WE’ll all remember what an affable, genteel, confident, and calm a personality that Shingie Chimuriwo was. She was definitely part of that generation that is determined to change the trajectory of Zimbabwe. As Sizani Weza succinctly put it, “Shingi – always smiling, warm and friendly – she made you feel purpose in life. Will miss her big time!”
Like many Zimbabweans across the globe, particularly in the arts and humanitarian sectors, not forgetting hundreds of her friends, my heart broke to pieces. And much as I sought answers to her passing, I could simply not find them.
It reminded me of one evening when I met the Shingie and her husband, Fungai Tichawangana, imageneer of Zimbabwe’s most popular website ZimboJam.com, at the Book Cafe, an artists’ hangout in central Harare.
The two were quite inseparable, visibly in love and always supporting each other in what they did. There could have never been a better couple.
Somehow, our conversation that evening meandered into new media and the opportunities that it had brought. I remember Shingie lighting up to a comment about how the Internet’s eternal goldmine presented unheralded opportunities to young Zimbabweans. I firmly believe that she was a visionary, and could see further beyond the horizon. That evening we waxed lyrical about the glitter of the Internet. If you ask me, I think she was a geek. And as confirmed by people who left comments on her Facebook page, she had a loved for gadgets. Don’t we all!
Confidently, Shingie explained how her husband had been nurturing a channel to build content and at the same time record a piece of Zimbabwe’s history. There was no mention of how much she helped her husband to fulfill that. Those of us who saw them working hard at entertainment events know that Shingie was an integral part of the Zimbojam.com project. That fact that she did not beat up her chest really speaks so much about her heart which was gracious and giving at the same time. Its not ironic that she was involved in an accident as she was coming back from dropping off some people after a staff dinner: it was part of her to be that giving. Indeed, she was a true humanitarian, and artiste, for she did write and compose poetry.
The last I saw her was at the ZimboJam.com offices during the launch of DefZee.com, a youth online magazine. She mentioned something that will forever stick with me about the disparities between privileged and poor young girls to the young DefZee.com team. And she made a specific mention of a fifteen year old girl that she met in Hatcliffe who had vowed never to become a sex worker but look for money to pursue an education.
She told the young DefZee.com team to think of how shoppers in Zimbabwe could be encouraged to use their small change in supermarkets to make a difference in disadvantaged children’s lives. It was a brilliant idea. Instead of buying sweets from change which is often not available in shops, people would be encouraged to buy books and pens to give to the disadvantaged.
All I can say at this time of grief is that Shingie was a true humanitarian, humble, calm and confident to look up to the beauty of the future. As one Rune Arctandersaid put it on her Facebook wall, “Lost for words. A strong, warm and talented young woman has left us”.
Indeed, a talented a bright, young woman, friend and sister has left us but let us not forget what she left us with. I would like to believe that hers is not a death but a change: a migration of the soul from one place to another.For Shingie will forever live in our hearts.
Our bitterest tears are truly for the words that we never said to her, and that we never will in our living time. And as we reminisce on the days of her life, let’s remember to say: Thank you Shingie for a life well lived and for bringing a smile in our lives. RIP, Shingie.