By Nomali Cele
After DJ Zinhle gave birth to her first child and she was juggling new motherhood, criticism for going back to work “too early” and being in the limelight, she took her fans into her confidence about another challenge she had been facing. Her partner had cheated and the relationship was over. Everyone who follows popular culture and gossip immediately took a side in the matter. But one of the most enduring byproducts of that time in her life is her now-iconic best friendship with actress Pearl Thusi. In the years since the two found each other, they’ve been jet-setting and raising their young daughters side-by-side. Their, and many other friendships between women, show us why women need close woman friends.
There’s no denying that we all need a close community around us and, for women, we can be what the other needs for each other. Who else knows what we go through daily than other people who share our circumstances. But this isn’t about empty “girl power” or “sisterhood,” it’s about the quest for a true community where you are supported, loved and get to be a whole human being in ways our families, work and romantic relationships do not allow us to be.
Women need close woman friends! Here’s how we help build each other
We’ve all been there
You know when they say experience is the best teacher? They are lying. Being surrounded by people whose experiences mirror your own can be freeing. It can also stop you from making monumental mistakes because those in your chosen tribe are likely to have warned you.
From dating and romance to work and business, her group of close friends might be the difference between an Afropolitan woman and a huge mistake. Of course, this depends on her heeding their warnings.
In the event that you haven’t listened to their advice and warnings, your group of close woman friends is the one place you can run to lick your wounds. In these friendships, you will be allowed to be a person who stumbles and falls. This isn’t always guaranteed in our families or romantic relationships.
Who better to understand how it feels to work hard and still not get the project or the bonus? These people will not just motivate you to get back in the ring, they will give you a safe space to feel the loss.
If you want to go far and all that
There’s a proverb that’s been vaguely attributed as “African,” which rings true in its assertion that “if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.” Isn’t that the truth of our lives? It’s the people around an Afropolitan woman (those who are there for a reciprocal relationship) who pick up the slack and allow her to reach for the moon.
I see you
For most women, as much as our families and our partners love us, it’s often hard for them to see us for who we are. Beyond trying to live up to the expectation of perfection in our roles as partners, mothers, daughters, career women, breadwinners and more, can our loved ones see who we are and who we want to be? Not being seen fully is why women need close woman friends who will embrace them, cheer for them and gather them.
If you are fortunate enough to have a trustworthy, reciprocal and caring community around you, appreciate them.