For those on Facebook (say I!) you would have been invited to groups created by people who lets say share some similar interests to you. Lord knows I have been invited to groups for weight loss, new mothers, beauty products, fashion etc. When invited I normally just accept the invite give the group a 30 day subscription to my life and bail if it doesn’t interest me. I am what you would call a silent observer not an active participant in the group. There is a difference. I mostly just lurk in the dark corners reading what has been posted and checking out pictures – constantly amazed how much people are willing to share on an online forum.
For those on Facebook (say I!) you would have been invited to groups created by people who lets say share some similar interests to you. Lord knows I have been invited to groups for weight loss, new mothers, beauty products, fashion etc. When invited I normally just accept the invite give the group a 30-day subscription to my life and bail if it doesn’t interest me. I am what you would call a silent observer not an active participant in the group. There is a difference. I mostly just lurk in the dark corners reading what has been posted and checking out pictures – constantly amazed how much people are willing to share on an online forum.
It is in one of these Facebook groups that I came across this month’s guest blogger – Ms Tatelicious Karigambe. Ms Tatelicious posted a picture of herself rocking an outfit, boldly declaring herself Zimbabwe’s first transgender. In Zimbabwe, the idea of transitioning from being a man to a woman is unheard of and considered taboo. I was immediately drawn to her – I had to know more. Not just the superficial bull crap we all talk about on first sight – the real her. I reached out to her. She was so warm – we became instant friends and she has kindly agreed to share her story here.
Bruce Jenner made the transition to becoming a woman but because of his ‘celebrity status,’ I am sure like me you couldn’t help but wonder if Bruce was becoming Caitlyn because it’s who he always was or because of the added fame, fortune and notoriety. Regardless of our own personal opinions, you can almost say it’s a fact that we as humans are always afraid of things they don’t understand. Like me, I think we can all learn a lot from this down to earth and brave woman’s story.
Over to you Ms Tatelicious….
How would you describe yourself?
Ms Tatelicious Karigambe is a loving person whose blood veins are elongated with fibres of love. My motto to life is spread positive energy to everyone especially the haters because only love can make them understand how diversity makes us stronger. As for my loving friends and family, I created a special monumental place for them in my heart because they care. In brief, I am what the world needs now, breeding a strong dogma to everyone around me and beyond.
When did you know you were transgender?
I first realised I was a transgender at the age of 11 and before that I thought I was just gay.
How did you start to make the changes?
My changes started to occur when my beautiful mother promised to stand with me in my transformation and gender revitalization process.
Do you dress as a female all day every day?
I dress as Tatelicious Karigambe because fashion has grown beyond gender binaries theories. Gone are the days where we used to say pink for girls and blue for boys. I believe people should dress as they wish and like. And beyond the inner parts of my soul I know for certain that I am a woman so my dressing should not be dictated with femininity or masculinity conceptions.
Have you had surgery?
Yes, I had two surgeries i.e the breast augmentation and the vagina reassignment surgery.
How has your family reacted to your decision?
Mixed reactions and emotions were evoked when I decide to live my authentic life. I really was overwhelmed with the love I was given by my beautiful mother and my ever loving two sisters. Generally, 95% of my maternal and paternal family members still hate me with a passion but what keeps me going is the love I have for them and I know one day they are going to ask me what is really happening with the new me then we discuss and reach to a closure of everything. The family is important and I still hope that everything is going to be fine.
What of your friends, how did they react?
I was left with no friends because they claimed that I was satanic and a product of shame in their circle. My online friends have become my new hope of acquaintances and I really cherish and honour them because they came in the right moment when I needed company and warmth. Above all the Universe smiled deeply at me and it blessed me with two remarkable sweet passionate friends my husband and my daughter. These two rock my world and believe me I will trade nothing to replace them.
What your favourite thing about being a transgender?
My favourite thing being a Transgender is living my truthful life as Ms Tatelicious Karigambe. If I die today I know that I never lived a lie and also my voice has become a light to everyone who has been judged, discriminated, persecuted, tortured or abused in trying to be their true selves.
What is the worst thing about being a transgender?
To lose everything and start again from scratch. I miss my home country Zimbabwe where I was I forced to exodus because I almost died being me and trying to just live a truthful life.
I applaud you for being so brave true to yourself. In your own words, what is it like to be a transgender African?
Thank you for the sweet applaud. Being an African transgender woman is beautiful and exciting. Almost everyone in Africa thinks that the issues of transgenders are ‘white people’ concepts which are ridiculous. Being transgender is a reality to all human beings despite which continent their roots comes from. It’s my duty to spread the issues of transgender lives in Africa. There are some Transgender Queens and Kings who came before me and died because of this issue I feel it’s important for me to pass the knowledge and confidence that I have to the next generation, thus honouring their sweet souls resting in eternal peace. I also personally applaud the transgenders in Africa who are spreading an insight of what and who we really are. In a nutshell, we are just human and we need respect and acceptance.
What advice do you have for other Africans that are afraid to be their true transgender self? They must stay strong and be ready to let go of the negativity which almost everyone will impose on them. It’s not easy this I know but they should not live a life of regrets. They should be brave enough to give birth to their new selves and focus on the reality of their principles to life. They should also know that Ms Tatelicious Karigambe loves them so much and they can write to me and we can talk more and link each other to our allies of the LGBTIQ Family.
Finally, what do you want the world to know about you?
I want the world to know that Ms Tatelicious Karigambe is the fruitful product of Heroes and Heroines which came before me .I am very much obliged not to let them down that’s why I am happy to be an Ambassador of the Transgender Community in Africa. I am talking about the Remarkable Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi,Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jnr,Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi and living Inspiring comrades of our time Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Laverne Cox and the sweet beautiful Janet Mock. I too want my name to be written in books of history that I was able to foster a sweet loving gender revolution change in Africa.
Ms Tatelicious if you were here I would give you a big hug to thank you for the knowledge that you have transferred. I think in reading this we have all learnt something. We wish you all the best now and in the near future.