Memory Matsvimbo is a woman who has risen from grief and become someone she never thought she could be. This is her story:
“I am the eldest in a family of five siblings. My dad passed away when l was 10 years old, which left my mother to fend for us on her own. Fortunately, l was intelligent in school – to the extent that teachers would help pay for my tuition and uniforms.
After completing my Ordinary Level exams, my fees were in arrears. The only option l had was to look for work as a maid so l could raise the money to pay off the debt. When the exam results were released, l found out l had passed seven subjects. Even though my desire was to proceed to Advanced Level, l could not due to finances. l tried to seek help from relatives to no avail.
At that point, my options were very limited. l needed a job that would pay me, so l joined the police force. As soon as l started getting paid, l took in my two youngest siblings and cared for them to ease my mother’s burden.
Eventually, l met my husband and we got married customarily and had one child, a daughter. After 14 years of marriage, we decided to make it legal by organizing a white wedding in 2018.
We got busy with the preparations, paying for the venue, the bridesmaids dresses, gown etc. Exactly 30 days before the big day, my husband was involved in a tragic bus accident and was burnt beyond recognition.
l was broken, really heartbroken. To think that the person l was supposed to get married to in 30 days was gone really broke me.
Honestly, l do not know what l would have done if it weren’t for my churchmates who stood by me during that time. Before we could bury him, we had to wait three weeks for the DNA results, which was very difficult.
When the funeral was over, loneliness set in because l was left completely alone at home. l was used to the house having three people in it – my husband, daughter and l – but now l was left alone because my daughter went to boarding school and my husband was gone for good.
lt was during that time that l felt myself sinking into depression. l just didn’t know what to do with myself at that point.
One day someone came home, took my academic papers and enrolled me into university to study peace and conflict resolution. l found it funny because l had left school 16 years prior and did not even A-levels. To get into college, I used the “mature entry” option. l didn’t think l had it in me to complete the program, and l was the eldest in the class, but l persevered. lt was not easy because my salary had to pay my college fees and cater for my daughter’s needs as well, but l managed.
To think that 16 years after l had left school, l went back to school and will be graduating in December with a first class degree! l was shocked. Thats when l realised that l had it in me. Now l am in the second semester of my Masters degree.
My word of encouragement to fellow widows and single mothers is that losing a spouse is not the end but a new beginning for you to make the best of your situation.
As painful as it is, you have to stand and know that people come and go when we least expect it. I am so proud of the woman that l have become and what l have achieved so far. This newfound confidence has me determined to preach peace since l am a peace practitioner. My aim is to go into conflict stricken areas across the world and speak peace.
Memory will be graduating with a Bachelors degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution this December, and is set to graduate with her Masters degree next year.