Death among us. 


Death. When one reads Bikozulu’s pieces, which at some point were mostly about death, you’ll feel that death is the most gut wrenching thing to ever happen to a living being. The death of a loved one that is. The phone number that will never be picked, the voice you’ll never hear again, the home that will never be the same again, the vacuum that will never be filled by anyone. 

And I’ve never lost anyone. Well, at least not a close family member or friend. 

But you should hear the number of times death has been mentioned in our home. You would think we are not aware of the pain involved. Or that we are not scared of it. But are we really scared of death? 

My sister was. And maybe still is. My sister can be called the troublesome child. Always needing to be taken care of lest things go wrong. She was that kid who never showed up in school with all her books. One or two important ones had to be missing making everyone struggle on how to ship them to her. If not that, then you could be rest assured that you would see her before the term ended or before visiting. She was sick. Its like sicknesses just liked her little body. In primary school sickness loved visiting just before visiting day or before end term, while in secondary school just before opening day. 

We all got used to her theatrics. And calling  all the time when she was in school. Any  time she got an opportunity and if she didn’t get one she made one. It was just her troublesome nature. Or so we thought. 

Until one day when we were washing clothes. Rather, I was doing the washing, she was doing more talking. She told me that all that time she disturbed people at home when she was in school, when she pretended to be sick to come home, she only had one agenda; to confirm if my mum was alive and well. 

And if mum didn’t come for her visitings, she always assumed it was because she was unwell. I was the one who attended little girl’s most visitings, so you can imagine her worry. And I wonder how sane people are okay with taking their kids to boarding school. Anyway, I digress. 

My sister then becomes the leading human being in our family who worries about death. She doesn’t say it out loud. But you can see it in the way she worries when my mum is sick. And my mum is sick almost as much as she is well. I don’t know whether a month passes by when a part of her isn’t aching or unwell. Or maybe I grew up hearing her complain of one sickness or another till it kinda stuck in my head, and maybe my sisters head, that mum is always sick. And sick people die more than healthy people. So maybe unlike my sister I never said it out loud or allowed myself to think of it, but we grew up afraid of mum dying. 

There reaches a point in time when death of a person is a relief to the people around. Well, in our case, it had reached a time when my mother thought that the death of my dad would be a gift. She told him that severally. She was tired of him. And his thearetics. And thought that him dying would really do everyone a favor. 

My dad kept quiet. Not in a “how can you say that to me?” way. In a way as if someone wishing him death was just another normal day on earth. Well, we weren’t even surprised. Like, when you have grown up in the kind of family we grew up in, minor things like these don’t even raise eyebrows. Its just another normal day at home. Worse things have been done than telling someone to their face that their demise would be a relief. 

No one dies though. My mum’s health gets better. My dad lives. My sister stays at home long enough to get bored with seeing the same faces she was always feigning sickness to come see a glimpse of. And we all hope that none of us goes first. 

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I ran away. 


Running away. Being academically gifted, and born in a country where that matters, I can say I have something I’m good at. Not many, like the way you find people with a dancing, singing and composing ability all in one. But enough to make me feel okay in who I am. 

But if there is something I had perfected my art in besides academics, it has to be running away. 

I first learnt how to run away when my father bought me a bicycle. It was a green, sparkling new and hardy little but not so little bike. In 3 days time I knew how to ride it. And so with no destination in mind, my holidays were spent cruising through the village pathways. I went and went, with an aim to go the furthest I could. I only came back when my chest hurt and it couldn’t take it anymore. 

Its not the rush of the wind that made me cycle to infinity. Nor the scenery. For a 7yr old I really didn’t care whether it was green or dry or beautiful. I just wanted to get lost. From the paths I knew. From the people I knew. I wanted to go to places that neither I knew or anyone who knew me knew. I wanted to get lost. 

The second time ,I had to invent new ways of getting lost. In boarding schools there were no bikes to ride, nor the freedom to get out of the gates of our prison. So once in a while, after supper- which we took at 5.30pm and just before the evening preps at 7pm, I used to go to the field and take a walk. And I would walk and walk until the bell rang. 

I was walking away from people, I’ve never been one to stay with human beings for a while without feeling suffocated if I don’t get time out. I was walking away from the normality of reading, eating and sleeping and a repeat of the same day in, day out. I was walking away from my mind. Giving it fodder for new adventures. You see at the end of our field, there was a raised mound of soil, and since the field was only fenced with a few lines of wires, standing on top of that raised point, I could see a bit of the landscape. 

And my mind would try and figure out how the people in those homesteads lived like. Did they have kids? And where did those kids sleep in seeing how small the main wooden house was? Was that their only cow? Where would they take all that maize when they harvested it? Why couldn’t I see chicken in their compound? 

For an 11yr old, that was heaven. That break that I got to run away from my circumstances and just get lost in new worlds. Even if unlike my bicycle escapades , this time I was physically barred from just going and going. So I learnt how to just see, and let my mind do the going for me. But nice things don’t last, and human beings can’t let others be. With time a friend or two started coming along for my walks. And they talked while at it. And just like that I had to find other means of running away. 

Since now I couldn’t cycle, nor take a walk alone, or even go anywhere, something had to provide inspiration for my mind. I’ve never been one to just stay still. Physically I definitely can, but my mind just can’t survive routine. Especially routine that adds nothing to what I know or I’ve already seen. My brain lashes out. It needs new fodder for thinking. It makes me restless till I can find a means of transport for it to run away, and a place for  it to run away to. 

The sky. And at 12yrs of age, I found the sky. It was the only thing really that I could indulge in at that point.  We had duties to wash the dining hall after every supper. And the school running from class 4-8 saw every class being assigned a specific day. I don’t remember what ours was. If I remember well, no one liked to go get wet at 8pm in the evening when it was particularly cold all the time. But I loved it. 

I mustered the art of ensuring that I washed the front most part of the dining hall. This left me with an hour or so as the others washed the rest. And for that one hour, I would stare up in the sky and get lost. My eyesight was good then. I could make out patterns and shapes from the sky. The stars were my home. They would take me away from the monotonous nature of reading and eating, and drop me in world’s thousands and millions of kilometres away. 

Standing there staring into the night above, I was home in the vastness of it. I was home in the blackness of it. I found myself in the millions of stars that tried their best to light up the night. Once I looked up, my whole being rested. I was at peace. I had managed to run away. I was home. 

A friend of mine lost her mother when I was in class 7. I felt for her. We went for the burial and we could tell she was broken by it. The next term when we came to school , though sad, she had kinda moved on. We were too young to comprehend what it means to lose a mother, so we only skirted around her and tried not to offend her lest we make her feel bad for losing her mother. 

And one of those days as I was looking up into my world of stars and infinite possibilities, she came and stood by me to watch the stars with me. And took one huge shining star and said that her mum had now become a star and was watching over her. Now I couldn’t look at the stars again without seeing her mother watching over her. I had to find a means of running away again. 

In class 8, we were all supposed to be reading. And more reading. And only reading. We didn’t even have that much physical duties like washing the dining hall anymore. So no free time. Unless we were being herded out of the class to go run. But only to make our minds more fresh for reading. Or being taught under a tree. I had nothing to do to run away or nowhere to look to, to get lost. But my mind can’t survive just like that. It would die off but after fighting for my sanity. And i wasn’t ready for a die off or a fight. 

So we invented a new kind of running away. Me, myself and I. One that couldn’t be taken away from me. One that wouldn’t require a means of transport nor a vastness to look at. One that could operate under the strict routine of reading, sleeping, eating and more reading. One that could go undetected by human beings who just can’t stand seeing a fellow human being alone. 

Thoughts. The genius 13yr old me came up with that. I could run away in my thoughts. I could make worlds in my mind and leave inside there and break them and make others without anyone disturbing me. And it worked like magic. I became more quiet. I had found my opium. My English teacher might have been the only one who noticed something, because he started calling me ‘Yes and No’. He had observed that anytime he asked me a question outside class of late, instead of a lengthy reply as before, I only said Yes or No and moved on. 

I didn’t want my train of thoughts to be disturbed. Not when I was making castles and living in them in my head. So the more minimal interaction I had with the reality down here, the better for my created world up there. 

But this time round I was here to stay. I just didn’t know it yet. What started out as a way of killing boredom and routine to at least feed my active mind with more colorful things turned into a prison as life handed me tonnes of things to run away from. 

I ran away from home. From the midnight quarrels at night between my parents whose choice of words left me scathed and choice of time to fight ensured we listened. I ran away from myself , I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was in a school with the brightest girls in my country and I was doubtful of my place among them. I was growing fatter every day and more pimpled by the hour and it wasn’t something I was doing or not doing. It just was. 

So I ran away. And each passing month gave me something to run away from. A biology chapter I couldn’t understand? I built one in my head that I could understand. Bad enough grades, I created a school and good enough grades in my head. Quarrel with someone?  I created peace in my mind. Lack of a boyfriend? I made one according to my own specifications and dated them the way I wanted. 

And for all my teenage hood , I lived in my mind. It was easier. Way more peaceful. Just the way I wanted it to be. I could uncreate and create unlike the real world which was beyond my grasp. I could be the me I wanted to be, unlike on earth where who I was ,was determined by many interconnecting stuff beyond me. 

I had set out to run away. I got lost in the process. And my legs that got me there got cut off. I couldn’t run anymore. I was stuck in destination ‘Lost’. It would take me years to actually realise I was lost. More years to actually accept it. And to date,I’m still trying to find my legs. I need to get unlost. I miss running away. But I have nothing to run away from. 

I can only run away if I have a normal to run away from. But I’m already at my abnormal,I’m already lost. I’ve stopped running. I’m now looking at my surroundings to see if I can get back. Or at least if there is a different way out. 

Is there a way out? 

Pertual uncertainty. 


Looking for a job is hard work. I knew that even before graduating. Looking for an internship had taught me one or two. I was prepared to look for one till I got one, to not give up. But now looking back, I think I prepared for the wrong things. 

You see, there is the physical and mental work. The whole CV, resume and cover letters stuff, mixed with searching on which companies or institutions to bombard with those documents. That’s what I was prepared for. I anticipated that it would be tiring and hard, but having sold insurance before, I knew tarmacking both literally and figuratively, wouldn’t bring me down. 

In retrospect, I had prepared myself for the easiest task. Because that’s not where the hard work has been. Searching and applying is hard work. But its only 10% of the work. 

The rest is emotional. This is where rubber meets the tarmac. The myriad of emotions that one goes through when looking for a job can not leave you unscathed if you stay searching for a while. 

Uncertainty. You never know. Should I apply for this one or not? Should I inquire first or just send an email? Will they call me back? Should I go back home right now? What if they call me for an interview when i’m away? Assuming I even get that job right now, where shall I leave to be able to access that workplace? 

When you are jobless you are uncertain about every single thing. Nothing is constant in my life right now. Its like standing in the middle of the ocean not knowing where the wind of life will blow you to. I’m weary of making plans with people, especially plans that will take place in a month or more ,who knows? I could get a job in Lodwar and not be able to attend. 

Hope. Hopelessness. Every single application sent is a sign of hope. That this could be it. Whereas its a good thing, wait until you have 50 hopes dashed. You start slacking in applying. Because the last 30 applications didn’t get a reply, and the 5 that called you for an interview didn’t get back to you. Hope starts fading. It never goes away at once, just bit and bit. Till you find yourself hopeless. Until something jolts you back to the game. Hope and hopelessness are two twins who for once appear together in the same room in form of sent applications and silent feedbacks. 

We are only human. And as much as I need a job, my sanity is more important. Some people take a short break from applying for jobs. I took around 6 months. No single application sent. I had issues I needed to deal with. And I’m really glad I did take that break, I’m not so sure if I had gotten a job in that state of mind and emotions I would have hacked it. 

But now I’m back. To the uncertainty, hope and hopelessness. 

But its not all dull. You get time to do your own things. Well..there is the issue of money. Jobless people aren’t the richest around, but opportunities do appear to travel or visit people or watch movies, in my case read as much books as I can. 

But if you asked me to summarise how my time was when looking for a job? I would say it is living in perpetual uncertainty. 

I don’t know. And that scares me.

I was just reading a post I wrote an year ago here. And how the whole journey of getting from the past to the present is always different but the same. So I won’t repeat what I said then because though details differ, its the same process all over again. 
But one thing that has kinda stood out for me during this healing/transforming journey is how much change feels different. You see when I first realise that something is wrong in a part of my life, I immediately want to sort it out. And sometimes that is wrong. Because I only get to deal with the symptoms. So after a while when my situation gets worse, I need to go to the root of the problem and deal with it. And this is always more harder than I thought. 

But the most weird part, is when you get over the previous belief system or mindset or behavior that was part of the problem. The newness of change always catches me unawares. Like how am I supposed to adjust to this good new way of doing things? 

For example, I got used to worrying about other people’s problems. I think this got imprinted in me after years of being a first born or a deputy parent. Taking care of my siblings isn’t bad, its actually an honor. But it reaches a point where we ignore our needs since we are used to putting everyone’s needs ahead of ours. This isn’t good for our well-being obviously. 

So as I was unlearning worrying endlessly about others and caring wholesomely for myself, I’ve reached to a point where its becoming a habit to put my needs first. And as much as it is freeing to not worry to death about other people’s lives, that freedom is what i’m talking about. At first it feels weird. Like there is this burden that has been lifted but I don’t know how to walk around burdenless. 

That kamoment after letting go of a bad habit feels exciting in an exhilarating way but very weird. 

And for some of us where we are going through a whole life transforming journey, it has reached a point I just don’t know who I am anymore. Like I can’t recognize myself when I look at my thinking nowadays and the kind of decisions I am making. 

You are even afraid of another day. Like who is this person i’m living in nowadays? And as much as the past isn’t anything I would go back to, I think i’m kinda scared of the woman i’m becoming. Or rather, of the stranger i’m becoming each day. 

Change is good. And change is constant. But what do you do when you can’t recognize yourself anymore? I didn’t expect that kind of change. And I think laziness is to blame for my attitude towards change. 

Because this means knowing myself anew. It means I can’t confidently say ” Mercy loves this and this and eats this and this and does this and this”. What if this new me has changed me completely? 

It sounds weird to tell someone that you are scared of change. But I am. What if I don’t end up being a Christian after all this? I mean will I even be compatible to my friends anymore? 

I don’t know. And that scares me. 

Books


​I’ve had many lovers

But none as demanding as you

None as consuming as you

I’ve needed a savior a bit too many times

And you showed up instead,

Dressed in your let-me-blow-your-mind-away gown

Adorned with your ability to make me forget

And smelling of your sweet scent of taking me away from my reality to other realities

And if I ever pay homage to anyone, then it has to be to you

If I have to thank those who have ever made this life liveable, then my note of thanks to you is bigger than an Oxford dictionary

You, my books , are the real definition of goodness. 

Weird problems. 


I’m suffering from weird problems. The kind of which I never expected would be problems or even difficulties in the first place. Its even hard to complain about them to anyone. You see the way sharing is a problem half solved? In my case i’ll look like a weird specimen saying that this are the kind of issues I’m struggling with. 

I’m finding it hard to accept, expect and work towards good things in life. Like I’m used to surviving. To having the bare minimum. To being okay. To being just there. To having good days and bad days. But talk of happiness? Joy? Excitement? Awesomeness? Peace? 

These are things that used to come so rarely in my life that i couldn’t afford to get used to them. So I thanked God for them and continued surviving in life. Until now, good things seem to be the norm rather than the exception. At first I was like, this isn’t so bad. But with time good things piled up. Others promised to be on the way. 

Now imagine staring at someone’s face and telling them that you are scared of good things. Like I’m worried my life is too good. Like I’m having sleepless nights because I’m not coping, I’m thriving and I have absolutely no idea how to deal with that. Dealing is something I’m good at, but thriving requires just living not dealing. And I’m not used to just letting life be. And the things I’m used to aren’t working. I need to stop getting used to stuff and live each day as it comes. 

I know what I’m supposed to do ,but how I feel is where the struggle is. I’ve always had trouble sleeping. But nowadays my lack of sleep is as a result of the exact opposite of the issues I used to suffer from. Nowadays I’m afraid of sleeping..what if when I wake up something bad will have happened? Like maybe yesterday’s good thing won’t hold water anymore? I’m scared of closing my eyelids lest my life goes back to its torturous self. What if this is just but a phase, waiting to end? And then life resumes its difficultiness? 

Like si I’ll get used to happiness and then when bad times come they’ll catch me unawares? Will I be able to survive then? Thriving requires me to let go and take life as it comes. Surviving required me to anticipate bad things or challenges and offset their pinch even before they arrived. And it worked. But now I can’t be happy yet worried. I can’t be excited yet hopeless. Joy can’t exist with expecting difficulties in the next corner of life. 

I knew 2018 would be different.. just didn’t think it would come with its own set of unique challenges. Like there are all this books on how to overcome challenges and how to survive tough times. But is there a book on how to go through happiness? Or how to sleep while excited? Or how to pray when exceedingly joyful? Or how to talk about ‘good’ problems? When people are sulking on how life sucks, how do you bring up your problems,’ of I’m scared because I have 3 exciting things to do next week and I just don’t know how to survive that happiness?’

I don’t know. I feel so weird already. Like my problems are weird, my life has never been this weird. Are there even solutions to them? Is there anyone who has ever been where I am? 

YESTERDAY I CRIED- IYANLA VANZANT 

Its hard to describe this book. But if I get the kind of audience it targets, its way easy. Well, technically speaking it targets everyone. 

We all need to heal. All of us. None of us was raised in a perfect home, and if you were raised in a good home then certainly you got a bad environment if our society is anything to go by. And we behave as per our nature and how we are nurtured. You can’t be raised in a corrupt environment and get out of it unscathed. 

But few people get to heal. To heal means to sit down and ask yourself, why do I behave the way I do? Why do some things keep on repeating themselves in my life? Why do I attract these kind of people and friends in my life? Why do all my jobs end the same way? Why are my relationships this way? What am I looking for in life? From life? And from the people I interact with. 

And my God isn’t it a hard process!? Imagine if you grew up understanding that to love or to be loved means to be hurt physically. You saw that with your mother who saw it with her mother. You experienced it from your father who saw it from his father and all his friends. How do you then stop that cycle from continuing to happen in your life? Coz unless otherwise that same pattern will play out in your life. Even after countless prayers and fasts to break that cycle and ancestral curses in your life. Unless your subconscious gets another belief system- even when your mind understands that this isn’t right, your inner person doesn’t. Not even new year goals or discipline will sort it out. 

And that is what this book is about- Healing. The way you have to peel the parts of you that hurt. Heal. Then peel again that different corner and heal. And peel again deeper what you thought you had healed, release the hurt and heal again. Its a whole cycle that brings out a more wholesome you each and every time. It takes years to release things you acquired over a lifetime. But the day you stop growing, you start dying. 

And Iyanla Vanzant captures that so perfectly by telling her story. And I loved how she doesn’t give any advice on what you are supposed to do or not do. She just tells her story. You learn from it. I loved how she didn’t let her spirituality seep into all her words. She’s a deeply spiritual person, but for the first time I’ve read a book from a deeply spiritual person who doesn’t try and influence your own spirituality. She let’s you be. 

In case you are on a healing journey..this gem will be of immense help. It reminds us that we are not alone.