Farai Juliet Magada, known as Farie Jules, is a daughter, sister, mother, survivor, fighter, believer, emancipated woman, creative, philanthropist and lover of beautiful things. This is her story in her own words.
I was born into a family of six children, and I am the fourth child. I was raised in the suburbs of Bulawayo and attended good schools. I was known as the daydreamer, and I was very vocal about what I wanted when I grew up. I did not know that life was going to take a different turn altogether before I reached adulthood.
At 15 going on 16, I was married off to a man twice my age. It felt like an out-of-body experience, as if I was watching myself go through it.
The first days were terrible because I thought I would go back home, but that did not happen. I was told that I was not loved or wanted by husband, and he kept reminding me of that. He was seldom home, and when he was around, he would come back home in the early hours drunk. The majority of the time, I would cry myself to sleep or overdose on pain meds so that I could numb myself.
There was no communication with my family, only with my sister I was in the same class with at school. I only had a few friends I would talk to about it because I was ashamed, and I felt so lonely.
How did you find out you were pregnant, and how did you deal with it?
When I found out I was pregnant, I was still 15. I had mixed feelings about it. I was scared and curious and also thought the baby was going to be born in a few weeks. When I told my parents that I was pregnant, my mother wasn’t so happy about it, and she suggested I abort.
I had neonatal depression, and I was always crying and extremely suicidal during the course of my pregnancy. Somehow, I knew that I had to protect my daughter at whatever cost, though it was extremely difficult.
After my daughter was born, I had postpartum depression for months, and I couldn’t understand what was going on. The suicidal thoughts and cutting my wrists started, but I knew my baby depended on me to be fine. This wrecked me emotionally and mentally.
My husband wasn’t supportive or understanding. He blamed me for being a bad luck omen in his life.
I battled depression and suicide for many years because I felt that my dreams were shattered, and I was never going to get out of it.
I held on and fought back because of my children and the hope that I was going to make my dreams a reality. I hid in the shadows because I was ashamed of myself and what had happened to me. I felt unwanted and rejected. The outside world couldn’t see it because I hid it so well, but I was extremely depressed. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because of the shame and fear that my family was not going to be happy about it.
How did you finally leave?
It took me 11 years to finally leave. I decided to leave when I was pregnant with my third child. I was slipping into depression again, and I did not want to go back to that dark place again. I told my husband that I was not happy and I wanted things to end, and he thought I was being hormonal.
When the baby was born, I didn’t change my decision. I looked at my situation, and it was bad. I didn’t have a job, money or educational qualifications.
I had support from a friend during the first months, and I worked as a waitress at a friend’s bar, and later, my parents helped me to get on my feet. I had to let go of everything and start afresh because I needed to build myself from the bottom.
When I started studying film and television production, I met a lot of creatives, and here and there, I would act and work behind the scenes to sharpen my skills. I became more confident in the field and found work.
What are your key achievements?
My key achievements are being a mother to my daughters, having survived and fought depression and suicide for them to still have me.
Another achievement is my career in the field of journalism, despite the challenges I faced in my journey, because that is exactly what I wanted from a tender age.
Lastly, is my trust, Pink and Purple Foundation…It’s what I call the ashes-to-beauty place.
Tell us more about the Pink and Purple Foundation.
The Pink and Purple Foundation is a charitable organization I founded in late 2021. It is built on five pillar sustainable goals which are:
- No poverty
- Good health and well-being
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Reduced inequality
The foundation seeks to help eliminate inhumane harmful practices that violate young girls’ human rights and empower them with knowledge, education and vocational skills. Prevailing harmful practices like child marriages, teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence and sexual exploitation of the girl child are the main target areas the Pink and Purple Foundation seeks to eliminate stirred by Vision 2030 and 2063, regionally and in the future internationally, through awareness campaigns, education and events.
The Pink and Purple Foundation seeks to help the young girls by:
- Grooming women of all age groups physically and mentally for them to love themselves inside out to break the cycle of “broken women.”
- Educating young girls about sex, self-value, achieving goals, and offering personal and family counselling to victims, survivors and third parties.
- Inspiring and giving hope to those that feel hopeless, unloved, rejected by family and society because of divorce, having children at a young age and getting married at a tender age.
- Empowering young women through education and vocational programs to victims and survivors of child marriages and teenage mothers.
- Donating sanitary pads to school-going girls between 11 and 17 years of age to curb period poverty in peri-urban and rural communities in the country.
- Educating and creating awareness [in] the community about harmful practices such as gender-based violence, abuse, child marriages, child labour, mental health issues.
You can find Farie on the following platforms: