Before I knew my identity, I always drew myself crying tears of blood. Now I know why my tears were always flowing.
Two weeks ago I finished my latest painting, BLACK SACRIFICE. The day I finished it is the day my identity started being told to me.
My painting Black Sacrifice is about me, my journey and pain of growing up without my mother and calling another woman mother, who wasn’t my mother. In the painting, I am holding an enchanted magical rose, the rose that brought me back to life. I am with child, a promised special male child. I am holding a tennis ball, and my baby on my back is also playing with tennis balls. I am wearing Nike trainers, stepping on a tennis racket.
When I was about 10 years old, Chief Mutota, the man who raised me as his daughter bought me a tennis racket and tennis balls. In Zimbabwe, in the area, I grew up in the little town of witches (Karoi) having a tennis racket was quite unique. To go with the tennis racket, Chief Mutota bought me some lovely white shorts, a white t-shirt and some white trainers.
Chief Mutota said he wanted me to be somebody in life, a tennis player. He kept going on and on about how tennis was my big break. As an ambitious little girl, I wanted to give it a go.
But all I could do was look at the racket and admire it. I knew not how to play tennis, and there was no one therein to teach me. I took the racket and went to the tennis courts of the school, but it was always deserted.
One day I was walking home from school in my white apparel, holding my racket. A young man, probably in his twenties, approached me. He asked me if I was a tennis player. I said I was not, my father had just bought me a racket.
Something was not right about the young man. I began to see him every day as I walked home from school. I felt uncomfortable around him.
One day he said to me, ‘Jean, do you want me to come to your house and speak to your Daddy so I can come over every day after school and give you free Tennis lessons, I am a tennis coach.’
I felt excited inside. I wanted to learn how to play tennis. Oh I so wanted to learn. But I knew Chief Mutota would never allow that. Never. I knew my mother, well the woman would never allow that.
So I told him quietly, ‘No, its okay. My Dad won’t allow that, so maybe it’s not a good idea.’
‘No, he will. I know your Dad. Just speak to him.’ The young man said. He was so persuasive and persistent. So I just agreed, and told him I would ask my dad, just to shut him up but I knew I was never going to ask Chief Mutota.
I became scared of the young man, because each time he saw me he asked about the tennis racket and the tennis private lessons. I had to make up stuff.
I then started leaving the tennis racket and never walked with it again. It became a symbol of fear and bondage because this guy was clearly stalking me, and I had no one to tell. One day I was walking in a bushy path, and I thought he was going to rape me. I was so young, but I could tell the lust and fire in his eyes. I started delaying in my times of going home so I could avoid him, and slowly he began to disappear.
But now I didn’t want to touch the tennis racket again. I put it away.
Anyway, a strange thing happened a few months later, my older brother started mocking me and laughing at me that I had been asked out by an older guy on my way from school. He also said I started crying. He would laugh and laugh, and my siblings would join in the laughing.
I could never understand the connection. And why the lies that he asked me out and I cried. It was all very spooky to me.
So my painting BLACK SACRIFICE is all about those emotions I felt when I was young, and Chief Mutota bought me a tennis racket. I watched Serena Williams cry recently, and I realized that she made it, that dream Chief Mutota had about me when I was young. But the tennis dream turned into some horror and nightmare.
As much as I painted my pain away in BLACK SACRIFICE, I am selling this painting because it contains my past life I may want to forget. I now know who I am, so this painting may bless someone, and mean something else to someone.
For that reason, I am now officially selling BLACK SACRIFICE.