Celebrating International Women’s Day: The Woman Who Inspires Me the Most

Thinking about this article had me browsing the internet, looking for famous, great women to inspire me. I looked at Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Serena Williams, Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg….but deep down, I already knew who my inspiration is: my mother (let me explain–I don’t want to sound cliche!).

In 2008, Zimbabwe went through a serious economic meltdown. Things were too expensive; for example, you would go to the store with a bag full of money just to buy bread. However, I did not experience any of these hardships first-hand because of my mother. My mother says that at some point her salary was only enough to buy a box of matches, so how is it possible that I did not feel the suffering Zimbabwe went through in 2008? Well, because my mother is such a hard worker. She got a loan and went to South Africa to buy things that were in demand in Zimbabwe. She paid back the loan and with the profits she would go back to South Africa and buy more things to sell. That’s how we survived in 2008. Two years later she moved to Botswana in search of a better job. When she got it, that job paid for my high school education.

My mother inspires me so much because of her work ethic. I have watched her make so many sacrifices for me, some of which she didn’t even have to make, just so that I could feel comfortable around children with both parents. She raised me with no help from my father at all, and she was very strong about it. So many things could have broken her, but she went through them and came out stronger. She moved us from unsafe neighborhoods to safer ones and through all kinds of houses (one-room apartments and cottages). Each day she worked harder so that the next day would be better. She always made sure I was happy even if it meant her being uncomfortable. She worked multiple jobs; she was always tired but she never gave up. 

Knowing that all she has done has been for my happiness is the only inspiration I need to work hard in life. I want all the suffering she went through when I was growing up to pay off. I am who I am because of her, and I will continue working hard for her. I love her so much. Now she is working  in Oman, and she recently bought herself a car there. That’s something that seemed impossible a few years back!

Here are a few pictures of me and my mother. I hope this inspires someone too.

By Tapiwanashe Shava, Zimbabwe, Maryville College