Zvifadzo Mtengwa: a story of overcoming insurmountable odds.

Let me tell you a story of an amazing lady I met today. Her name is Zvifadzo Mtengwa.

Zvifadzo is the first of four children born into a very supportive family. She is also beautiful and God-fearing. Her Grade 4 teacher described as ‘quiet but lights up when you speak to her.’

Though her parents contemplated if she’d eventually become a medical doctor, Zvifadzo wanted to become a lawyer due to the fact that she loved Literature and excelled very well in the subject. However, along the line, she veered into banking and soon rose to a top position. Amazingly, barely two years into her job, she saved up enough money and bought a house.

A few days to Zvifadzo’s 21st birthday, her mum noticed she was stammering and unable to speak properly and quickly took her to see a doctor. A CT scan was done and they discovered that Zvifadzo had a brain lesion. Due to the location of the lesion, which was between the nerve pathways, the doctor said the chances of getting the lesion out through surgery was 50/50. As such, she had to undergo 15 shots of radiotherapy, which sometimes left her breathless and weak. She eventually celebrated her 21st birthday in the hospital.

Due to the situation, Zvifadzo resigned from her banking job. Because she disliked staying idle, she enrolled in culinary school where she honed her exceptional baking skills. However, in 2006, she started developing hearing loss and it was observed that her left ear had a problem. She started using hearing aids, but couldn’t cope with them for long, as she said it was inconvenient and too loud for her.

In 2016, Zvifadzo started to lose her balance, and a brain surgery was recommended because the lesion in the left side of her brain had developed into a full blown tumor. It was a tough and trying time for her family financially, physically and in all ramifications.

After the surgery, Zvifadzo became immobile, hearing impaired, partially visually and speech impaired. Her family started learning how to communicate with her through sign language. In her dad’s words, “we had to start learning patience all over.”

Zvifadzo turned 39 this year and launched her first book, The Retrieval, today. A brain tumor, loss of vision, loss of hearing and immobility didn’t hinder her from penning down an amazing 197-paged novel. She said she used the period of her pain to do what she loves and what makes her happy.

I attended her book launch today and it was a very emotional and inspirational one. As she spoke about her novel, she said, “my book talks about the storms of life. Everyone, in one way or the other, faces storms in their lives, but my question is: how do you handle the storm? How does the storm handle you? I used the heroine of this book, Nina, and how she gets to the end of the storm to portray how I feel and the storms I’ve had to go through. It was a very difficult time for me. I had to depend on people to face my challenges, but most importantly, I had to depend on God. This period helped me understand who He is in my life. I hope someone finds inspiration through this book, I hope this book leaves a mark in people’s heart and I hope someone learns about what God does in our lives.”

Apart from being an author, Zvifadzo is a baker, and philanthropist; she has a heart of gold. She is an example of overcoming insurmountable odds, staying resilient and maintaining a never-die spirit.

Zvifadzo’s story has inspired me to defy all odds and chase my dreams. I hope it has inspired you to?


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