Mvuyisi Mditshwa is the first man I ever loved, I met him at an annual church convention in 2006. A friend had greeted him at a table near ours just to be naughty because we’d been thoroughly warned to stay away from boys. We were all made aware of the reputation that came with girls that have table chats with boys in the tent.
He took the invitation to our table seriously and not long after that, we all quickly became very good buddies. He was always such a serious and strict guy, constantly barraging us with difficult questions that forced introspection.
However, this still didn’t stop us from being wary of his motives with his friendship with us. When he finally realised this, he called an urgent meeting and confronted our suspicions.
He was hurt and felt our distrust was unfounded.
I don’t ever remember us having a conversation amongst ourselves about what we thought of him. We were all so young but it was so natural for us to distrust him simply because he was the opposite sex. The meeting was concluded with deep sincere apologies from our side.
I went home after that convention heavy hearted at how I, along with my friends had behaved; I’d hurt a friend. We had been apprehensive of him even though he had given us absolutely no reason to believe any wrong about him. Even when our friend had dedicated so much time teaching us so much, we still mistrusted him unfairly.
This forced me to see a deep rooted brokenness inside of us. While reflecting, I realised that being destroyed at the touch of a man is not always something we only see on the News but something that even we could attest to; telling brutal stories of the destructiveness men hold right at their fingertips. How we had all endured their darkness and continue to even in what is supposed to be the safest of all structures in society.
It was easy to believe the worst because the worst was all we knew, until that Convention when Mvuyisi opened our eyes to a special kind of man. He restored our trust in men, as young as he was. He could be relied on and remained so until the day we lost him to a car accident in 2009. We only knew him for a short time but the impact he had and the way God used him to touch our lives will forever live on in our hearts, having set a new standard forever.
This demanded me to see another side to this person called a man, a side that had clearly been so foreign to me and my group of friends. I was forced to know and testify that sometimes men are without motives and agendas and taking and taking and taking until you have nothing left to give.
I was forced to see that these men did not only exist in fairy-tales, but could in fact, be found in the house of the Lord, serving God and being used by Him to bring positive and beautiful change in our lives; found building and rebuilding tirelessly, mending and restoring and loving us with a pure love that isn’t venomous, manipulative and with ill-intentions.
As I grew older I have met and loved such men, I have found them plagued with ugly backgrounds and experiences that give them an excuse to cause harm but they don’t because they are deliberate in being better men.
In this broken society where all a man is known for is damaging, we had now been given enough reason to testify of a set apart kind of man that has been preserved for us, to restore hope in men as our brothers and fathers, strong leaders and wise teachers.
Originally created for CollegeMag
Photo by: Lutendo Malatji