Sunday, July 17, 2016


My grandmother passed on from pain to eternity on 15 July 2016. Her name was Dora. 

Ngiyabonga Gogo (Thank you Gran). I always felt that these prayers were my secret weapon. We always ended our calls with promises of prayer for each other..and I am certain you kept your end of the deal. Now that you are gone, these prayers will cease for me but I will do my best to pray for everyone else just like you did for all of us.

I am going through memories and thoughts towards  and of my grandmother. This is no particular order and really its part of my processing process. I hope you find hope as I recount about Dora, because J'aDora.

  • My granny was uneducated,but wise and although she had very little in terms of finances she was extremely generous. She was the mother 10 children, that were born in very difficult political times and she was proud that each of them has been successful in their own right! My dad, aunts and uncles were raised with in the church as my grandfather was a man of the cloth, and continues to be a man of great faith!

  • My grandparents were as different in looks as they were in persona; my grandfather with a booming voice, boisterous and very dark complexion. Whereas my grandmother has a very light with a gentle, yet firm nature. In my mind, I called them "Coke and Fanta."  My grandparents had been together for over 60 years and all my life I have only ever known them together, side by side, cane to cane. I dont know what its going to look like and be like to see my grandfather alone- none of us can picture it and that what is making us all worry. 

  • This year I called my grandmother to wish her happy birthday as she was turning 77. It was my first time ever doing this and evidently also my last. Yet, every year- without fail she would remember my birthday and when she could get hold of me, she would sing me a jolly rendition of happy birthday.

  • I have had body image issues for the longest time and I remember getting upset with my mother once and asking her "Why did you marry my father before you saw his mother? Now I am stuck with these genes and I will be fat forever!." 

My grandmother was born in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and somehow met a young man from Mozambique and they lived together till parted by death, in Zimbabwe. I dont have the full details of how this happened, but I know they tried to explain it to me and  I all I can remember is my grandfather calling her "ntombi" which means "young woman" and thinking "I want this kind of love". 

I am a South African citizen by descent by virtue of my grandmother so these genes were actually great in retrospect! I am a citizen in one of the greatest countries in the world!! We have a Constitution that has bestowed several rights to the citizenry and all human beings in South Africa. We have courts that protect the rights of enshrined in this Constitution and serve justice (most of the time). We have strong opposition political parties that are rigorously keeping this democracy alive and answerable. She was not in South Africa to enjoy all the privileges I so easily access and opportunities I enjoy as beneficiary of the blood in her veins. I will admit that I have done very little to find out more about her relatives and where was from- I just took the green ID book and ran!

Every time my grandmother called me she would ask me about work. She was always interested to find out how things were really going- if we were getting clients. My parents being lawyers gave her an understanding of what I do. When I started to work for myself, she asked me for some of my business so that she could give them out to people coming to South Africa and may need lawyers. Please keep in mind- my grandparents live deep in the rural areas, where there is no running water or electricity! The type of place where you need to be on or under a tree to catch a cellphone network!

I cannot remember the last time I saw my grandmother standing and walking upright. She was bent over on a cane for a number of years and she was in visible discomfort from her pain in her feet or knees or back. She has diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension for as long as I can remember. I know that now she is no longer in pain and I am glad about that , but at the same time I will miss her so much. Its about living in that tension- of the relief that she is not hurting anymore and the pain of missing her. The only way to ease that tension is Jesus, He is the one who will bring peace to the situation. 

In John 14:16, Jesus says:

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [c]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever—

There is help on earth........ but wait............ there is more! According to Romans 8:34, there is help from heaven too!

Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more than that, who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us

I get prayers from Jesus, thats actually next level epic!

I find strength in knowing that, right now my grandmother and many loved ones are in heaven with Christ. My grandmother felt asleep in pain and woke up to the one who loved her the most. She loves us, but she is not coming back to us and even if given the choice she would not want to! Heaven is GLORIOUS beyond words- according the Paul in Revelations. Who would want to leave the presence of God to come to earth? Other than Jesus of course, so He can have us with Him :)

My grandmother is doing heaven things and I need to be busy with earth things- fulfilling my purpose so that when its my turn to enter the Kingdom, surrounded by the cloud of witnesses- including my grandmother, when I hear these words:

She had a very distinct way of say bye, it sounded like "buy-buy" and it was one of the best parts of the conversation.

Bye bye Kokwane....

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