A woman of faith

Zama radiates a quiet confidence. She sits on her bed with her legs crossed comfortably. Her Bible with its pink cover is never out of sight. With the dirt marks on the side of the pages you can see that no page of that Bible has been unturned. When she speaks of her faith she lovingly touches this book that is so dear to her, almost as if to caress it.
Her room is testimony to her character. Her bed is so neatly made up that it looks as if someone ironed it. Every any dust particle has been shunned and there is a detailed planner with due dates and goals that diligently knows its place on the noticeboard above her desk.
When Zama starts sharing her love for God, her family and people her eyes glimmer with tender love and compassion. She has been a Christian from a very young age. “When I was younger I just thought that if I could go to Bible College I would be so happy! The only thing that I am really interested in is God, the Bible and preaching the Gospel.”
She pauses and laughs when she says “but journalism just keeps chasing me”. She shares her dream to one day make a difference in the Christian media and perhaps own her own Christian magazine.
For Zama, her passion for journalism started in her matric year in 2008 when a Rhodes representative came to her school to talk about the journalism courses that the University of Rhodes offer. She took a gap year in 2009 and embarked on the journey to become a journalist as an undergraduate student at the University of Johannesburg in 2011.
“For me it is about being the middle man and being that bridge of communication between people. Where I come from people are not interested in what is going on in the world because they feel that it is not relevant to them… so I just want to make those big issues relevant to the average Joe on the street.
She laughs and says that “I’ve always cared so much for people. I’ve always thought that I would become the next doctor Phil.”
As she takes another sip of her juice the conversation takes a more serious tone. She looks down and says “I think this is the first weekend that I haven’t cried… or actually I did cry. Family is everything to me and being away from them just really breaks my heart”.
Zama’s family lives in Soweto and she had to move to Stellenbosch to complete her post graduate studies in journalism at Stellenbosch University. She points to the suitcase that is neatly stored on top of her cupboard “the only thing I came with is that suitcase. It is just so hard, it really is”.
She grapples with the fact that life is going on back at her home and that she is missing out on so much of it. “My brothers’ kids are growing up. The one is starting to talk…and the neighbor past away. When the weekend comes it just reminds me that I am all by myself.”
The emotion is think in her voice while tears well up in her eyes. “I think my faith is the only thing that is keeping me sane at the moment”. She explains that she does not always understand the plans that God has for her and that although He is her constant companion, she is not always on speaking terms with Him.
As silence fills the room she continues to try and make sense of the position she finds herself in. She says that when she moved to Stellenbosch she just said that this will be “my worship to God”. She smiles when she explains that “with worship you have to realize that it is not about having the most beautiful voice it is about a truth in your spirit”.
She speaks with great love about her parents and the sacrifices that they have made to ensure she has a better chance at life than they had. She also feels strongly that she will help contribute to the education and lives to the younger children in her family. “I just want to start working to make sure that they receive the best education. No matter how hard things were for my family, my parents always invested in me when it comes to education. Being here is quite hard because I worry a lot about how my family is doing. I wish I could just start working and help my dad with payments. I just want to be rich.”
Zama comes from Zulu family. When asked about the labels that surround culture and language in South Africa she responds with a great sigh, “There are stereotypes with everything. They are so limiting. But things like that don’t bother me because I am not big on culture and language. The only thing that I care about is my faith”.
The best day of the week for Zama is undoubtedly Sunday. She explains that she used to go to the evening service but now she goes to the morning service. She says it is just too exhausting to wait that long to go to church, “all I want to do is be in God’s presence”.
The church that she goes to is quite infamous on campus. Shofar has been associated with some controversial events in the past which include ‘healing homosexuals’ and signing a petition to remove a so called demonic piece of art by Dylan Lewis from the Rooi Plein on campus.
However, for Zama it is home. Amidst the controversy, this is a place where she feels loved and encouraged and where she is surrounded by people that share her faith and love of God. As the morning service continues you can see that she is being recharged for the week that lies ahead. She walks out of the service doors with a beaming smile. She is ready to face the challenges that she will face during the week.
It is made clear that in order to fully understand Zama; you have to understand the one element that is central to her being, her faith in God.

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