Chapter 1The Leopard's Heart
Why I tell stories
Uncertainty is a big part of life. We are uncertain about the past, how some experiences may or may not have shaped who we are now. We are uncertain about the future, who we will be a year, two years, thirteen years from now. We are uncertain about our feelings, our thoughts, our actions. Even when we think we are sure, we know deep down we can never be completely sure. It is in this uncertainty that I find the power of stories lies.
I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a household that valued literature and history. Reading was a normal part of life, almost expected. And talking about the stories we read was as basic as discussing what we would have for dinner. I took this experience for granted; little did I know that this kind of upbringing was not commonplace in Zimbabwean households. Waking up to this fact kickstarted my years-long battle with this question: Are stories at all important for the survival of mankind?
For the longest time, I thought stories were a nice-to-have, something to simply give one’s mind a brief rest from contemplating the more important aspects of life. Now, I truly believe we need stories. It has taken me many years to grow my faith in storytelling. I believe that without them, we cannot survive. Without stories, we have no way of knowing who we are. We cannot orient ourselves properly in this world without knowing at least part of the grand narrative we - whether willingly or unwillingly - are a part of. Stories are a compass to our own hearts, a map to the soul.
The stories I write here, whether products of my imagination or results of introspection, observation and reflection, are meant to move my readers ever closer to their centre. I want to use my fiction and non-fiction work to discover the truth about human existence and to explore the big questions of my time. I don’t claim to have solutions - life’s issues are so complex and I’m a simple lady. All I have are stories that I hope will be the flashlight you and I need to illuminate and navigate the uncertainty of life.