I wanted to start this off with a tragic event from my past. Something that I went through all by myself.  So that you could be so thrown by my badassery that you would have no choice than to make it to the end of this post.  See, I’m a strategist (Lol. No I’m not) The whole tragic event thing failed because I now realize I have never at any point in my life gone through anything alone. I have always had people around, comforting me, cheering me  on, annoying the daylights out of me, whatever the case, I have never been alone. I appreciate now what a beautiful thing that is and more importantly I realise that there would be no Nkosi Kwanele Ncube if none of this people were around. I suppose the story of my becoming then becomes a story of my village. Not my birth village, my “it takes a village” village.

I was born into a family that knew two things. A) We knew how to read. B) We knew how to laugh.  I would not have the sense of humour that I have if I had been born into a different family. I learnt very early on in life that there were very few things that are as powerful as the ability to laugh at yourself.  I grew up in a house where people were  playfully teased daily and the truth is there is nothing anyone can tell me now about myself that I don’t already know, even better nothing you can tell me about myself that I can’t make fun of. When we weren’t laughing, we were reading, I learnt the value of books very early on . And I read so I could take in as much as of the world as possible without travel costs and all the stuff that I can’t afford.  I don’t think I would have the appreciation of the world that I have now if I hadn’t started reading early on. I also doubt that I would have even attempted a career in writing if I wasn’t a reader.

My friendship village is made of the most  supportive, most insightful people. From my friends I have learnt to loosen up. I’m possibly one of the most uptight people I know but #bff and Nozi and Kaluba have helped in helping me let loose. As loose as I can let, they’re human, not miracle workers.  Then there’s Mphatso who I find is one of the best people to work with, #bff again who has been my sounding board since we started writing “novels” in church at age 13. And I know that one day, Belz and I will start a business that actually lasts.  And I wouldn’t be the person I am if I hadn’t met Stha.  I think more than any of my friends, Stha taught me kindness and tolerance.  And would I be me without Tyron and Shirley listening to my constant nagging? I really wouldn’t.

I grew up and still live in a small neighbourhood. Where everybody knows everybody else and everybody is nice to everybody else. These are the kind of people who will give your kids a ride to school  when you can’t, they’ll pick up the police for you if you need them to, they’ll share their leftovers with you. And this is where I learnt the value of community. Appreciated that umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, I became the person I became because of who they were to me.

So how did I take something that was clearly about how I became me and make it about everybody else? Because like I just said, I am because of the people that I know. My life could have turned out dramatically differently if I had been born into a different family, made different friends and grew up in a different neighbourhood. I probably wouldn’t even  be here writing this right now.  So when you ask how I became who I became, you’re essentially asking me to tell you about the people I know.