The Diary of a Widow, started like a blooming flower, unfolding with honesty and intricate details, captivating hearts like a magnetic force. It swiftly gained a devoted following, like a flock of birds drawn to a mesmerising sunset.

By Noko Mashilo

After facing rejection, Apostle Sikhulile “Khuls” Mtsetfwa was inspired to create the Diary of a Widow, a sanctuary for widows and divorced women. This initiative was born from Khuls’ own experience of losing her husband, Sibusiso “Nyambose” Mtsetfwa also known as #MlunguHusby, to Covid-19 in 2021.

Khuls described the experience of life after losing a loved one as a whirlwind of pain, confusion, and emptiness, leaving a jumble of emotions in its wake.

“After the passing of my lifetime friend and husband Nyambose #MlunguHusby, I suffered a lot of rejection from all walks of life including the Church and some friends and family members,” said Khuls who found herself alone with no one to turn to.”

Khuls found solace in documenting her innermost thoughts, emotions, and revelations as a way to ease the burden of grief following her husband’s passing. “Losing him shook me to my core,” she confided.

She explained that the Diary of a Widow began as a factual, detailed account of her journey, which eventually garnered a large following.

“Perhaps it is its user-friendly and easy-reading format of advice that includes Biblical references to encourage, support, and comfort a grieving heart.

“I remember inviting 10 widows and divorced women early last year for a coffee and to my surprise the response was huge. In five days, I ended up with 40 women,” said Khuls who has now over forty thousand followers.

Khuls pointed out that widows and divorced women navigate their unique journeys of sorrow, upheaval, and distress following the passing of a partner. In addition to their emotional struggles, they often encounter financial instability, prejudice, social stigma, and detrimental customs linked to their marital status.

“They are stigmatised for life, shunned, and shamed. Many of these abuses go unnoticed and even normalised. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, several women have been widowed and divorced due to the virus and many are grieving, and most are cut off from their usual socio-economic and family supports.”

One of her initiatives, Widows and Divorced Conversations, aims to support women who have experienced loss or separation by helping them navigate the complexities of their changing circumstances, including their emotional well-being, relationships, and finances.

“It also fosters a stronger connection with God through personal stories and incredible acts of healing,” said Khuls in a heartfelt manner.

When The Telegram asked about her favourite aspect of the Diary of a Widow, she expressed her fondness for the engaging conversations, meaningful connections, and unwavering support.

“This is non-denominational and non-racial; we have women from all works of life even from other African countries.  There is no hierarchy or status, we are all the same and going through grief or separation of the one we loved. Diary of a Widow is a family of women who are grieving,” said Khuls.

Khuls shared her insight that she’s come to realise we can never truly prepare ourselves for the loss of those we hold dear, as the experience of grief is an unavoidable part of life.

“Grief provides perspective and returns us to an ancient inner knowing that darkness cannot exist without light, death cannot exist without life and grief cannot exist without joy. Like death, grief cannot be avoided but grief offers one thing that death does not, grief offers an opportunity to learn and live forward.”

She also mentioned that while life may not be found after death, joy can certainly be rediscovered after grieving, and that rediscovered joy is even more delightful.

“Grace and grief co-exist. Pain and purpose are interlinked,” said Khuls.

Khuls says the thought of her husband still causes her distress, making it difficult to wake up in the morning to an empty bed: “It also hurts again in the night to go to sleep without him next to me. All day long I want to call him to share all the little things with him since we used to call each other every day to and from work.”

In addition to her work with Diary of a Widow, Khuls holds a position as an Apostle within one of the Five-fold Ministries. She is a devoted mother to two daughters and the author of Surviving the Unthinkable, from Wheelchair to High Heels. She is also an Independent Business Consultant and a Global Influential Speaker.

In Surviving the Unthinkable, from Wheelchair to High Heels Khuls recounts the life-altering events of a fateful February night in 2003 on the R21 highway in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng. A victim of a hit-and-run, she nearly lost her leg and found herself confined to a wheelchair. After enduring four more medical challenges, it took nearly a decade for her to fully recover and reclaim the ability to strut confidently in high heels. Today, she triumphantly walks in high heels, a testament to her resilience and unwavering determination.

She is known by those familiar with her as the founder of the SheCares Women Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to addressing women’s issues from a socio-economic standpoint. Additionally, she holds the position of CEO at Swatek Electrical, a company specialising in operations within the military, aviation, and rail sectors.

Khuls has underscored that grief is not the type of companion she can reach out to in the late hours of the night when feeling down. Instead, it is the kind of companion that silently sits at the foot of her bed as she cries herself to sleep.

“Grief may be away for weeks or even months at a time, but the knock of this friend is now as familiar to me as my voice.”

She suggests that the process of grieving is inherently focused on the self. It necessitates acknowledging one’s emotional pain, allowing oneself the necessary time to adapt to a significantly altered reality, and adapting to a transformed environment. Additionally, she emphasised the importance of self-care during the grieving process.

“Be your own light and you will light up the world around you. You are worth it because smiles are waiting for you in your future,” said Khuls who also expressed gratitude to all who supported her, stood by her, and dedicated themselves to embracing her transformed self.

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