What’s in a word: UKWENDA


Ukwenda is the act of walking or travelling. As an example “ukwenda kulanasha” means “walking is tiring.” Other words that are linked to the word are shown in the image below.

Fun fact about the related word “Enda” which is simply walk, is that it can be used to denote that people are dating.

e.g. Kwibisa enda na Kawa = Kwibisa walks with Kawa

This is understood to mean the two are dating.

“mwende bwino” is used when saying goodbye and simply means travel well. Another version of farewell is “mwende ulufwe ng’ombe“. As my great grandmother ba mayo ba Chisanga explained it, it is the highest wish of safe travels. I still do not understand how that works as ulufwe ng’ombe implies a dead cow.

Let me know if you would like other words translated and if there is anything you find interesting.

Space at the table


A few years ago I started the journey towards self-publishing. What led me down this route is the realisation that if my children were ever going to embrace who they are; their language and culture in a foreign land, I would have to help them along by allowing them to access images of themselves through the written word. I set out on this journey when my nephew was born, in part because my daughter missed out on accessing high quality literature in our language. Looking back, my only access was the bible and Bemba hymn books and because I believe that we cannot expect white people to write our stories, I decided to serve up books for my family’s children. Traditional publishers were a non starter, so self publishing it was. 7 years down the line, my book is written, and a few months back, I realised that I am still asking for space at the table, in order to serve what I want these babies to consume.

It turns out that Amazon doesn’t allow self-publishing in native African languages but does cater for Afrikaans and Arabic. I don’t know why I didn’t look into this, but we’re back to the drawing board and I have possibly found another outlet but maybe we need to stop asking for space at the table and instead take our children back to our African table and serve them high quality brain food of our choosing. The words of one of my favourites Steve Biko ring true. Maybe it’s time to create the spaces we want, to develop our Africa according to our ways and then invite those who will to join us, on our terms … Not with a sense of racial superiority or as copycats of others but as a people filled with pride in our God given worth. We cannot keep knocking on homes not our own, asking for a place at tables not our own, expecting our children to find worth in borrowed lessons.

Amazon isn’t just the right table to sit at, and I came to the conclusion that maybe if my books are not welcome there, my money isn’t either. Until that changes, I will not be shopping there. Do any of you know of any tables created specifically for us?

Rona came for a visit


The last few years have been interesting. We have seen economies crush under the weight of lockdowns and have seen freedoms shrink in light of Covid. I am one of those people who didn’t have to get jabbed because by the time Mandates were in place, I was on maternity leave, and from the looks of things, will be dropped by the time I have to go back …. well, at least that is according to the latest announcement by the premier. Who knows, they might be back in the future, or they are gone for good. I was one of those people who chose not to get vaccinated, and I have chosen to keep my vaccination status private. Partly because I know a lot of people make a lot of assumptions about people’s choices and I don’t like feeling like I am defending my choices. I have mainly kept my illness quiet too because while I was feeling mostly well, I didn’t want to “jinx” myself.

The truth is, there were and still are many unknowns and over the last two years, we have seen people wish others ill, from predictions that Africa would be hard hit by Covid, to the unvaccinated and vaccinated predicting each other’s demise. I have been anxious, as I am sure others have been, wondering if my choice to not get vaccinated would prove wrong, or if any of my vaccinated family would suffer an adverse reaction, or worse … And worse has happened over the last two years, with many of us losing loved ones to not just Covid but other things too.

Here I am, still standing, not because I am vaccinated or not, but because God chose to give me another day, another hour, minute … another second. It might seem to us that the government protected people by forcing vaccination, but ultimately God preserved lives, not because we deserve to live but because He is merciful. I did everything to make sure Covid did not come into my home, but it did! As if to remind us to trust God. I have no control over how long I live, over whether I get to raise my children, but I can commit them into his hands. I have no control over how long I have with my husband, my siblings, my parents, my kin or any of my friends. I only have control over what I do with the time I have today and where I put my trust.

My flesh and heart may fail but …


I have often heard it said that for a C section mum, their bodies did not fail them, but I have been struggling with this feeling for over four months, uneasy, feeling like it boarders on ungrateful and entitled. There are people out there that want children and can’t have them for whatever reason. I have been blessed with two.

My feelings are complicated … I am smitten with our latest addition and both my children fill my life with so much joy, and yet, I am filled with grief and it doesn’t really seem like there is anyone to turn to with that … because others would give anything to be cut. Others have encouraged me with quotes on how strong C section mothers are, and yet, when I wake up in pain every morning, and with doctors unable to pinpoint the origins of that pain– knowing that C sections are my future if I am to ever have more children–I am reminded that my body failed me. It didn’t birth my children how it was created to … and maybe in a sense, I failed it too.

The truth is sometimes I feel failed by others around me, and maybe even God. At different times I have found hope in the words of an understanding sister, selfless kin, a wise child … but none can quite fathom these feelings. Today I found hope in the words of someone whose hope of having children has been dashed … and I was reminded that even when our bodies fail us, God is still faithful. The same God who David in 1Chronicles 16:8 says we should call on … and rightly so because His name is a strong tower where we can take refuge (proverbs 18:10). Yes, He could have kept me from being here, and I don’t understand why, but for whatever reason, He didn’t, and yet, He is still good.

He is the same God who came through, when we prayed for a child for years and decided to accept whatever his answer was … The same God I cried to when I was told I potentially had an ectopic pregnancy and again cried to when I was told I was probably going to miscarry … He deserves our praise and while I waddle through these feelings, I will continue to call on Him because I know that He is the one who blesses without adding sorrow

God has been faithful in loss and pain, in joy and pleasure … in whatever season, He has been steadfast, my immovable rock … the ONE I can count on. So call on Him and see Him move.

This is the second post in what I am calling the 1 Chronicles 16 series. To read the first post here.

Give thanks


Sometimes, it’s easy to find things to be thankful for, and other times, not as easy, even though the good is staring you right in the face. In what has been a hard year, I stand at the end of it knowing I should be grateful, reading 1Chronicles 16:8 and wondering if my inability to list things I am grateful for is a sign of a heart gone cold or if it is just the result of birth trauma.

I am reminded as I start the day to give thanks for the day, because it is mercy that has made it possible to breathe today, and because of that mercy I have a chance at life again today. I am thankful that because God made it possible, there was food on my table yesterday and there will be food on my table today. Slowly, my mind wonders to the many things I am thankful for – the little person who after not seeing me for a few hours smiles with glee, like she is seeing a long lost friend. Thankful for those who walked me through a difficult time, thankful for the man who has fed me for what seemed like eons, thankful for the child who God has spoken through … and … you get the picture, the list becomes endless.

I have had family, friends and colleagues go far and beyond for me and I have been so blessed this year; and as memories of the blessings that God has bestowed flood my mind, the hardships pale and are far removed from my mind.

Today, you might be thinking of what has been taken (The Lord gives and the Lord takes), but give thanks unto the LORD, if for nothing more than the fact that you are alive today, because He has given more than we deserve and when I look at the totality of my life I know that He has given me more than he has ever taken. What are you thankful for today? Because the writer (David), isn’t asking as to consider giving thanks, he instructs us, and for good reason.

The swamp


As parents we sometimes try to shield our children from the harsh realities of life … We try to protect them from themselves … from making the same mistakes we did …

There is only so much we can sheild them from and sometimes we must let them enter the swamp, with deceiving signs of safety and be ready to watch as snakes bite, and hope that they remember enough of our words to nurse the wounds and get the venom out … that their souls would not be poisoned by bitterness …

Then we hope that they would remember their way home … but if they do not, I hope they can learn to spot the snakes and steer clear of them. But then if the cold should take hold they would remember enough of our warmth, that no fire in the wrong lap would entice. And if it should burn, that they would remember that the fire sheltered by elders never burns … that they might be drawn back home

But if they should continue, that “inswaswa” the sounds of the swamp would not tear at their confidence. That they would remember the value in our toil for them … every sacrifice possible … but if they should be so broken down that our toil seem meaningless … that they would remember the man who gave up riches to hang for them.

And if that memory be not enough, and they find themselves trapped in sinking sands, in strings and beds of their own making, that Jesus who in His word promises never to lose those entrusted to Him, will not forget his promise towards His own.

… He owns her heart …

What’s in a label … Victim


I have been pondering this for the better part of 2 days … can’t even believe that I lost sleep over it. But I met someone recently who wears the victim label really well and in thinking this over, I remembered a story I once heard about the power of sin …

This isnt the exact version I heard but I hope you get the picture. A man buys a house and cleans it up, sets everything in order and leaves the man of the house to live there. Initially he does well, keeps it clean and enjoys being there. One day the old landlord comes and asks for just a small spot on the wall saying, “I just want to keep one small cloth on a nail.” No one will even know it’s there.

The nail is hammered into the wall and the cloth placed on it. What the man of the house is not told is that the cloth is dirty and smelly and soon, its smell soon fills the whole house.

So it is with sin, Jesus comes and sets our houses in order and gives us all his abundance, but whenever the enemy comes back, enticing, requesting a small space, he doesn’t stop there. The influence of that small sin, can fill and taint our whole being; and so it is with anger and bitterness.

Some people are so blinded by the label “victim,” that they are unable to see past a perceived wrong, or even a real one. No one is immune to hurt and pain as long as we exist in a world where we interact with other beings. Some of us, including me, at different times have allowed ourselves to put offence on a nail, and let bitterness grow until it’s stench fills every inch of our being. Everyone who walks into our lives can smell it and most choose not to stay, but we are so used to the stench that we are unwilling to deal with the source.

Bitterness infects everything we do and leaves very little room for the enjoyment of the things we have. It focuses on what has been lost and how we have been wronged and refuses to acknowledge our part in what has happened in our lives.

Sometimes we are so comfortable with the anger and want to hold on to it, and left unchecked, anger morphs into bitterness and Bitterness is never mild, it’s a cancer, a contagion that affects those we touch too. No wonder God asks that we Keep our hearts with all diligence and to not let the sun go down in anger. We are all victims of wrongs committed at different times by different people, but staying a victim robs us, so I pray that we recognise bitterness for what it is, where it lurks and remove it before it taints us.