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Diaries Of A Majestically Tall Girl

Sharon Mapoka | University of Zimbabwe
4 minute read

My name is Sharon Mapoka. I’m a 19-year old Zimbabwean girl living with a rare height. I’m 6 feet 3 that is 1,94m. I’m a model.

I love pageantry because I have a great height.

I’m a basketball player. I’m proudly tall.

Not forgetting I’m family oriented. I’m currently studying Social Work.

I’m just a girl who is chasing her dreams. All thanks to my friends in all social media for supporting my dream. I have faced a lot of difficulties as a tall girl.

Insensitive people really made my life hell especially in high school.

Sometimes I wished there was a way I could get shorter, Height Reduction Surgery perhaps.

I then met a friend who has become a sister to me. Miss Gladys Mwedzi.

She advised me to be myself, she taught me self-love and motivated me to become the Queen that I am today. Being extraordinarily tall comes with more of hardships than benefits.

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PEOPLE’S VIEWS

I remember at school my history teacher used to refer to me as the Conical Tower found at Great Zimbabwe Ruins.

It was painful because people would laugh at me, I had to live with it. I was just a student so yeah there was nothing I could do. I have been called too tall.

People asking me why I’m this tall, as if I created myself. Only God has the reason to why he made me so! From being called ‘tower light’, tallest object, lighting conductor such was my life growing up. I think people should stop constantly making fun of my height.

Yes am tall, God made me so and I really like it like that. People should just learn to live with it and accept me for who I am.

SHOPPING FOR SHOES AND CLOTHING IS A STRUGGLE

As a tall girl shopping for clothing is a pain. Basically every pair of Jeans I own stops way above my ankles.

All thanks to the turn up trend, I wear my jeans that way. Dresses are always too short for me, the painful part is that those that fit are not nice most of the time. Not to mention my shoes.

I started having shoe size problems when I was doing form two. Since then I don’t remember owning a proper pair of shoes.

And recently I had to quit Miss Tourism Zimbabwe because I could not find stilettos that fit my foot.

I always wear these leather slippers made by the men in the street pavements.

Sometimes I envy other girls. How they rock heels, pumps e.t.c. I wish God sees me through so that one day I also get to own good shoes like everyone else.

It’s frustrating when heels are just what you need to compliment an outfit but you can’t wear them because you don’t own even a pair.

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MARRIAGE ANXIETY

So as I grew up most people used to say where will you find a partner of your height. This eventually became one of my greatest fears growing up, not being able to find a partner because of being too tall. And I still have the fear, wondering if I’ll ever find someone my height.

My Jamaican friend Miss Adrienne Bailey who is 6 feet flat also has the same fear. I have since

realized that it is a fear most tall girls have. Yes nowadays its normal for a girl to be taller than her partner. So, yeah, when I see a couple with this girl being taller I feel motivated.

But still it is this general thinking that the guy should be taller.

BEING THE TALLEST ALMOST EVERYWHERE I GO IS A PAIN

At school I was the tallest. I would feel out of place especially during assembly time. I tower over people when am standing but now I don’t care as much about it as I did then.

I hate attention but my height just brings more and more of it. It’s just hard to be tall. It’s a struggle to even go to town because you’ll know your height will call a lot of attention.

Well, in conclusion all I can say is that I have learnt to live with my height. I wish people would be kinder with their words and be aware of how badly they are affecting others by labeling them.

I may have stopped growing in height, but I will continue to grow to love my height and to love myself for who I am. I’m just perfect as I am.

And finally growing to be comfortable with my height makes me super excited. I thank my parents for this awesome height as I believe it’s going to take me places. They are both tall by the way. There are a lot of things to love about being majestically tall.

My heart hurts though because no matter how hard I try to make people understand my height. Some won’t stop trying me!

First published in Chinanaz Magazine_ UZ
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#WCW: UZ’S ONLY FEMALE SENSEI -ASHLEY KHUDDU

Duncan Mutasa | University of Zimbabwe
6 minute read

She is the kind of girl that can knock your socks off literally and figuratively. We had a sit down with Ashley Khuddu who took us on her journey of being the only female black belt at the University of Zimbabwe.

Ashley Khuddu or better known as Sensei Ashley is a 20 year old born in Bulawayo. She is the first born in a family of three; a second year student at The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) majoring in Business Management.

She shares her experience of being the only sheep amongstgoats that is being the only female black belt on campus.

Q: How does it feel to be the only female sensei?

It feels great, I’m proud of myself and what Ihave achieved so far but it depends on the day. I like it. I enjoy it. It is not really a big of a deal for me but it feels good because everybody seems to respect me and my position. So yes I love it.

Q: What kind of problems do you deal with?

STEREOTYPING!!!! As a girl there’s always the stereotyping that karate is supposed to be
done by boys, so usually I always face a little bit of judgment from girls or stereotypical guys that look at you like your weird because you do almost like a male sport which really is not supposed to be like that.

Usually people think that just because I’m a girl I’m not supposed to be doing this type of sport. I feel like we should break that stereotype. Yeah those are the kind of problems I usually deal with. Usually when you’re in the dojo they never think that I’m actually capable of teaching the class or actually doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

They always think that because I’m a girl I can’t train people the same way the boys also train people.

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Q: What are some of the decisions you make?

Basically the decisions that you make when you’re a Sensei are; to train people, make sure the person is taking training or administer the training, make sure that people are ready for training and you evaluate who is going to be ready for grading (shifting or graduating from the lower belt to a higher belt) and sometimes I participate in the grading that happen. So I decide who gets to the next belt. I also decide who gets to go or who is fit enough to go for tournaments.

Q:Why did you choose this sport, why karate?

When I was a kid my dad used to watch these old Japanese movies ,there’s this specific movie called ‘Black Belt Angels’, I used to love it so much. That’s actually what inspired me to love karate ‘cause those girls I thought they were so cool cause they used to beat up boys and I was like, man I want to be like that and as I grew up I also got to respect the sport and the discipline that comes with it and it just taught me a lot. So I thought you know what , I actually want to do something different, something out of the ordinary and something I feel I’m comfortable with.

And I love karate and I wouldn’t have chosen another sport really so that’s why I chose karate ‘cause it just looked cool and when I was a kid it looked really cool and as I grew up I got to appreciate what karate people do in life and the discipline that they get when they learn the whole process and it’s not only karate but in relations and actually interacting with people, it’s a whole other world.

Q: What part of this job do you find most challenging?
To break the stereotype, especially beginning days when you get new student they usually look at you like, “Are you serious? Is a girl going to train us?” Yeah so that stereotype is probably the most challenging because they judge you because you are a girl but I think after a few weeks when they actually understand how everything works, it sails from there. I think that’s one of the most difficult challenge. And also to keep people coming back ‘cause people think they be doing flying kicks and splits by the second day which is not true but you have to break that mentality that people have and giving them the realistic point of view of what karate is. If people are consistent and they love the sport then it’s honestly very enjoyable.

Q:What part of this job do you find most satisfying?
To see girls not being afraid of stereotype and actually joining the sport. When they
break boundaries I think that’s the most satisfying part of this job for me. When I
actually give people a chance to see that it is possible to do karate and be a black belt. To
show them that this sport is not just something boys c a n d o b u t something girls
can do too.

Q: How do you describe the working atmosphere and the people whom you work  with?

The atmosphere is just extra ordinary and out of this world. We are such a family.
I don’t know how to describe it exactly but it’s such a bond; that honestly sometimes I’m
even left amazed by it because for me the people I work with are Cyril the captain and Sensei Knowledge.

They make it seem like it’s home. I feel comfortable and I feel like I belong when I’m in the dojo. They make it feel like this is a place where you can learn, a place you can make mistakes, a place where you can get back up if you fall. I love it I couldn’t have asked for a better family!

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Q: Do you ever find it difficult to work with others as a team?

No. I don’t have any complains to be honest. My team has been great from the captain to our sensei Aldrian, they have been such a good support team. They are no conflicts;
everybody knows their place. What I know is that, this team has been a great team.

Q: Is it hard for you to keep up with other Senseis?

No I have never found it difficult. I feel like I make it happen. We work together as a team. So if one is slacking behind we help each other. We balance each other out. It is not really a competition it’s more like we helping each other out as sensei’s.

Q:What is the best part about competing?

Getting a gold medal. I say I have never left a tournament without a medal, “LOL ndakazviramba izvozvo” and meeting new people especially other women who also love what I do, who can relate with me. It motivates and encourages me.

Q: What age were you when you first started training karate?

I started training when I was 13 years old at Dominican Convent. My sensei was and still is Winston Nyanhete and I got my black belt when I was 16. I have been training karate for eight years now I don’t think I will stop.

Q:What advice would you give to other girls that want to join/tackle karate
but are too intimidated to do so?

They should come and join. It’s so much fun and is a great work out too. The people you meet there are life changing. Karate teaches you more than what you think and it’s also an added advantage for you to learn self-defense just in case. They shouldn’t limit themselves and underestimate the ability that they have. They should always do what they are passionate about.

I URGE EVERYONE TO COME AND TRY TO JOIN KARATE TODAY!!

Article first published in Chinanaz Magazine UZ