AWARD-WINNING Zimbabwean fiction writer and poet Catherine Magodo Mutukwa who writes about women, is seeking help on behalf of one of the women she wrote about in one of her books. Mutukwa Magodo, a recipient of an IBHUKU Statuette in the African Literature Award has joined hands with well-wishers who created a WhatsApp group to raise funds for the woman, Bongie Vongai Nyuke.
Most of you may not know who she is…she is the lady I wrote about in the book ‘Broken Vessel’. I learnt about her story through Shamwari Yemwanasikana and with her permission I penned the story in 2017.Catherine Magodo Mutukwa
Catherine continues, “For all those who don’t know her and her story, let me give you a brief background:
Bongie was about 14 years old when she was raped. She was forced to live with and marry the 47 year-old-man who had raped her by an aunt who had taken her in under the false pretense that she would pay for her school fees. Unbeknown to Bongie, her aunt had planned the horrible attack with her perpetrator for monetary gain. Her family could not afford to pay the school fees because her father had passed away a year earlier and had left the family in dire financial constraints. You see, Bongie had passed her grade 7 with flying colours and like any child, she had a dream and hers was to become a lawyer one day. Unfortunately by the time she was 15 years she was married and pregnant. Before turning 16, she became a mother to a baby girl. “Life was not easy…” she recounted in one of her voice-notes she sent to me.
At 17 years old, she became a widow after her husband developed stomach complications and subsequently died. Her mother then insisted on her returning home and eventually the husband’s relatives released her into the mother’s care.
While at home, a neighbor suggested that she goes to South Africa to look for a job. The neighbor organized for her transport and the fees for board and lodging.
For years in Johannesburg, she survived by doing odd jobs while taking care of her mother and daughter back home. Tragedy struck again when Bongie’s daughter at 15years, was also raped by a close family member and became pregnant. This left her devastated; however, she was determined to make it in life despite life’s hurdles. Bongie was there for her child, providing for her the best way she could. ShamwariYeMwanasika also assisted by helping her daughter to go back to school and providing baby clothes.
With the help of well-wishers Bongie was able to start a small business of training other ladies on how to make detergents and perfumes. This is what she has been busy with this past year. Things were beginning to look up when…
As if, to confirm the veracity of the adage that says, “it never rains but it pours,” a few days ago I learnt that she was diagnosed with stage IV (4) colon cancer.
She’s now back home in Chiundura.
For all those who want to help her, you can either inbox her or follow the link below for the WhatsApp group that has been created by her friends to raise funds:
This is her appeal:
“Hi guys most of u know my story who are on Facebook and are close to me.. I was dignosed with colon cancer and they saw it late in SA so Dairies decides to send me to Zim for I didn’t had resources that where needed there is SA and most people adviced me not kupiswa cancer thats why I am here in Zim. My friends thought of helping me to get herbs like ST30 and some thats why the group was created any help is welcome for I am in Chiundura between kwekwe and Gweru.”
Thank you and God bless you all.
A sad story indeed, Mutukwa can also be contacted through her Facebook page, Catherine Magodo-Mutukwa and Bongie can be contacted on +27 65 727 2838