For the Courageous

As I write this piece, I think of courage and determination. I think of stories I heard as a child about courageous women, who challenged the status quo, despite the risks.

I think of the kind of courage that saw my mother uproot us as young children from the elusive comfort of the city to plant us deep into the reality of a rural life. Dissatisfied with inequality in employment opportunities and advancement, she was determined to become her own boss. And so, armed with a nanny and a gun, she eased into her new role.

I can’t claim to have nearly as much courage as my mother possessed. But I’m always determined in my small way to challenge gender stereotypes, biases and assumptions that still persist, even today. As we celebrate women’s achievements the world over, I think of how far we’ve come and still to go.

Hence, to think of courage is to think of all the remarkable women, who keep dismantling boxes we often find ourselves lumped in. Women, who occupy spaces that were never designed with us in mind. To think of determination is to celebrate all you courageous women, who keep asking “What if?” and “Why not?”

Happy International Women’s Day, in advance!

p.s. Photo by Fionn Claydon on Unsplash. I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. Wow, ‘armed with a nanny and a gun’ – what a wonderful encapsulation of her pioneering courage. And, as you suggest, in different conditions we all find the ways that are meaningful for us now. A lovely post for International Women’s Day!

  2. When grew up in britain from WW2 on even I as a child could see how important women were when so many young men and husbands were in the forces. I was aware of some aunts losing their husbands in war and most of the young and healthy women were doing mens work if their children were at school age. Which was proof enough for me to realize even then that there should be no divide between men and women if they were capable at work.

  3. Wow! Khaya, I am in awe of your mother, her courage in leaving a seemingly secure city life, realising it was an elusive comfort and braving it out in the countryside. Your line of ‘armed with a nanny and a gun’ sums it up brilliantly and could be the title of a book! Well done for your strong mother and look at you, taking the courage to move to the polar opposite of the world, to a new country, culture … It is pivotal to recognise women’s strength, determination and the key role many play in our lives. Here’s to the spirit of adventure and fortitude, to the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’ leading us forward in ours and our families lives! A wonderful post of celebration, Khaya!

  4. “What if?” and “Why not?”…juicy questions indeed and the kind that lead to some interesting adventures. May we fully engage with the questions when they come across our path and may we ride the answers to a more joyful and equitable future.

  5. “To think of courage is to think of all the remarkable women, who keep dismantling boxes we often find ourselves lumped in.”

    Gorgeous lines

    Happy Sunday


  6. Courage keeps us going, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

  7. How I would love to read the story of your mother’s choice … and no doubt it should be titled “The Nanny and the Gun”! The courage of woman following their men in the settlement of the West, having babies along the way, is beyond belief. Would any of us today have the stuff to make thei journey?!

  8. I can see the image of your mother “armed with a nanny and a gun” so clearly. It’s a fantastic phrase, and opens the doors to so many possibility (I agree with Beverly). I hope you get to celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day exactly as you wish it.

  9. Wow your mum is one brave woman. I say cheers to this well written poece about courage.

  10. Thank you for reading, Rosemary. And yes finding meaningful ways to challenge the status quo no matter how small, still makes a difference.

  11. Though sad to hear about your aunts losing their husbands in war, I love hearing that you became aware of women’s capabilities and contributions, at a young age. Thank you for this comment, Robin. It gives me hope!

  12. Now as an adult myself, I realize that it took a lot of guts to do what she did. You know it often sounds cliché, when some of us say our mothers are our role models but for me it’s extraordinary. Look at me? I guess you can say falling in love is a courageous act too. 😀

    Thank you Annika for your kind comment. Here’s to women’s courage and determination!

  13. “The Nanny and the Gun” now that you mention, this could make for a great story title. 🙂 But I might consider it for a chapter title, since the scene I shared here is part of a book; a work in progress. As for women following their men in the settlement of the West, it speaks volume about sacrifices women had to make!

  14. Thanks Maga, and it’s good to hear that the picture I tried paint here is vivid. May the phrase open doors for more stories and possibilities!

  15. What if and why not? I love that. There are absolutely incredible and courageous women who have paved the way for us. We must forge ahead to pave the way for those who will come after us. <3 Hugs

  16. These stories of our good role models are so important. It is the everyday courage that isn’t necessarily celebrated or written in textbooks that really shapes our world and sets the best example for all of us. Thank you for sharing, Khaya!

  17. I’m a core believer in perseverance. Courage and grit are needed for girls today I believe. Getting out of the comfort zone and persisting as you wrote is what gets you success in life.

  18. Lovely post, Khaya. I’m writing about a group of courageous women and this post made me smile. I think we all find courage at times. And I think being courageous is linked to standing up for what we value most – whether it’s family or other things.
    I didn’t think I was courageous because I sometimes measured my courage against other standards. It’s only in looking back that I see where and when I was. (Hint, hint.)

  19. Heyya Cynthia, so lovely to hear from you, and thank you for reading. I agree with you on this one, “it’s only in looking back that I see where and when I was.”

    Now that you talk of writing about a group of courageous women, you have my attention. I’d love to read your writings. Is it a book, article or other?

  20. It’s a book – one of several novels I started years earlier and put aside. I hope to complete this one because I love the characters, flaws, gumption and all.

  21. Unfortunately circumstances at the time demanded such action. Lovely to see you around, dear Stacy. Hope you’re enjoying the spring season. Sending hugs your way, too! xx

  22. I’m glad too, to hear that you found value from this short piece. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Much appreciated!

  23. Most welcome dear. Always in to support you! Do check out mine too, and if you like it follow for more notifications and updates😊

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