I often would lounge on my couch and ask myself ‘how many shades of black are there in the world? How can I be black when I don’t compare to the colour of the Kango pot in my ambuya’s kitchen?’
I have met my share of black women –petite, curvaceous, smart and bilingual .Looking out to the world at the vastness of black women in my city-I hated being described as a shade of black when I assumed that I was brown (according to the colour codes my pre-school teacher gave me) and I hated being called a ‘coconut too’ because I was more than the colour of my skin.
So I challenged myself to meet one young woman that wasn’t immersed in my ‘coconut battle ‘but appreciated the beauty that illuminated from within –and I met her. I met Tine Mataz, through a mutual acquaintance, with no thought at all that in thirty six hours twenty two minutes and fifteen seconds my life would change.
Tine is a phenomenal woman, born and raised in one of Zimbabwe’s busiest and sunniest cities: Harare. She is the eldest of two, and when she is not buried in the highs and lows of student life she runs her foundation ‘As I AM’. I extremely enjoyed connecting with Tine because I found out that we were in sync about so many things .The only difference was that she was an endometriosis Warrior and I was a life Coward.

The thing that amazes me about her and life in general is that the things ,that challenge us in life become the things that shape us most in our lives and that we become passionate about .I sat down with the gorgeous ,funny and dazzling ray of light to share her journey with endometriosis which led her to say “ As I am! “

Who are you sister? Tell us a little about yourself?

Let’s play one word answers, ready, set, and go?
Favourite compliment to get?
Best friend?
Favourite book?

What does your normal day consist of?
What has endometriosis taught you about life?
As I am, what is it about?
Life gets messy, how do you deal?
What do you want to be remembered for ?
What struggles have you encountered in your journey ?
Who has impacted your life recently?
What words would you like to tell young woman ?

Tine Mataz: Fave compliment?- the work u are doing is great makes me know its counting for something

Best friend? Wow okay I have a few people who all add something in my life and are close to me I don’t know if I can say anyone is the best they are all special

Favourite book? 20 years in Prison

Colour? Purple

Tine Mataz: Okay well my normal day usually starts at about 9. I have very weird sleeping patterns and it takes me a while to get into a painless position and sleep so I wake up pretty late. So after I’m up i usually start to study, as I study from home. I also do any AS I AM stuff that needs to be done, meetings, calls, paperwork.

The diagnosis with endometriosis (I don’t like saying mine cos I don’t believe its ” mine”) has taught me resilience and most of all patience. 10 years ago, I envisioned that at my age, I would probably be pursuing my law degree having gone to an ivy league uni but that didn’t happen. I ended up dealing with scars, ops, medications and doctors everyday not forgetting the ER visits and having to study from home to control the pain. This was not my plan but I woke up one day and said no more pity party sweetie. Get on with it!

Now I’m the founder of a great organization. So despite all of this I’ve learned to be patient with myself and that no matter what the circumstance I should not give up. You give up the day u die and well I’m still here so I have to keep on going

Tine Mataz: I started the as I am foundation because I had about a 3 year period at home doing nothing. The endo was getting pretty bad and I didn’t believe I could carry on as a normal citizen. I began to think about other people in society who were going through worse things in life. I wondered if it really meant that was it. I had suffered rejection from many people because suddenly I was behind, yet it wasn’t my doing. I didn’t ask to be sick. Then God spoke to me and said well Tine love yourself as you are, I love u as you are. So that’s how we (AS I AM) came about. We create sustainable solutions for the less privileged and people living with disabilities through skills based projects like fashion, art, beauty and agriculture. So someone may be deaf but their hands are still working they can be part of our nails training.

Tine Mataz: Wow, life does get messy. How do i deal? I simply learn to bow and i speak to the one who made me.

Tine Mataz: I want to be remembered for always being kind with my heart and smile. I want people to say Tine always had time for anyone and just enough love for everyone too

Tine Mataz: I initially thought my parents divorce was my biggest struggle. Lol. It wasn’t. Its definitely been this period with endometriosis. Trying to be understood. Trying to keep up. Trying to accept sometimes that I need to slow down and learning most of all that its not my fault and that I’m enough… We all need to learn that We are enough!!

Tine Mataz: Recently I have a lot of people who have entered my life through learning about my struggles who just want to help me and be there for me. They think that I’m inspiring but, they are impacting me with their love and time. So I’m grateful for that. I don’t feel as lonely anymore

Tine Mataz: I would like to tell young women that we all have unique stories and journeys. We have battle scars. Don’t look at them and cry. Look at them and smile and say wow I made it. Never give up. The only person allowed to give up is someone with a death certificate. If your heart is still beating, u still have some work to do. Remember u are the world to someone. Remember u have a purpose

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