Of the sun that warms your face and your heart
Born underneath a Rhodesian sky of blue
Surrounded by love, home and community so strong
At times you may see a tear fall
Or a smile from far away
It is a memory that has come through that no one can share with me
It is a place and time forgotten to many of a life of simple joys, struggles, war and
Don’t think your power so strong over me that I get hurt too easily,
Don’t think you know me, because of what you have heard another say
My heart to you is a stranger only Rhodesians can understand
It sings to the beat of an African drum,
It soars on the wings of the fish eagle, the sweet sound of the English robin, the
It stands in majesty of the lion and the lioness, the rhino and respects the power
Of the Wild.
I am a daughter of the African soil in a place that knew security in the home, amidst terror in the war.
I am a daughter there and here in Canada, I am a stranger.
Yes you can get my lunch and bring my tea, you say, here’s your two cents tip for being my
Just because you have an education do not think you work in your field,
You have no Canadian experience, and we have the power to give it to you or not
Be careful what you say to her, you say when you know I am listening,
I say the same about you when I speak of you to others.
They grew up with servants I hear them say,
We grew up with people to help that was needed, there was no washing machine, and dryer
No day care which you so admire.
Don’t look down on us and judge us because you do not understand our hearts.
So now you will make us your servants, welcome us as professionals and then make us crawl?
I saw the women in my community
Struggle as they came together in
The Catholic Women’s league and Indian Women’s League
Communities filled with young and vibrant women
Old people wanting to see our next generation succeed
Through oral tradition many things were passed down that you would not understand
The church know the truth about evil that can make even a person’s body change shape,
The locals called them gogolos
Some call them shape shifters
You call it superstition.
I am a daughter of the vote, the families who fought for and won the vote for fair education, rights and taught me to be strong, but it is not in Canada so you do not respect me because you do not know, nor care to know my Rhodesian heart and history.
Be open minded you say, open minded to what?
I grew up watching women in mini skirts and bikini’s and not being afraid to wear whatever they wanted,
Yet here in Canada I am told the woman has to watch how she
dresses, even my mother forgetting how fortunate she was
to have that support and love,
To wear what she wanted without fear and live by hard won
rights passed down through generations
Instead here, the fight is for prayer rooms without crosses,
To get women to wear “decent” clothes
To wear the burka and cover their faces and live in fear
Of the Muslim community and their power.
Report harassment, then they turn around and say you
Are the one saying it
You are the one obsessed.
I am not the one who keeps bringing it up in new workplaces
Trying to turn everyone against me.
This is the Canada I live in.
I am a daughter of the earth, a place long forgotten by many;
A Dad who did not want the Black government in power because he thought they would
Run the country into the ground.
A Dad who made me salute the Rhodesian anthem with pride and bought records of artists singing Rhodesian’s never die.
I am a daughter of Africa, of a people who reconciled with hope when independence came,
Yet heard about the farm attacks, the need for guns with permits, and to watch
I am a daughter who was the first of a generation to go to a mixed race and co-ed school, not sent away to be a border till in my late teens.
I am a woman,
Strong, kind and gentle and I can stand with resolve for what I believe,
I am a daughter of Rhodesia, a daughter of the Vote.
Belinda Fernandez, Toronto, May 26 2019