January 22, 2020

Mentor, Friend, Mother; R.I.P Mary Kizito

Mary Kizito

By Vera Marion

The wind slowly blew away
The sun set in her life with a glimmering smile
The stars in the world unknown rose with a definite grandeur
The night sky darkened
A hope once held blew away
The heart once like a flower in the bloom
Anticipated for a breath of air
Anticipated for a healing touch
Anticipated for a miracle
Yet the anticipation slowly dissipated
The bloom slowly withered
The heart slowly and silently stopped
The eyes closed forever
Mother Nature possessed
And a soul was lifted.

We like to remember where we were when important things take place. Things such as celebrity weddings, peace treaties and other fetes are easily remembered with joy and competition about who was doing what and why it was better. But we are equally connected when news of tragedy hits. Rooms fall silent and communication becomes limited to somber nodding of one’s head. The ability to maintain eye contact becomes an increasingly difficult task as we remember times before the tragedy. And no tragedy looms heavier than that of death.

Granted I have lost many friends and some family to an untimely demise but on this occasion a community I am a part of has lost a rock, a mother and a friend. Today we mourn Miss Mary Kizito.

When I first heard of Miss Mary Kizito, I was reminded of the Ugandan martyrs and wondered if she was a relation of Father Kizito in any way. Be that as it may, Miss Kizito was a lecturer who was dedicated in all that she did. Research and media were her forte. As a lecture she was gentle and patient with her students, almost motherly. She taught not because she was paid for it but because it was her passion. She saw the potential of her students, especially in the media class and encouraged us to improve and become better than what we were at the moment.

Her resilience and self-belief surpassed any obstacles that came her way. She knew that her work was good. She captured the essence of what was needed, so her professors praised her. Once in a class she talked of a personal experience that spoke of resilience, bravery, self-belief and courage. While working for a print media company in the USA, her editor often never published her articles and they were always thrown in the trash. It was not that the articles were badly written. It was not because the stories were not relevant. But because she was black. Because she was a woman. Anyone would have been outraged or discouraged. But she never let that get in the way of doing what she liked doing; being a journalist and so she went out of her way to prove her worth by the stories she wrote and eventually earned the respect of her editor.

It was these characteristics that she swore by in all she did and wherever she went. By the time our fateful paths crossed she was a lecturer and I her student, one amongst many faces that grumbled at her assignments yet still looked up to her for guidance. One of the many she had an ear for, time for, patience with.

Then came the cancer and the long fight with it. Miss Kizito, however, was not one to be cowed by it. No. Her resilience and the will to live were there with her, almost visible, holding her up even during her illness. Despite her frailty, she would still come to class and teach with all the strength that she had. It is my personal belief that she never pitied herself because of the illness; instead she was living life to the fullest despite the cancer in her. She valiantly fought until her strength waned and she could fight no more.

And so on the morning of 21st March, 2015, Miss Kizito breathed her last. Life never prepares us for such moments. We can never prepare ourselves for such moments, not even when the doctors tell us that the person we hold so dear to will soon pass on.

And thus unprepared, I received the news of her passing. I reflected upon her impact on my life and sighed. I am still unsure about why I sighed, was it in celebration of a life well lived or the void left by a soul gone too soon?

Throughout the period of illness and treatment, her light shone ever so brightly and she never let it dim for an instant. But God saw it fit to dim the lights and end her pain, to bring her to a never ending peace. May you rest in eternal peace Miss Mary Kizito.

From your grateful students, friends and colleagues.

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