Owning MY Both
In my head it seemed an easy enough article, a lens into my “both” and my multi-faceted nature until I had to sit down, and gather my thoughts and piece this introspective article…
I have a very active brain that likes to pick things apart, even when they seem straightforward enough – I am highly analytical; and while this bodes well in business, it mostly means overthinking myself to a point of confusion.
So, there I was picking apart the motive and the heart of what both means to me. I have read the brilliant submissions on ladies that have earnestly shared how they encapsulate being multi-faceted in their private lives, and at the end of each reflective read I have pointed the finger back to myself and asked: “What is the true meaning of your both?”
Defining MY Both
I colloquially profess to be a village-born snob-slash-nerd and, although this is mostly said tongue-in-cheek, it is very true. I have, what I call, typical Capricorn taste – a tad on the materialistic and luxe side of life; and I am also a nerd and a high academic achiever. I love academia and its pursuit. It is also a fact that I was born in a rural area, and spent the weekends of my formative years there. So yes, I am a village-born snob-slash-nerd.
I was born in a rural area in the Midlands region of KwaZulu-Natal, a village called KwaMgwagwa. My family moved from there when I was two-years old, however school holidays and weekends were spent in the “rurals” with extended family. At a young age I had to assimilate to two contrasting environments; my weekdays which were spent at a former Model C School, as one of very few black faces; and, my weekends and holidays spent in the village having careless fun.
I loved my time KwaMgwagwa and socialising with my cousins. We would pick ama-jikijolo (wild berries) and stuff them into empty 1.25Litre glass bottles of cool-drink, add water and produce some sort of a wild berry compote – in our heads we were making a yummy sugary berry drink. We would play carelessly in the stream, walk long distances through the plantation and have the time of our lives. Then on Monday, I would sit in Mrs. Ferraris’ class and be a bright-eyed, slightly awkward black girl with a well-formed twang and an appetite to learn. As young as I had been then, that was my first encounter with the multifaceted sides of my personality and adapting to different environments. I didn’t realise it then, but I had the seamless ability to move in between environments and to adapt and stay true to myself in those environments. Imagine that: a nine-year old “BOTH”. My early introduction to contrasting environments taught me an important life skill that still bodes me well, the skill of adaptation and being fluid enough to fit into different environments.
Living MY Both
I kept a lot from my rural exposure including my inability to look at people in the eye, I always speak and look around a person – it’s something I will have to work on. Sakhula kuthiwa umuntu akabhekwa emehlweni (We were raised to a belief that you do not look a person in the eyes), unless you are challenging them. I recently watched an episode of Uthando Nes’thembu where the wives of, polygamist, Musa Mseleku, were being taught ukusinda – which is how to apply wet cow dung onto the floor of a rondavel, as a floor finishing – I immediately recognised this from my childhood. I still know that I’ve got it, I know ukusinda and I could probably do it even with these Shellac long nails that I have.
I learned innovation at a young age because of the lack of resources in the village, and I also learned about resourcefulness and work ethic. These were skills that spilled over into my adult roles, and towards being a multi-faceted adult.
I have a very full life, and I love it. I could manage it better, but it is what it is for now. I am a both, a proud both. I own my multi-faceted nature. I realise that being a both goes beyond the surface – being a BOTH means more than just going from my weave in the city to being in a pinafore and running around emakhaya; it means understanding that I never ever have to choose which is the best side of me or which is the side that we get to show the world. Being a BOTH means that I am a highly ambitious professional and entrepreneur, with an excellent record, but I still get to be with my girls and be a BAD BAD without feeling that one area is superior to the other.
I’m liberated in the idea of living my both – in all my environments. I am liberated that I can be everything I throw my dart at, and excel, without believing that there is a best me or the me which the world should see. I raise a crystal flute (because, yes dah-ling I do love beautiful things) to my “BOTH-ness”. I celebrate with pride my ability to fit into different environments and feel authentic. I am the Dudu that came to Jozi and owned her path.
My name is Vuyi, a proud member of the BOTH club. I am me. A kaleidoscope personified and, the real life manifestation of miscellaneous. I am a hardworking entrepreneur, a Christian daughter, a stubborn Zulu girl, and a compassionate heart. I am ALL.
I’m inherently a chameleon… to not evolve is to not live – Andra Day