THERE is no formula to being a widow, Sfiso Ncwane's widow, Ayanda, says. All she can tell other grieving women is that you learn as you go along and time helps ease some of the pain. Ayanda singles out Simphiwe Ngema, whose husband, Rhythm City actor Dumi Masilela, was killed in a hijacking in August.
Ayanda gained the respect of many when she sent Simphiwe a comforting message following the shooting. The message of support Ayanda posted on Instagram said, "Each time another wonderful husband passes on, it angers me that I had to weep and I wish I could run and hold Simphiwe Ngema wherever she is and tell her 'scream hard for your man, babe gal. It's either you cry bitterly now or you will spend the next months weeping as if the news was newly brought to you'."
Ayanda went to see Simphiwe a few days after Dumi passed away.
"As I sat listening to people comforting and advising her, I wished they could know nothing made sense to her at that stage. Nothing can prepare you for the journey that lies ahead."
Ayanda says when her grief gets overwhelming, she's comforted by the fact that Sfiso lived his life fully.
"How many 37- year- olds accomplished what he had? He had a gift, and he used it to the best of his ability. I always tell my sons that they must share what God has given us like their father did. They must make sure they don't go back to Him having not accomplished the mission."
The walls of the family's beautiful double- storey home in Dainfern, Johannesburg, are decorated with framed pictures of Sfiso.
"Having Bab Ncwane's pictures around us helps us heal. I also want the boys to see his picture all the time so when they see it somewhere else it doesn't shock or affect them too much. I want to keep him alive in our hearts."
WHEN Sfiso died, Ayanda's battles with her in-laws were all over the media. She decided to "let God take charge", and things are better now between her and her husband's family. "I decided to respect my husband and try to resolve the issues as much as I possibly can, so we can all heal," she says.
Healing is something everyone has something to say about, she adds. Some people tell her she should see a therapist, others that she should change her lifestyle for financial reasons.
"I respect people's advice but I refuse to go for counselling, move my sons to another school or change the inches of my weave just because my husband is gone," she declares.
"It's true I will never make the kind of money Bab Ncwane was making but the source of our provision was God. My husband died but God didn't," she says. She gets through her days by keeping herself busy. "Working is like my new drug," she says. "I go to bed around 2am when I'm exhausted so I can fall asleep straight away and not have too much time to think."
In addition to her TV show, she's running her husband's company, Ncwane Communications, and recently signed an a cappella group called Abathandwa.
Her boys had a hard time coming to terms with losing their father, even though they appeared strong in public.
"I realised later they were putting on a brave face for me because their father always told them I am their responsibility."
When she realised they were struggling, she sat them down and talked to them. "Now when they achieve something at school they say they know Daddy would be proud."
Her children might follow in her husband's footsteps in the music industry, she says. Her youngest, Mawenza, often wakes her up in the middle of the night to sing for her and both boys love music.
"But their father was against it at this stage of their lives," Ayanda says. "He wanted them to finish school first."