Is dedicated my grandmother, Bertha Sizakele Msengana, who is my mom’s mother and the only biological grandparent I’ve known.
She would have been 105 this year on the 7th of July.
I was 16 years old when she passed away and although I was a few years away from adulthood, I didn’t fully understand the concept of death or what her absence would mean for our family.
I do remember my grandmother as the most loving, gentle, strong, extremely decisive, faithful and faith-filled woman in our lives. I only have a few memories of my visits to her house because there was something so powerfully soothing about her home that knocked me out almost every single time.
Last week, while cleaning up, I came across a picture of the younger version of her that I wish I had known. My mother tells me that this picture was captured during a time where she was working in a clothing factory by day and running her curtain making business by night. From what my mom shares, my grandmother had an incredible work ethic and the best sense of style in all our family.
As I look back to the time I had with my grandmother, I wish my younger self was better at asking her more insightful questions about her life, what she loved, her career in fashion and her entrepreneurial ventures.
Although, I will never get all my questions answered about her, I am grateful for what my grandmother has left behind in spirit, in memory and of course the dresses and accessories she hand made for me and left for us. I’m grateful that because of her, I had the courage to pursue a career in fashion.
I’m eternally grateful for such a wonderful example.