Why would you put yourself in danger?”

I remember thinking “why can’t I go to the bathroom on my own? I was thinking I need the toilet. Did I invite this into my space? Is it may fault

These are questions I wrestled with for few years. Recently however, I realized that to think it was ever my own fault is utter… HORSESHIT. We are made to believe that our position in society is below that of a man. We have to always prove ourselves and justify our positions so much so that you have to justify and motivate why being raped was not your fault.

It’s something that should trouble me every day but I made the conscious decision to not let it consume me or define me. I choose to celebrate my survival and the second chance at life I was given. I celebrate my independence and all the opportunities that have been afforded to me. I am afraid at times but I refuse to let it be a limiting factor for me. Some days I am angry but I choose to let it be a motivation as why I need to succeed. We need to change the world needs.

A lot of women are defined by their life experiences and I often wonder what my life would have been like had it not been for the lessons I had to learn. Today I am resilient. I am independent. I am a lover of life. I am a survivor. I am a fighter. I am a conqueror. I am a woman and I can.

– By Anonymous 

You are a phenomenal woman….

When the sun starts shining in your life and things finally seem like they are going according to the plan it is very easy to forget the trials and tribulations that you faced in order to get to where you are today. Shaped by the scars that lie deep beyond the smile that you wear so effortlessly every day I am actually proud of the young woman you have become today.

Without the proper understanding of the real effects of sexual abuse on a young vulnerable girl it was very easy for everyone looking on the outside to label you as a rebel without a cause.

With anger seeping through your pours at every turn you built walls around your little heart simply because you believed him when he said no one would take your word for it.

You didn’t bother to speak out about the daily pain that came with being the sexual object of a man in your family who was often entrusted with the duty of taking care of you.

All you wished on most days was that he would hurt you so much that it would literally suck the life out of you and you wouldn’t need to wake up to face another day.

The question of why no one seemed to notice that something was wrong with you made you believe that maybe you deserved the ongoing abuse.

At a very tender age you made the decision to break the chain of self-blame and self-doubt and stand up against what you knew in your heart was wrong.

This, my dear was the best decision you could have made for yourself.

As if the universe was glad to finally see you taking control of your life, where there was once pain and anger were diamond sparkles of strength and conviction.

The victim mentality was quick to leave your being with the proper understanding that you were not to blame.

The unfortunate trials that stole your innocence and held your happiness captive for a very long time were soon a thing of the past and did not define who you are all the things you were meant to achieve.

People often ask you how it is that you manage to keep it together and keep going. Being a single mother, a full time employee, a student, a daughter, a sister and a friend those are all roles that you seem to play with such ease. They ask because they don’t know what you had to endure in order to develop your tough skin.

Managing to find the understanding that you cannot control the behaviour of other people and that what they choose to do and how they choose to act is not a reflection of you is one of the best gifts you gave yourself.

It all starts within you and having the courage to take the first step towards self-healing.

It will always be an ongoing process and times will come when you don’t always get it right.

Remember to always have the courage to try again. You are a phenomenal woman and with every day that passes your best is all that you need to give. Its okay to get tired, Its okay to get mad. Take time out to cry about the things that make you sad but always remember not to cry about it ever again.

There is no such thing as failure; it’s just an opportunity for you to do better and try a little harder

Remember the young girl you were? The one without a voice? The scared one who believed that there was absolutely no way to overcome adversity? That little girl is now an amazing young woman

Believe that… Always

– By Anonymous

I am an Afropolitan woman…

Upon the reflection of my life, I am filled with joy and gratitude of the woman I have become. Life may not have always been easy, but I am deeply moved by my will too succeed every time life planned to pull me down. I am filled with pride that despite the many difficult times, I have persevered and embraced each challenge to be the Afropolitan woman I am today.

My courage and fearless nature has served me very well, it has supported me though many times when I was told that as I woman I should know my place or my leadership capacity questioned by the virtue of being a woman. Never listen to those voices, I have taken every negative word said about me and used it to break through the glass ceiling, creating a trail that allows me to take other young women on this journey with me, in a very male-dominated industry, whilst leading with grace and integrity.

I have also learnt that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a long journey and we are not just in it to win. Please be gentle with yourself and embrace all your learnings whilst cherishing your experiences, because they truly are divinely fated. I am here now exactly where I need to be, using the lessons that I have learnt along the way, to become a better person every day.

It is important to know what love really means, and how to love yourself unconditionally. I am blessed to experience this everyday through my husband, children, extended family, friends, colleagues and our Afropolitan listeners.

My message to those reading this note as we celebrate Women’s Month, may I take this moment to remind you to never settle for the easy way—just don’t settle for anything that is not serving you well in your life.

– By Anonymous 

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