a mirror of life

her poem appealed to him
with its pains and passion
he couldn’t get enough of it
it was a beautiful throbbing
its ache echoed and echoed
at the lowest part of his heart
it was a beautiful ache, a pinch
his heart pined for over and over
its encores of pains were his pills
her poem pleasured his earlobes
her poem seduced his pained heart
as it weaved together several layers
and aspects of human flaws and foolery
and not only gave him an understanding
of everyday intricacies and enticements
but also a mirror of creativity & authenticity

The Dangers Of Child Marriages:Billions Of Dollars Lost In Human Capital And Earnings


The practice of child marriages and its attendant problems invariably revolves around—among another considerations and reasons —families, communities, societies and countries.

Child marriages often occur in remote parts of the country where essential civil service is elusive and perpetrators are rarely brought to book. Girls, typically get married by virtue of pressure from parents, relatives, poverty and a lack of choices and chances. United Nations estimates that child marriages will cost developing countries trillions of dollars by 2030.

Child marriages are a cancer that is gradually eating away the vital organs of a country. The social and economic make-up of a country is under strain due to unfulfilled dreams of a youthful age group that should be the working class in a country’s demography. The landscape of the working class is short-changed. This then encourages the vicious circle of poverty that children born by mothers bound in such unions find themselves in. One major challenge is limited access to education. Yet education is key to their personal and professional success and freedom.

Low educational attainment for girls has possible negative bearings on several development outcomes. The author takes an interesting look at the various outcomes, their effects and economic costs.
Despite considerable progress registered over the last two decades, girls have lower levels of educational attainment than boys in a number of countries, particularly at the secondary and tertiary levels. Poor access to quality education coupled with families` skewed prioritization of boys’ education as opposed to girls` schooling, and inadequate job opportunities– all add salt to the wound of perpetuating this painful practice.

Ndaba Sibanda, in his new book, “The Dangers of Child Marriages: Billions of Dollars Lost in Earnings and Human Capital” highlights how occupational discrimination and social norms collaborate to discourage women from utilizing and taking complete advantage of labour market opportunities. These factors and forces at play lead to grave discrepancies in earnings between men and women.
Low educational attainment has a bearing on the girls` course of life they follow. Early abandonment of schooling, premature motherhood, early wifehood– all these routes and situations pose a number of dangers or risks for the girls. Health, violence, poverty, lack of decision-making ability in the household, enfeebled solidarity in communities and reduced women`s participation in society being among a host of them.

The article further probes the role of education in illuminating the lives of girls who find themselves enticed to such marriages and to also educate society about the legal, emotional, economic and social repercussions thereof.

The author explores the causes and effects of child marriages by questioning the morality of those who instigate such a practice. He highlights the dangers and damages of child marriages and the need for the African continent to work tirelessly and collectively to end this social malpractice. He sheds light on what child marriage is and picks on the stories of affected individuals to expose the hardships they face as victims and targets of this monstrous and multidimensional arrangement.

The article gives refreshing insight into the responsibilities of the affected countries and communities in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women; and the role of poverty in fuelling child marriages. He brutally attacks the age-old practice by highlighting how in some instances girls have absolutely no chance to redeem themselves out of child marriages because somewhere in this matrix there is a materialistic parent or guardian who is being tempted by the love of money to exploit their girl child. Indeed the love of money is the root of all evil. The problem of child marriages as he points out is not limited to Africa alone but extends to other continents.

The book examines and highlights how lack of education for girls at national level leads to sizable losses in wealth, human capital, less comprehensive policy-making, a lower emphasis on public investments in the social sectors and higher population growth.
He concludes that the problem can be curbed by inculcating good family values among other tenets and suggestions. The message is sound, loud and proud; for countries and companies to accomplish their development potential, the education and promotion of girls cannot be overemphasized.

Let us call to mind the powerful and beautiful African Proverb “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. Dear reader, let your eyes and mind feast on this enlightening book.

Banqobile Virginia Dakamela
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Bulawayo’s Benediction


if ever there was a beautiful
brook, then she is the one
she is a brook whose waters
are destined to deal once
and for all with Bulawayo’s
perennial droughts & dupes
our royal city has a capacity
to produce game-changers
and Busisiwe is one of them
Busisiwe is Bulawayo`s pride
a philanthropist whose work
speaks a lot about her love
for humanity and the city
what lurks within her soul
is not a malady but a melody
exemplary is her track record:
orphanages, scholarships, jobs
a sleaze-buster, a bold builder
of homes ,hopes and horizons
her song is a doer and a dancer
hers is a song that plays & floats
within the depth of her heart
it inspires, stirs, and galvanizes
hearers to become nothing
else but heirs and heiresses,
humble heroes and heroines
what dances within her heart
are the metaphors and mirrors
of souls whose lives & dreams
and destinies have been touched
& transformed & blessed for posterity
her name solely means The Blessed One
a selfless beauty, she is a blessing to the city
a superwoman, she is human ,solid & afloat
for Bulawayo`s blues to be overcome, ownership
has to be reclaimed, concerted efforts applied
as far as Busisiwe is concerned, sleaze has no home
in the city if residents want it to be magnificent again

What’s Love Got To Do With It

2020 What’s Love Got To Do With It-themed Arts Showcase Exhibit


2020 What’s Love Got To Do With It-themed Arts Showcase Exhibit

Reverie painting and At The End Of The Day poem by Alys Caviness-Gober

by Nancy Simmonds


Sweet fractal by John Caviness

Coming Home
by Chuck Kellum

Your love is the candle
That glows in the window of your eyes,
Telling me you, too,
Have longed for my journey’s end.

Be My Valentine (Baba Luba Nut Doll) by Alys Caviness-Gober

Lessons Of Love Unlearned
by Ndaba Sibanda

With a heart loaded with love
She leapt into the nuptial waters

And whirled as if unlearning to learn
Habits of drowning in spidery chitchats

That came in several sizes, shapes and flavors ~
Brown-sugar or fine- salt-begging pleasantries

And discovered lessons unlearned about love
And the depths and dimensions of nuptial pools

Teachings whose basis for progress was positivity
Persistence, proof ~ not the whispers of the buzzing bees

Beauty painting by Alys Caviness-Gober

I Hurt Because I Choose to Love
By Sophie Doell © 2012, Revised in January 2020.

Ever since I left her home for college, I haven’t spent more than a couple of weeks at a time with my mother (often just a few days).  In my early to mid-20’s, I had gone through the whole healing process, from being angry and not wanting anything to do with her (because after all she doesn’t accept me as I am), to forgiving, accepting, and loving her as she is (after finding God’s unconditional love for me to be all I need, I was freed from the need to have her approval).  But still, whenever we come together for more than a few days, there would always be a moment of high drama where she would be mad at me because I’d somehow failed to do something she’d hoped I’d do (but never told me).  We’d part with many things left unsaid.  This has been the pattern for over 30 years.

But My mother is getting very old now, and I’m not so young myself anymore.  In recent years, with many older friends passing on to the land yonder, I’d been wanting to really talk things over with my mother, in hope that we can somehow live the rest of our time together in true peace and mutual acceptance.  So in March of 2012, when my mother called to say she would like to come for an extended visit, I talked it over with my husband Paul, and we both thought it would be a good chance not only for me to finally have time to talk things through with my mother, but also for us to test the waters about the possibility of her coming to live with us in the future when she’s too old to live alone.

Summer of 2012 was both the happiest and saddest time I’ve had with my mother.  I enjoyed reminiscing with her as we looked through the things from my childhood that she’d kept but now wanted me to keep.  I loved seeing her smiling face as she enjoyed the flowers at the various conservatories we visited together.  I was glad to finally be able to hug her and show her some affection that was impossible to do over the phone.  On my 50th birthday that July, I was glad she was here to celebrate the milestone with me, and we laughed till we cried at my son Tristan’s gag gift to me (a package of Post-It notes for my failing memory).  I still chuckle whenever I think of how, after being the subject of my photography and taking directions from me for a few weeks, she began to pose herself and directed me to take pictures of her, and I will always cherish the photographs that I’ve taken of our time together.

I was sad though, when she scolded me as if I was still a child for laughing too loud, for wearing my hair loose instead of tied up, for not wearing the jade earrings she gave me (they didn’t go with what I was wearing then and I was saving them to wear later), for not sitting next to her at dinner one time at a restaurant, and a multitude of things I didn’t even know were offensive to her.  I was sad when she misinterpreted what I did (or did not do), and no matter how I tried to explain, she still believed that her version was what happened.  I was sad when she became jealous whenever she perceived that I was paying more attention to anyone else, especially Auntie Sarah, a family friend, whom my mother had invited to come along for the extended visit.  Auntie Sarah and I have been close ever since I was about 13.  She’s the one whom I talked to when things got rough at home.  But I guess my mother had no idea how close Auntie Sarah and I were until these past couple of months when we were living together.

The saddest thing of all was seeing and recognizing patterns of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in my mother’s behavior.  I am not a professional psychologist, of course, so this isn’t an official diagnosis (and she would never willingly go to a psychologist to be evaluated), but I have studied psychology enough to know what the characteristics of NPD are.  Moreover, I know how impossible it is for someone with NPD to change, to grow, to have healthy relationship, to truly love, simply because one of the characteristics of NPD is that the person cannot see or accept their own fault.  It’s a fact that one cannot grow or change if one is unable or unwilling to see one’s fault or mistake.  What this means is that I will never be able to truly talk heart-to-heart with my mother, for she cannot see anyone else’s perspective but her own.  This is the reason why all attempts in the past years and these couple of months had failed.

As I said good-bye to her at the airport, I looked into her eyes and saw her longing to be close to me, and her sadness that, once again, things did not turn out as she had hoped.   There were so many things I wanted to say, things that I had been saying for years, and especially the past two months, to her, but she couldn’t hear me.  I saw the pain in her eyes as she suffered inside the prison of her personality disorder, and there wasn’t a thing I could do to free her from it.  All I could do then was to hold her close so I could take my eyes off of hers and cried silently to myself.

I’m hurting, but not because she doesn’t accept me or love me as I am, or that our relationship isn’t good.  I had dealt with that loss long ago when I realized that I could never be the daughter she wanted me to be.  I’m hurting because I love her and I can empathize with her pain, the prison that she’s in.  The only way I can stop hurting is to stop loving and caring about her.  I can’t stop loving her because she’s my mother, not some unrelated person on earth that I can just cut out of my life.  And so, I hurt, because I choose to love.

Flames of Hope by Nancy Simmonds

Home Is Where The Heart Is painting by Alys Caviness-Gober

by Ndaba Sibanda

Her lover walked out
On her on their anniversary
And left her lost in her mental cobwebs

A shockwave swept away with her to a sea
Of bewilderment when she was expecting
Nothing short of entertainment

HeartSmart, aka White Rabbit mixed media by Alys Caviness-Gober

Recoiling Into Oneself
by Ndaba Sibanda

she struggled to surmount it
it sought to turn her inside out
she battled with a wild thirst
it pierced the walls of her heart

he was making a calculated move
like a chess player he knew how
the tour left no pore unexplored
it left a trail of wows and murmurs

it pitted her heart against reason
she had to contend with its rage
to grapple with its bold blindness
but her mind lit up and took it on

he was fast throwing away himself
his garments tumbled on the floor
with careless abandon and whispers
her flinching brought his tour to a halt

Love Bug Abroad by John Caviness

Not That Path Again
by Ndaba Sibanda

She gave the wind’s bait her back
For experience was her conscience
She who had heard hounds infested
With rabies bark wildly all day long

The wind had a way of being fulsome
Its tongue was sweeter than honey
But then it hid rabies and rubbish
She had trodden that path before

Hello, I Love You, Won’t You Tell Me Your Name painting by Alys Caviness-Gober

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