About Virginia Nyamayenedenga

A blog post or two back we shared Basil Majaja’s story as s part of our project of learning more about the people who make Fynbos Estate what it is. The second person we interviewed is Virginia Nyamayedenga and her story made both me and Yolanda listening, feel deeply sad. Virginia works at Fynbos as housekeeper and as a member of the event team. She has been with us six years. 

In her words

“My surname means` meat of the sky’ as we are large family and people were dying so often. This is a hard name to carry and it has left me feeling till today that there is a curse on me for my whole life.

I was born in 1972 in Gweru hospital. We were 8 children now left six. I was the fourth. My parents were married – my father working in the bank, my mother was working in the municipality as clerk.

When I was in grade six, the family split and four of the children went with my father to Harare, where he was transferred. The others went to my grandparents in the rural area, so only in school holidays, the family were together. Then it was very nice

When I was in Grade seven, I woke up one morning and found my father dead in his bed. I don’t know why because he was not sick before. This was very terrible and afterwards it got very hard. My mother came to Harare to look after us, but my father’s family chased her away, leaving my older sister to look after us children in my father’s house. There was little money as my father’s brothers were taking the money.

I went to school up to form four and got O levels and would have liked to go on to get my A levels but I had to work. I spend many years working in a butchery in Harare. During this time I got married to a Malawian and we had two children. But after seven years together he left me and our children of 3 years and 18 months, for another woman. There was an interdict that my father’s family let my mother come to stay with me and the children because I had to work.  At that time also my sister got very ill during childbirth so I took the infant and gave her cow milk and porridge.  Her name is Tracey and she is a daughter to me.  With all these children and my mother to support, I went  most Fridays after to Zambia or Mozambique or Malawi to buy things which I brought back on Sunday night to sell. Mostly blankets and jackets and towels and plates.

I came here to the Western Cape with my friend from Zimbabwe. We were border jumpers so I started to work at a landscaping company but those people they left so I went to another job to help pack tomatoes in the area.  I am happy that now the children are also here in the Western Cape. One is a driver for a rooibos tea company in Clanwilliam, and the other is with his father in Malmesbury.  Tracey is also nearby and she has a small child who is in crèche.



I started at Fynbos working legally six years ago. Its fine here and quiet and safe and my job is not too difficult and also not all the same every day. I have been able to buy a car from my earnings.




I am a quiet person and it is lonely and difficult in our culture to be single without a husband. But sometimes I am joyful and that is when I am with my children and exploring places like I went with my children to Robin Island. I dream for the future for the children can be educated and for me to finish my house which I started to build in Harare.