Umukenyezi: But What if?


What if, I do not cry when they take my baby saying I am a bad mom?

Will you let them do without caring about how I feel?

What if, tears do not flow on my cheeks when he rapes me?

Will you tell me I was agreeing with him?

What if, I do not hide in the closet to cry when I realize my paycheck isn’t as big as his when we do the same job?

Will you then think I am okay with it?

What if I do not cry when I receive the call from the army saying you would not be coming back home?

Will it mean I did not love you?

What if, not a single drop of tear was shed when they made it hard for me to get the job I want and should I say the one I am qualified for?

Will you think I agree with the fact of just settling for any job I get?

What if, you do not see me drying a mix of sweat and tears when I am carrying: all that wood on my head, your baby on my back and jerry can of water in my hand?

Will you consider me as a person who does not accept help?

What if I choose not to listen to you when you tell me raise my skirt just a little bit and unbutton my shirt to get those grades?

Will I just be too stubborn for not listening to your advices?

What if I do not agree with the fact that we both were in that bed but I am the only one living with the consequences?

Will I then fit in that “crybaby box” you try to put me in?


See I am complex and I do not express every emotion with my tears.

The thought of not being able to raise my baby kills me but I will keep it together so I do not scare her.

Tears won’t come when he rapes me because they have become thorns around my heart

I won’t cry over my paycheck because regardless of how many buckets I fill with tears, nothing will change.

I won’t cry when the army calls because to be honest I am still hoping that they called the wrong number and that you will be back in time to help me deliver our baby, you always keep your promises anyways.

I won’t get in that teacher’s bed even if it leads to failing his class, because dignity is still a word in my vocabulary.

I won’t expect any help from you. I won’t feel betrayed if you act according to the little you think you know about me.


See ndi Umwigeme I still have a lot to learn and I believe the best place would be in school not in his room.

See ndi Umukenyezi, and nobody ever said life would be easy for me.

See ndi Umurundikazi, and culture often means I have to sacrifice. But you know what? I think that I have sacrificed  enough now.  I am my sister’s keeper and I will not remain calm. I will keep moving for her, for my daughter and for all the other generations to come.

For now, I will gather those wood pieces singing “Hora hora nkwinginge” to put my baby to sleep. I will make sure I do not forget to fill the jerrycan with water for tonight. And if you see me go by and do not offer help, I won’t be mad because deep down I know that I am the Hero I always needed.

Cheers to Us, the silent but moving Force!

Mlle Gapfasoni

Images ©: Population connection


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