Ndicela Undikhaphe

Ndicela Undikhaphe

This is a love language for a lot of people. It provides a feeling of safety and security. It builds trust, not only for you the person asking, but for the party being asked as well. It lets your inner child know that they are loved and valued. It may look like a small thing at face value, but it holds so much significance.

Asking for help is a big task especially when you are not accustomed to it. It requires a level of vulnerability a lot of us are not comfortable with. I grew up in a small close-knit community from birth to 11/12. After that, I moved to the city to be with my mother and I was suddenly alone most of the time. She was a young single mother trying to make ends meet, so I don’t blame her for her absence. I had to quickly learn to navigate city life by myself. It took me forever to make friends in the city and part of it was because I was accustomed to life emakhaya, where my childhood bestie made friends for me. Shout out my Amber.

I would go to the shops alone. I would walk to school alone. After school, I would do my homework, fix myself lunch, watch YO TV, read a book and just be myself. For the most part, I enjoyed the solitude. I realise that for me to function optimally, I need quite a bit of alone time. On Saturdays, I would go to the library to loan 6 books for the coming week and that activity was fun for me. Eventually, I made friends in the city and my alone time was reduced significantly. Had Kamo not approached me at the park, I doubt I would have made friends in grade 6 and grade 7.

Sometimes, I would hide from my friends when they wanted us to go play. They’d knock and I’d be still, pretending not to be home. If they bumped into me by happenstance, on my way from whatever place of solitude I preferred, I would tell them I couldn’t play because I needed to be home for whatever reason.

Now that I am a fully fledged adult, trained in the battlefield of 2021 and a global pandemic, I can see how my formative years, particularly that period of moving from emakhaya to the city, affected my interpersonal relations with others. It created a rupture in my understanding of self in relation to community. Had I been my caregivers at the time, I would have approached this matter significantly differently. Perhaps communicating that I would move to the city and not find myself sengiqukuliwe, sengiyi city gworl ngingacelile would have eased the culture shock and this rupture in understanding of self in relation to community? I don’t know. I’m reflecting from the perspective of my 12 year old self, informed by the cognitive faculties of a fully fledged adult- thank you 2021.

You might be wondering what the opening line has to do with my reflections? Let’s get into it.

As a result of this rupture in understanding of self in relation to community, I tend to take on many things at once ngifike ngixakeke phambili. And when it’s time to ask for help, I will be riddled with anxiety, overthinking and imagining all the worst case scenarios possible. I really do torture myself, phew! In recent weeks, I have been reflecting on this chronic need to do everything alone and have come to this conclusion: IT’S IMPOSSIBLE, HLOENYA! It’s unsustainable. It’s not healthy. It only hurts you.

We need community. We cannot function alone. Vulnerability is difficult, but it’s okay. You will ask for help and sometimes it will be extended and at other times it will not be extended. And when people are unable to show up, do not take it as an affront to your vulnerability. Do not apply extremes to asking for help. Keep an open mind and know that help will come to you when you need it.

This blog post is so reminiscent of the Hermit and 6 of cups in tarot. There is a need to create balance between solitude, walking alone, etc. and belonging to a community. As we walk out of the battlefield that was 2021 and towards a 2022 we’re uncertain of, I hope we shed parts of ourselves that keep us bound to the lonely road. May our communities strengthen and may we gain confidence in asking our friends and family to walk with us. May ndicela undikhaphe be woven into the tapestries of our lives.

Lesedi bana ba thari e ntsho

Gogo Malepena

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  • Beautiful Read Nkgono ❤️ I can almost picture the changes that transpired and a lot of us can relate to that abrupt change from being able to say “cela undikhaphe” at someone’s house (emakhaya) at 7 am to transitioning to being a lonesome preTeen who is unable to socialise and has that one person who becomes their Kamo. I could take a 1000 lessons from this piece but this comment would never end. Thokoza Gogo

  • Beautifully said. I agree completely. For me, I am always able to recognize when people need help, but I go the extra mile to make people feel that they do not need to worry about me, that I have it together. I’m handling it. Which only ends up harming me. Yes it feels great to do what you need to do for yourself, but it feels even better to receive help at times. I try to imagine the relief I give others is the same I’m worthy of. I’m 19 this year and I jumped at the thought of being independent and giving abazali bam that relief of, okay, he has it from here. When even now, I don’t at times. I’m learning that this does not make me weak or less of the person and young man I’m trying to become. Ndingumntu, ngoko ke umntu ngumntu ngabantu.

    Thank you for this read. It’s really helping put things into perspective for me this morning. Ndiyabulela!

  • Enkosi Gogo ♥️

    “Ndicela undikhaphe” is so meaningful to me because I struggle voicing it, while understanding it’s depth and appreciating it so. It’s such a critical act, filled with consideration and utmost love.

  • I relate to this so much! I think back to little me, living with her mom post my parents divorce. Always feeling like a loner even when at my grandparents house (I was bullied most of the time) and then going to boarding school. It took so much of me to actually be outside with other kids. I felt like an outcast most part of it. As extroverted as I was! I was so used to not being social, that even in my late teens when friends would hang out, I’d make an excuse to stay at home – I was afraid of my mom’s “No” and so I never asked even.

    I’ve struggled asking for help from anyone but my mother. Le ene, it takes a lot for me to be able to ask for help! I’m working on changing that because if anything, God has blessed me with so many people who are ever so eager to extend themselves towards me.

    Beautiful Peace Lerato la ka❤️

  • This is so beautifully written, I relate to the loner so much even though, unlike you, I was never uprooted. even now as an adult, I catch my inner child inner childing when it is time to be social but I am slowly working on her. I also love the part about being open-minded when needing help, not taking offense when people can’t extend help because life is difficult for everyone. help always comes, and even when it doesn’t, I’ve learned that the world doesn’t stop. thank you Nkgono.

    • Thank you, Ree ❤️

      I’m taking your words into my heart about the world not stopping even when help doesn’t come because sometimes all we can do is navigate things alone. It also lowers the expectation that people must help all the time, even when they’re incapacitated to do so. Thank you for this reflection.

  • What a read nkgono! I’m the last of two girls at home, you’d think it’s easier for me to ask or receive help from others but no.
    I always feel like I’m bothering people so reading that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes is putting me at ease.

    I laughed so much at you hiding away because even in my adult life I sometimes do it.

  • thank you Gogo, your words found me and I am able to put words to what I have become. Thank you for reminding me of the person that died in me when going through drastic changes and transition in my life. I understand why I have been running, neglecting family and friends, being a Hermit. As I move forward in the years I am opening my self to people abazakundihambisa lendlela bandikhaphe de ndifike apho ndisingisakhona

  • ❤️❤️❤️
    Ahhhh 🥺

    Today I’ve been sitting on beeg beeg emotions and I thought the moon is in Hammanskraal but I also had a conversation with Ngele about me and solitudes and failing to ask for help.

    I’ve been away from my parents since I was 9 – been at boarding school then res then I worked eRhawutini. I’m struggling so much with this, so much it affects how I relate to people romantically.

    This piece is shedding some light. Thank you

    • Us water people are always sitting on beeg beeg emotions 😂😂

      There’s something about having to tend to yourself early that creates a belief that only you can show up for yourself and no one else. I wish better for us. Uncedo kukhona, lunintsi and we deserve to be unburdened ❤️❤️❤️

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