At the end of every year, I reflect on my moments of significant learnings.
The Past is the Past but It Can Still Hurt in the Present
We are often told to let go of the past, that is serves no purpose to dwell on it. And that’s true, very true. That doesn’t stop the past from creeping up on us though and it certainly doesn’t stop the emotions that come with remembering. You can’t delete memories; you can try to suppress them but that doesn’t always work. There are reminders, there are triggers, there more moments of insensitivity from others that bring back whole movies, not just flashes, of the past. Sometimes you can fight it, sometimes you can’t and when you can’t, then you can’t. The best is to work with it and work through it. I am trying to get better at that part.
Patience is a Virtue
Four years ago, I asked my boss (Ukhozi FM Programmes Manager – Zandile Tembe) for a few things in relation to the show Sithakela Isizwe. As workplaces usually are, you don’t always get what you want or what you ask for. Simply because there are processes, budgets and plans. The number of times I’ve been in her office, annoyed and generally being a pain, I’m sure she cannot even count. This year, all that I asked her for came to fruition. All ‘boom boom boom’ it happened and it came together, the way that I had been so impatient for it to come together for so long. I needed to be patient. I needed to be reminded of that this year.
People Will Amaze You
Many of the surprises this year came in the form of people and their actions. Someone who really didn’t have to care about what I was trying to do (in a business sense) was immensely helpful and incredibly kind. In essence, they rescued me. Someone whom I thought and still think I had not slighted showed me perhaps the greatest disrespect that I have ever been shown in a professional sense. There were some disappointments in the experiences that I had with people that I felt that I had shown respect and support but if I look at the overwhelming support, kindness, love and generosity from people who really would have been justified in being disinterested, there were a thousand times more positives than negatives. And those are the blessings that I choose to focus on.
I Got It When I Felt It
A work associate who has become an amazing personal friend once shared with me an experience where on site at a conference, someone abandoned the work they were supposed to do because they were reprimanded (I’m told it was done respectfully) for not executing the task properly. I think that’s inappropriate. She thinks so too; but the message she was trying to drive home was that at work, manage the emotions of the people working for or reporting to you in order to get the tasks done and when the tasks are done then deal with any issue. I heard what she was saying but my logical self disagreed. I kept on asking her ‘but how will the task be done properly if the issues aren’t addressed there and then so that the standards could be maintained.
When I felt what she had said, then I GOT it. I was an MC at a function and the event manager was a very loud and very verbose person. I made a mistake and he expressed his displeasure. Not in an unkind way at all, but in a very strong way. Then he couldn’t find me (I was sitting backstage during a music item in the programme) and got stressed and phoned me shouting for me to be in my place – he was standing right behind me and couldn’t see me. I got annoyed. Further down the programme, I went on stage too early (because now I was worried about him not seeing me on stage and having another stressful moment and shouting again) and he got annoyed with that and raised his voice at me in front of people. He was not horrible at all, he was not disrespectful at all; he just wanted things to go a certain way and very strongly expressed himself when they didn’t. That left me feeling very shaky and I expressed that to him. He calmly said ‘okay’ and didn’t say another word to me the whole evening after that. I believe it was to reduce my shakiness. And I credit him for that. He listened to what was making me uncomfortable and he did what he needed to do for me to carry on working. On the other hand, I felt what my friend had said and because of that, her advice made that much more sense. She taught me a valuable management lesson.
The Master’s Hand is Always at Work
I am a planner of note – I schedule everything to perfection and it gives me SO much joy when everything goes according to plan. I plan every single thing. But over 12 years ago I threw out the planning book for my life. Back then I had my life planned out, every single aspect of it; but the powers that be worked on giving me the life that would fulfil me, not the life that I wanted. It’s been an amazing life – it’s had highs and it’s had rock bottom lows. The lows have been short-lived because a higher power has always amazingly and powerfully intervened.
This year I was reminded by that higher power again – I finished something that is so important to me. And I looked back at those that we started the journey with but who didn’t make it because of circumstances that they just could not help. And I looked at my circumstances; how nothing in a three-year period was allowed to distract me and how anything that threatened to distract me, was eliminated or not allowed to flourish. I looked at coincidences that proved serendipitous, prayers that were answered and puzzles that just fit together at the right time. That was not through my wisdom, that was not my doing – it was the powers that be. Ever present, ever guiding, ever loving. I do not walk alone. I walk with a power much greater than me.
There are four people that have had a huge influence on who I am as Nongcebo. The first two being my parents because of course, I have their genes. I am very much my parents’ daughter. Looking at either one of them, you cannot doubt that I am their child. But I am also my paternal grandmother’s daughter; I never met her because I was born the year that she passed on but I my name ‘Vukile’ comes from her passing that year. But I am told by my parents that I am her in many ways. I am told by friends of my parents who knew her, that I am her in many ways.
The other person that lives within me is MaSangweni, my maternal grandmother. I spent most of my childhood with her; the greatest woman who ever lived. Brave, selfless, beautiful, graceful, generous, strong – I could list countless adjectives to describe MaSangweni. Her advice rings loud in my ears and it gets louder and louder as I get older. Every single year since 2013, there have been significant events in my life that I have wished that she had had the opportunity to be part of. At times, I have felt that they weren’t as significant because she wasn’t there for them.
This year I realised that she is here for those moments, because her teachings have guided me to them.
All at the Right Time
This year, I got a Christmas gift, unexpectedly. An amazing blessing. And it came at the perfect time. At the right time in my life and at the right time for me. Yet again, the Master’s hand.