The White Dress with Yellow Flowers
Updated: May 16, 2021
Dear Africana Woman,
Happy April. Can you believe we are already in the fourth month of 2021? I don’t know about you, but I feel like time is truly flying. Well what is the scoop, what have you been up to this last week? Tell me all about it in the comments or on IG. This last week was interesting. To be honest not the greatest across the board but I will spare you my emotional dump.
I do want to make note of an interview that I recorded last week on the Legally Clueless podcast with Adelle Onyango. If you haven’t heard of Adelle (I don’t know how you couldn’t have) she is this bad ass boss lady podcaster from Kenya. She started out as a Radio Personality, quit the industry and went solo. She has created a beautiful media house with her signature podcast Legally Clueless, which has a segment called 100 African Stories, where she shares stories from Africans, men and women alike. What sets it apart is the rawness and grittiness of the stories. It is a safe space for people to share their truth and bare their emotions. Adelle is also hilarious, like she is killing me right now with her joy of all the noisey children moving out of her compound LOL. But her commentary is always so profoundly insightful and she also shares great tips and resources to deal with grief and mental health. All this to say I shared my story on the podcast and it featured this week.
Trigger warning: the story has strong references to sexual violence, specifically rape. I would like to share the story with you to bring more awareness on the broken system that Survivors are subjected to.
Click here to listen to the full episode: Ep107 The White Dress with Yellow Flowers
Some of you who are newer to the family may not know that I was raped by two thugs in 2011. I shared this in the post called In To Me See. In the interview I go into great detail. To be honest the only person I have ever told that much detail was my therapist. At the time she encouraged me to write an article about the injustices of the police and health care system. I wrote the piece anonymously and it was published in a local publication.
When we did the recording, Adelle asked me how was I feeling about it. So, leading up to the interview I had prayed about it with my prayer partners. I found the article I had written. Interestingly, there are things that I forgot had happened. You see my mind blocks out a lot to protect me. To be honest I could not remember the exact date it happened. I will tell you what shocked me, I hadn’t realized that this would now be 10 years to the date that it happened. So back to the question, “How are you Feeling?” my answer was I do not know. I don’t know what is going to happen, don’t know if I will cry, don’t know if I will be angry, don’t know if I will swear. Let’s do this.
We started the recording. At moments I could feel the tears rolling down. Other times my chest felt so tight that I felt like I could not breath. Yet somehow I got through in one sitting.
Can we just take a moment here to acknowledge Adelle’s strength. She sits with so many story tellers through their pain. And I say sits with because it feels like she lends her strength to get through the interview. Her genuine empathy and patience is a real thing. We see 107 stories but believe me she has sat through probably twice that amount of heart wrenching stories. I couldn’t do it. Do note this subject can also be a trigger for her yet she does it anyway. Thank you Adelle for your beautiful heart.
In my introduction I talked about how I did not trust men. However, I do want to give a shout out to the four men I do trust in my life. This list may surprise you. Wait for it.
The man who knows every curve of my body. Yes you guessed right. Mr. Banda my tailor. So if you have seen me, you know my style is afro-centric. In fact, my first business was a fashion design company. Anyway, I have since resigned to designing my own clothes and Mr. Banda creates these timeless pieces for me. Like, do you remember tailors that would make skirts with artificial hips? Mr. Banda is a master at his craft.
My mechanic, Ba Patrick. Listen I call him at all hours of the day and he shows up. I can be in a different town and he will make arrangements. He calls to check on me when there was kafwafwa. Like this is my dude right here.
My connect, Mr. Aaron. Listen we all need someone that is connected both in the streets and in offices. Who knows a guy, who knows a guy who can get this and that for you. Like this is the person if I went missing would be the first person to notice.
My Brother, Mr. Chilumba K. Bwalya. We are not related in blood but you know when they say friends are the family you choose? This is my family right here. He is my mentor, my cheerleader, my role model, he holds me accountable… Like he calls me up and says, "CC remember when you said xyz, where is it?" And I am like EH! Lol. For real I have so much respect for this man and I know so much of what I have achieved since meeting him was because of his guidance.
Literally, my world keeps turning because of these here 4 men who I trust. Let me know if you have a dream team. Give a shout out to the men in your life that are your support system.
So back to the interview. I started getting stressed about it being published. I asked myself whether I should tell my inner circle about it. I decided against it because I thought it would be awkward. I started worrying about the public reaction to the story, like would there be trolls. So I promised myself not to go in the comments, where the devil resides. I also thought about whether I would share the story on my personal accounts or whether I would be ashamed to. D Day arrived, heart pumping fast, I received an email from Legally Clueless to say that it was dropping that day. The artwork had a huge picture of me and I thought, okay there is no turning back.
Legally Clueless is the first African podcast that is syndicated. It plays on Trace Urban Kenya. So you can either listen on the radio or on the podcast. I listened to it on both. Two totally different experiences by the way. I would recommend you listen to the podcast, coz you get more of Adelle’s commentary and no interruptions. It's like the difference between DSTV and Netflix. You get?
Hmmm. I held my breath for the reactions. I posted it on my socials. Now here is what I believe, when you do something and ONE person reaches out to say this was something that I really needed to hear, then an audience of ONE is enough. I will share two reactions that convinced me I did the right thing.
First one was a message from Akaego Okoye, the host of African Business Stories, (check it out), she is my podcast sister. Not to get into too much detail because I have not asked to share this. But there was one line that stood out and I really want to share. She said, “You have inspired me to Choose Joy.”
The second reaction was from my sister. Can you believe that as a family we have never spoken about this event? At the time, I became like a turtle in its shell, so I did not even consider the repercussions of the people around me. My sister shared a beautiful post on her personal socials about how she experienced that day and that event. At the time she was studying abroad. One of its many cons is to receive devastating news from home and not be able to do anything about it. To feel so helpless, separated and alone. Terrible as it seems I had never really considered her pain and trauma. I am grateful she shared her story.
Please do listen. Please share the story. Please help us bring awareness and change to a broken system. Please say No to rape.
One of the reasons I did not want to share this story before today, was because I did not want to be the poster child of rape. I did not want to be looked upon with pity. Having now shared the story I think I truly have graduated to believing I am a survivor. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, what matters is what I believe. I hope this blesses you.
Before, I sign off I just wanted to remind you that you can connect with me on socials @Chulu_byDesign. Please check out Adelle Onyango and the amazing work that she does. If you are a female entrepreneur of African descent do join us in the Africana Woman Visionaries community. We have a Pop-up Masterclass in partnership with Flutterwave coming up on the 7 April for anyone interested in having an online store. Learn more and register here. Then LISTEN, the Africana Woman podcast has some amazing episodes coming up. Do go ahead and subscribe. Plus you can catch up on the phenomenal interviews we already have published. Baby Gurl, my heart for you is that you love yourself flaws n all, and attract the life that you truly desire.
Lots of Love
PS. Can I tell you a secret? The dress was actually yellow with white flowers. I went to look at the pictures from that day. I like to wear my mum’s matching dress too which is white and black. I guess I flipped the colours in my mind. This is a picture from the night in the story. I was at the work party.