January 21 was my birthday. I don’t expect anything spectacular as I have outgrown the birthday fever. That does not mean I don’t accept presents. I also love the birthday wishes and welcome treats and this day was no exception. I had fun and enjoyed the attention. Thanks to all who made the day memorable.
Two particular phone calls have stuck with me. My former colleagues surprised me, not necessarily with their phone calls, but their messages. Their words are still ringing loudly in my ears. Thank you guys. Allow me to share your soothing messages.
Fatsani Gunya’s birthday wish unpacked how inspiring my own experiences have been to others, him inclusive. I have confided in him several times about circumstances that only God understood why they were happening to me. Fatsani has been encouraging, sharing with me biblical pieces of advices and examples. His words have been comforting. “You must realise that your predicaments are allowed by God to save or encourage someone out there with your experience. You’re a strong woman and nothing in your way comes by chance. I get encouraged and my faith grows.”
Tibonge Kampondeni said she was forever indebted to me as a journalist. She remembered a previous stint together as young journalists where we faced enormous pressure and resistance from our male colleagues. They used to gang up against women during meetings and treated us like sub-standard journalists. Meeting times became unbearable as the newsroom turned into a war zone instead of a place of learning and growth. We were antagonised and nothing we said or did made sense.
She said: “I remember one occasion when I cried. I was called to one of the offices and I cracked. Carol, you came to my desk, packed my handbag and told me to follow you. We left the premises and while outside the gate, you told me to disregard the fools. I told you I was not coming back the following day as I had decided to quit. You stopped me from quitting and advised me to never shed a tear the next time the lions roared at us. I returned the following day as per your advice and never cried again. That was how I remained in journalism. I will never forget you Carol.”
What birthday presents. Both Fatsani and Tibonge can afford to buy me the best of gifts, but I want the two of them to know that being acknowledged and cherished in such a manner surpasses any silver or gold. You made me smile for the simple ways I impacted your lives. Thank you for letting me know. If I am to talk about how I have been impacted by Fatsani and Tibonge, it would seem as if I am simply reciprocating their sentiments. I will save mine for another day. For now, I shall appreciate their gestures and leave it at that.
I have also drawn lessons from my two friends. I will indeed tell other people’s impact on my life. It’s worth letting people know while they are still living. Friendship is such a treasure. Let’s complement each other all the time, even our spouses, children, colleagues, etc as compliments enrich souls.