Family’s First Honours Graduate Pays Tribute To Mom

Family’s first honours graduate pays tribute to mom..  Silvester Manyonga’s family made many sacrifices in the hope of paving out a better future for him — and it paid off.


Family’s first honours graduate pays tribute to mom


This week, he graduates with a BSc honours in computer science and information systems at Nelson Mandela University’s autumn graduation.

He is the first in the family to obtain an honours degree.


“My parents sacrificed their lives to come to SA with the hope of giving me a better life.

“So I wrote this poem when my mom got sick in my undergraduate year in 2019 and I thought she wouldn’t live long enough to see this through, but the stars smiled at us and here we are,” Manyonga said.

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He was also the arts and culture performer of 2019 in the poetry category.

Dear mhamha

I hear your tears

And I see your cries

I feel your thoughts

And I can touch your pain,

It’s soaking wet, dripping

With blood, oozing from your eyes

Asi ndirikuwona

Mama I hear your bones cracking

Your muscles drying up,

I hear the squeaky sounds as you walk

Every step you take is painful

I feel the weight on your shoulders

from these big doilies bags that you carry

On your back,

Beautiful, hand knitted pieces, like me

Like my brothers, like my sisters, like my nieces and nephews, cousins and uncles.

All these beauty full pieces that you carefully crochet together.

I try to breathe the dense air that you breathe

And I choke

Asi ndiri kuzama

I see all this and it troubles my soul

And I want to help out,

But I’m growing up just a little too slow

And you’re ageing just a little too fast

Asi ndimirirei

Be patient mama, wait for me,

I’m learning

I’m learning how to walk, faster

I’m learning how to see, better

Learning, how to suffer with a smile

On your face and not a single tear

How, to deal with depression without telling a single dear

Learning how to give up dreams for some sleep

I’m learning how to live in a jungle for someone you love

I’m learning, like you I’m learning

How to be you mama

Asi ndiri kudzidza

I’m learning how you find the warm spots in thick ice

How you find coolness in intense heat

Learning how you see light in darkness

How you fly without wings

I’m learning,how you multiply sums in your head and yield answers

Asi ndineshungu

I’m learning how to become a man from a woman.

From you, I’m learning a lot mama

I am learning how to love like a mother

And I’m not even close

to getting it right. 


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