Brighton shares how love changed his perspective on life
In a small town in the Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe, a young boy reads to distract his mind from the death of his parents.
He writes to forget the hardships— the extreme poverty, the discrimination— that face him everyday. And he is good at it.
"I started writing poems, novels, reminiscences, essays and songs and I realised I had a talent for writing and music," Professor Brighton Masungo says.
"Literacy gave me an advanced perspective on human development and a sense of responsibility."
But this, and the newfound sense of purpose it gave him, did nothing to improve Brighton's social exclusion.
Driven by the need to be involved in community development, he says he started conducting lessons on AIDS, moral development and character building in schools and social functions as a poet, citizen journalist, musician and speaker.
However, his community saw this as nothing more than a waste of time. Some even found this behavious mischievous.
"I was labelled as dangerous, rude and delinquent," Brighton explains.
"Everyone turned against me, including my relatives. I even started hating myself; who I was, my circumstance and existence. I wished death."
Brighton says there were several times he thought of committing suicide because he had come to believe that he was doing wrong, that he was unwanted, and that he was dangerous.
This warped perception of himself prompted unruly and anti-social behaviours, he says, as he "got involved in unnecessary political affiliations, deals, and games with cheating girls".
Brighton thought he deserved death.
Until he found hope and love in one of his readings, in a book he says he found "more exciting than all those books he had read in his life".
"I was forced to think upon the things of God after a long time of sadness, loss and misery together with general emptiness," he says.
He says he began reading Pastor Chris' Rhapsody of Realities daily devotional and looking at the word of God in the Bible, and found the contents to be "thoroughly stimulating, edifying and enriching".
"It is the revelations, teachings, word-based prayers and confessions stirred me to love my God and live for Him."
He says he came to realise his worth in Jesus, and was able to break the self-hatred and inacceptance from his life.
He resumed his past ambition of becoming an internationally acclaimed author and has now written many books, has been invited to present his poems at national functions, and has had some of his work published.
“God helped me to discover myself”"I thank God for that," he says.
"God helped me to discover myself. He communicated His love to me. I now know I am good, purposeful, and loved by my Creator. Today I am a happy man who loves others and looks forward to achieving his goals and fulfilling his purposeful destiny.
"I know I was forgiven and accepted to live the life of a saint."
And as well as writing, Brighton now has a passion for seeing other people come to know the God he loves so much.
In 2013, he founded a Youth development organisation. He also uses every opportunity to share about Jesus, teach the Bible and tell others of what God has done in his life.
"Everything I am doing is centred on telling people about Jesus and helping others to give their hearts to Him (by trusting in His offer of forgiveness and everlasting life).
"Many people who know my past can comprehend how important the Word of God is for us. Some have even decided to repent (turn away from their wrong doing) and follow Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, as they have been inspired by the constant joy my life is now anchored upon."
"My life has completely changed," he says.
"I said goodbye to my past as I marched into a new future, to be loved and to love others."•