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International Women’s Day


Today is the International Women’s Day. I want to take this opportunity to salute every woman who has made an impact in my life. I will try to mention them all here. If however I forget you, please forgive me.


The first and foremost, the late Mirriam (nee Mudadada) Vere, my mother. She was the first strong woman in my life. She taught me that no matter what circumstances, a woman must always make things happen (I have borrowed this year’s theme). After my father died, she made sure  completed my Diploma in Education even though she was unemployed. I remember even when I was younger, how she toiled in the fields with either me or one of my siblings on her back. I salute you mum. And I’m sorry I never said it to you while you were alive. Thank you for your support and hard work.

I also salute the late Vimbai Vere, my sister. You took after our mother and you did your best to raise your children the way our mother showed us how. You are the only older sister I had and you left a huge void in my life.

Thank you to a strong, determined woman, Amanda Benson, for taking my husband under your wing. You are the mother he never had. And when I arrived in the picture you welcomed me and you love me like your own daughter. I am where I am because of you, I am forever in your debt. Thank you  for being a wonderful and loving ouma to my children. Happy women’s day mum!

There is an old woman who lived in Western Kempton Park (Village), Johannesburg who touched my life in a way I can not forget. This woman was a white woman, very old but she never saw any colour. She heard my son crying one day when I had left to give extra classes which was my sole source of income at that time. While everyone in the neighbourhood heard him  cry, including my landlady a fellow Zimbabwean woman named Jane, only this old woman came out of her house and comforted my son. She offered my sons sweets and calmed the little one down. She didn’t know me, I didn’t know her either but, this act of kindness blossomed into a strong bond that has until now not been broken. She referred to me as her daughter. She was the angel God sent into my life while I was in despair. I later moved and came here to Vereeniging and years later, we were still in touch until two years ago when my phone which had her number got stolen. I will never forget you Tannie. The world, especially South Africa would be a better place if we had more Tannies who see a person as a human being and not as black or white.

Here in Vereeniging I had the privilege of meeting more women like Tannie who do not see colour, I guess they are colour blind. These women are Annemarie De Wet and Ronel Pretorius. These women did not need a day or two or a year to get used to me. They loved me from the first day they met me. They gave me unconditional love and still do till this day. I salute these women who made a huge difference in my life. These two are like the baobab trees in my life. They survive any season! And believe me, there have been seasons that were very rough and dry! Friends will come and go, but these I will keep in my heart forever! I love you Pisbalie en ek mis jou so baie by die werk. Ek hoop jy geniet die aftrede.

Thank you to Wena Venter. I’ve told her that she is an instant problem solver! And that she is. A quality I hope I can also learn and make use of to others who come into my life. She has on so many times helped me on becoming a better mother (I’m still working on it).

I have known one woman who can be a mother, a sister, a friend and a boss! This woman who can shed tears on behalf of a  fellow woman! I am blessed to have you Lizette van der Merwe as my Head of Department and friend! While so many women in high places in the workplace just want to throw their weight around and ‘be felt’, you have been my pillar, my confidante and friend! I am so lucky to work with and for you Juffrou!

Hats off to every woman who has touched another woman’s life from across the continent as Dorothy Johnson-Laird https://m.facebook.com/JourneywithWarriorWomen and Sally G Cronin https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com did mine. Thank you for your support my sisters-in-writing. An extra special thank you to Dorothy. You are my inspiration and my mentor. I’m privileged to call you Sis.

A Happy Women’s Day to my mothers Brenda Zvoushe Moyo,Tendai Mudadada, Grace Kanyimo and Florence Asentawa-Mills. Thank you for your love and encouragement. I hope I have now become the woman you have always wanted me to be mum Florence. Thank you for your prayers. May God bless you.

Happy women’s day to my daughters Jenny Nyambiya, Dionne Tachiona, Daisy and Daphne Tazira, my sisters Tatenda and Nyasha Vere. I hope I am carrying on mum’s legacy as she would want me to. I am sorry if I am not always there for you but I will try my best to be.

Happy women’s day to my young sister Linda Gabriel. I am so proud of the strong woman you are. You don’t always do what you want but what you have to do. Thank you for being a pillar of strength to your mum and sister. I wish my young sister Faith a happy women’s day. You were my only friend and sister in my darkest times! I thank God for you.

A happy women’s day to my friends Val Pretorius, Themby Munyimani, Minky Masilela-Mathibe, Phumaphetsheya Nkala, Bridgett Mmanti, Denise Forsyth, Bianca Nolte (Its your first women’s day. I hope you are enjoying it), my sisters from Bonda Hilda Ndurendure, Wendy Muza, Shylet Muzangaza Chaipa, Julia Vera, Tapiwa Sanganza-Ndoro, Abby Chipatiso, Manyanya Marange, Yvonne Marangwanda, Leah Manyara, Nyaradzo Ngwena Saika and all the Bonda sisters.

A Happy Women’s Day to all the women!


About Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk, (Connie V) is a creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.


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