I used to be afraid of dying at the hands of depression. Chanting to my chi to never let me leave this world as one hell of a lonely fuck.
I used to beg the universe to never die alone.
At least with my mother by my side to bid me farewell
To say a prayer for the ancestral realms to open for me.
I used to be afraid to leave the world a little too early, especially on my sober days.
But now I’m afraid of dying at the hands of a man.
I am afraid of being strangled with my voice never being heard.
I am afraid that I might die from strangulation, with my troubles being only heard by a man who felt entitled.
I am afraid that a bullet will surpass a man’s anger and take me out before I even get to blink twice. That at the end of the day, a gun might be the only thing a man will point at me to direct me.
Now I am afraid that my mother might not be the only one at my grave.
That she will never send me off to my ancestors in a proper manner, watch my spirit ascend, and whisper to the winds to greet those before me.
I am afraid that a man will feel entitled and end my life before I can even apologise to make things right and not stroke his ego.
That one day, my friends will hand out flyers with my face and the words Missing person
For a man will send me to meet my maker
Telling himself, I have lived long enough
Because of the many times he has been inside of me
I am afraid that being a woman is a curse.
I am afraid that my name will be accompanied by the word #JusticeForEtuhole.
Yet, edhina ekugidho.
A name is an echo.
Frieda Ndeutala Kaunapawa Mukufa holds a master’s degree in English and Applied Linguistics from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Alongside her role as Assistant Publisher at Kuiseb Publishers she works part-time as an editor for several organisations, including Blog4SDGs and Jeffrou’s Language Consultancy. She also undertakes freelance editing work for corporate clients. Mukufa is an established performer and has appeared at Open Mic Namibia. She contributes to the New Era Newspaper by writing a weekly column focused on women’s issues. In 2022 she was a fellow of the Narrating Namibia, Narrating Africa Doek Emerging Writers Program.