What better way to kick off the series of Celebrated Women than to begin by celebrating the powerful, faithful, humble, honourable and inspirational woman I am privileged to call my gogo, and when better than on her official 100th birthday! I think my gogo may actually be the only Zimbabwean older than the president! And I didn’t say this, but I’m sure she’d do a much better job;-)
Gogo is a Ndebele word meaning Granny. She was born Mary Pomas near Bulawayo in Southern Rhodesia, around the time of the falling leaves. In gogo’s day the births of non-whites were not registered, and for them time was not measured in months and years but rather in seasons and events.
The daughter of Ndebele King Lobengula’s niece, Gogo grew up in Nyamandlovu, where she met a handsome young man with a side path and some swagger. She soon became his wife – one of them – and they went forth and multiplied. Together they had 8 children, 40 grand-children, 25 great grand-children and 13 great-great-grand-children.
I looked forward to the school holidays when we’d take the train from Triangle to Bulawayo to visit my gogo, and she was always excited about our visits. She’d be up at the crack of dawn, sitting on the verandah and keeping an eye out for the blue Rixi Taxi that would be delivering us.
Gogo has had some serious challenges in life, but through everything she has kept her faith in God and taught us to do the same. She also taught us to love and forgive, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. She’s an inspiration, and I’m thankful for my gogo.
Her arms always open have been our fort, to be held to be squeezed when we’re down and distraught.
Her heart always warm has been scarred in the past, birthing wisdom she’s shared and will share to the last.
Her eyes have seen much and cried many tears, once bright they’re now clouded by so many years.
Her beautiful voice takes me back to the times, when I sat on her lap singing nursery rhymes.
Stern could it be when you’d done the wrong thing, yet beautifully mellow when she stood up to sing.
Singing to God with her hands held high, Jesus who saved her and was always nearby.
Her hope never ending,
Her patience enduring,
Her kindness pursuing
And her love engulfing .
We love you gogo!
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