Ntuka is my grandmother. A woman from Mochudi, the big village of the Bakgatla tribe in Southern Africa, Botswana. (Kgabo), vervet monkey! as we are fondly referred to in Botswana.
She was my primary carer from the day that I was born and has passed on to me many of her price-less life lessons which have guided me my entire life. She loved life in all its shape and form.
She was a small scale farmer before she became too fragile. Mainly cultivating a massive field to feed her family. She usually did this alone or with the help of some of her children and grandchildren once every year during the rainy season of Botswana.
This is where as a child, I learnt how to rely on nature for survival and pleasure.
A yearly ritual that connected her and her children to the beauty of raw and rural nature.
As children my grandmother taught us how to pick, for example, edible, big and fat white delicious wild mushrooms. How to pick the best wild mint for tea that I have ever tasted. She taught us how to pick the best wild cucumbers that were so tasty when charred on the coals and taught us how to delicately pick wild aloe vera plants to treat burns and mosquito bite wounds.
She fed us special natural plant home brews every seasonal change to help our little bodies adapt to the environmental changes. This included the use of oils such as castor oil which as a child, thought it to be totally revolting and a serious form of torture inflicted on us children but I grew to realise how clever and caring she was!. She taught us so many things that I for one still incorporate some of what I learnt from her in my life now as an adult.
She was a courageous woman who was ravaged by the reality of poverty in her early years as a mother but despite the struggles, she made it her utmost priority to provide the best possible, for her children and her grandchildren.
A devoted nurturer and staunch believer in making the impossible, achievable by simply working bloody hard and overcoming obstacles to reach your desired goals.
In her case, it meant, doing all that she could to get her children educated as she saw this as their only way out of poverty. A mission she accomplished with real difficulty.
Her physical health suffered as a result of the hardship and she became fragile with time but she never lost site of her determination to create a better life for her children. Not for herself but for her family and for that I am immensely proud of her and saddened by the sacrifices that she had to make. Compromising her own needs, in order to create a better life for those that she loved most.
Her genuine respect for all, regardless of their flaws, is something that will stay with me forever.
She was and remains an incredible grounding force in my life. She inspires what I am or who I am in many different ways and I am grateful for everything that she was to me and miss her terribly.
Naming this part of my journey after her is my way of honouring her and keeping her spirit close and alive.
May she nurture us all with her loving spirit found in all the Ntuka products!!