THE BLOG

Dear Lauryn Hill

Mother Lauryn, I want to tell you. Your words have helped me to endure all that has come with being a young intellectual African woman.

16/05/2017 03:56 SAST | Updated 16/05/2017 03:56 SAST
Vilhelm Stokstad/ TT News Agency/ Reuters
I've written so many letters is my life. But I remember the first one, back when I was a child. I wrote a letter to myself about how much I missed my grandmother and everything about being alive reminded me she wasn't. Sounds like a sappy, made-up story but it's true. It was in pink, over a picture of myself, yes, on the actual photograph.

In these same years, I fell in love with your voice. As a little girl I understood very little about what you were saying, but your music then resurfaced for me again in my university years. I would sit in the computer lab studying for hours, with you in my ears. Your voice would tell me stories about love and pain and love and joy and love and forever and love and endings. And I love love, so I could hear these songs over and over again and still get excited when they played on the radio or in a store I was shopping in.

One song in particular got me through a love I never expected. This song was 'Tell Him'. And in all the ways that you want to 'Tell Him' in that song, Mother Lauryn, I want to tell you. Your words have helped me to endure all that has come with being a young intellectual African woman. Your words have helped me always know that it will be all right in the end. And for that your voice will be a part of my life until another writes my name on their photographs one day.

I had my own Zion. But instead of him being a child he was a business. In the midst of all the reasons I had to focus more on becoming the best at my field of study, my passion for my people has overridden me and against all advice I spend my time devising multiple ways to deliver Africa out of poverty. This is my joy. This is my love. This is my prince. And I feel honoured more than anything to have the vision to stick with this dream.

I've come to learn the necessity of acknowledgement and saying things while they are relevant and alive. And as I write this, I have been dancing to Miseducation for weeks. Sometimes with a fools smile on my face and sometimes with tears pouring down my cheeks. Saying thanks Mother Lauryn, is relevant today because I feel as powerful as I know I am.

And of all the things I have to get done today, acknowledging the impact of your existence, and your willingness to be bare, is most important. Not in the sense of you one day reading this note, but in the sense of me not forgetting that there are women who only have to BE to impact change, and you are one of those women, so, thank you for being.