My name is Tatenda Nyakutya. I am a lady who is in her early 30s born in a family of five: two girls and three boys. I’m a mother to many children, though I have one biological daughter and several adopted children. I come from a strong Christian background because my parents are pastors, and that is where I draw my philanthropic nature from.
When I was 5, my parents adopted a bright student in the area. They provided shelter, food and school fees. Every time everyone was absent, he would sexually abuse me and threaten me with a knife and death. Each time when there were people around, he would show me a sign that he will cut off my head if I say anything. Thus, I kept silent because I was scared.
The experience made me feel uncomfortable around men, and I started bedwetting because of fear.
The abuse made me scared, and I once tried to commit suicide. After that attempted suicide, I realized that death is not an option; but rather make lemonade out of the lemons thrown at me. I decided to help fellow women speak out if they face abuse.
Being diagnosed with congested cardiac failure (CCF) among other illnesses at a tender age came as a bomb to me, and I went into depression. In 2014, I became bedridden and stayed in hospital for the whole year. Then one day, a pastor came and started counselling and praying for me. He then asked me if I was once abused, and I reluctantly said yes, and that was my first time to open up and speak out about the abuse.
He advised me to try and forgive all my abusers, and I cried because my wish was to confront them. The pastor continued with the counselling sessions until I decided to let go of the anger in me. It was through counselling that I realized I have many reasons to live and fulfil my God-given purpose. Also, through prayers, God gave me the peace that surpasses all understanding, and here I am a brave lady.
Kundai Rutendo Trust (KRT) was birthed because of the disturbing experiences in my life. Also being a pastors’ daughter, I saw how they took in many people and took care of them. When I worked in Chipinge, I realized that there were high rates of teenage pregnancies and child marriages. That is when I decided to help the girls have a second chance.
At first, I was hesitant. But as I grew, the quest to help others continued to grow until I decided to register the trust in 2016.
To be honest with you, I did not expect to be nominated as a 2021 Dutch Embassy Gender Champion because I looked down upon myself. I thought, ‘Who knows me in this world because most of my time I am indoors sick and only go out if someone needs my service.’
So being nominated as a Gender Champion was so wonderful, and I felt very, very happy like I am sharing the eucharist meal with the angels in heaven. In fact, I cried with joy.
After the video was showcased online, many women started contacting me, telling their stories and seeking my assistance to solve their cases. I am happy many abused women were encouraged to speak out after watching the video.
I know many people will speak out and overcome their giants one day.
If you have been abused, please speak out because once you speak out, you are now a survivor not a victim. Please do not stay in an abusive relationship because you will die before your time, and the man will just move on like nothing has happened.
Those who experience teenage pregnancy: do not give up. There is more to life than you think. Ask for forgiveness from parents, and also ask for a second chance.
To parents who have children who have experienced teenage pregnancy: please give your children a second chance, and you will see them excelling in life. Seek counselling too because it helps to vent to someone who is willing to listen.
Knowing that someone out there needs my help keeps me going. Even if I feel sick and down, once someone comes in with his/her problem, I jump in to help. Making someone smile is my main aim, and it helps me to keep on keeping on.
It’s all about making someone happy because I offered my assistance. I feel like I am in paradise if someone wipes her tears and smiles.