Last Goodbye

Love  makes the world go round,or the world makes lovelife  go round? At one point we have all felt being in love or being loved.It is this irresistable feeling that is in our innerself that we feel towards those whom we hold dear in our hearts.It nourishes our soul,it has some therepeautic effect in our lives, especially when times are hard.Without seeing our beloved ones our days will become so dull and boring.But with the sight of our beloved ones our days become bright like the brightest day in the month of November,when all flowers will be blooming and leaves will be regenerating. But at times love leave us with physchological  scars,wounds and other painful memories.Some will then argue that a rule of thumb in the murky world of love is just to be in love without thinking about tomorrow.

Now i believe those who say love starts with a smile develops with a kiss and ends with teardrops.Cindy was my world, the whole world ended in her. They say beauty lies in the beholder, but to Cindy beauty seemed to be overflowing and evident not only in the eyes of Gift but in the eyes of many. She had that smile that would take you to a lot of  places,and one of the place that her smile took her to, was in Gift’s heart. She was an epitome of beauty, virtue, kindness and perfection.All in all, words  by themselves fail to describe Cindy,probably what one might need is to refer back to Shakespeare’s sonnets and fish out a short poem that might describe Cindy.Where ever she passed, she left  men twisting their heads ,some even tried their luck.All they could be told kindly and gently was that,” i am sorry,i am taken…i still wish you the best in your search”…That was Cindy for you.

 A gentle, soft-spoken and kind hearted woman of substance. She was a cut above the rest. I know my friends used to accuse me of glorifying the beauty and virtue associated with Cindy. But i knew this was out of jealousy. For she was a woman whom every student wanted to be seen hanging around with at the University Campus. On top of her beauty,God had blessed Cindy with good brains.These two then made Cindy a perfect candidate for marriage. She was a woman whom i had decided to spent the rest of all my days of existence with. I thought we would be together till the end of times.In my daily prayer i used to kneel down and pray to God in thankfullness.So mad i was..madly in love i was.There are things we always like to hear in our lives, especially when the words are spoken by those whom we love.To Cindy i was not deaf to hear all those words she slowly whispered in my ears.

From the look of her eyes,i knew she said it from the bottom of her heart.However, some might  say a heart has no bottom, but to Cindy  her heart had a bottom.Together we were an item. Many students at College were jeolousy seeing us together whilst some felt happy and some even extended their blessings to us.Every Tom,Dick and Harry knew that, we were an item in the offing ,a perfect match that could sent tongues wagging when ever we strolled through the CAMPUS pavements. It was only Gift and Cindy in the world.It was only us but us.For we never saw the other people in our lives.To me she was my world. One poet once recited a poem with the following lines,” to the world you might be one person,but to one person you might be the world”. To Gift she was the World. She was the best..she was the one (singing..)

It is a dull Saturday afternoon i am waiting for a friend in Nescafe in Gweru a small town in Zimbabwe.I feel restless, Oscar seems to be taking long to turn up for our meeting.It was our usual rendezveous (meeting place), we really like this place.I and Oscar we both have a good taste of nice things,nice places and we all enjoy an adventure lifestyle. Reading the daily newspaper ,texting messages to friends,but Oscar is still nowhere to be found.I am becoming restless and impatient.But before i run out of my patience a beautiful nice looking young lady enters…My heart skips and starts beating faster and harder.I am now feeling something so strange in me,maybe thats what they call ‘crash’.Is this love at first sight?In my life i had always been somebody who was not interested in openly expressing my love and feelings to strangers,especially after meeting for the first time.

But in this case,i was never my on self after meeting her. “I am Gift”,i said stretching my hand for a handshake.I could see her eyes looking straight in my face,then she stretched her hand to me…After what seemed like a deafening silence,were one could hear the drop of a feather,she said, “they call me Cindy”. I knew that if i was going to ask the question that you are Cindy how much..i would miss the plot. Events later turned faster and easier than i had expected. At first she seemed uncomfortable with sharing contacts.But at last we agreed to call each other.Who knows maybe the first cut was the deepest.Later my friend called me and told me he could not make it for our meeting.So i bade farewell to Cindy.

With the passage of  time, we started calling each other and visiting each other.I later discovered that we were both at the same University but she was in her 5th year studying Surveying and Geomatics.I was in my final 4th year at the same College.In no time i made my love intentions clear to Cindy.After disclosing my feelings to her,we spent some time without seeing each other.She had asked for some time/break to reflect, as like any other woman in the world does,the usual arguments from Girls. 9:45 in the dining hall,after ordering our meal.We talked and discussed at length.And as we were about to leave i discovered that she had not eaten her food.She said she felt not like eating. I was worried then, she must have read my mind. She said,…ummm “Gift dont trouble your self, i heard what you said….eh..eh..umm…lets give it a try”.It was one of my happiest days,for she had finally opened her heart for me to enter.

Minutes rushed into hours,hours rushed into days,days translated into weeks,weeks into months.That is what happens when you are cruising in the roller coaster of love.We were indeed rocking, our days were full of fun, smiles and adventure. Cindy liked these moments, i used to narrate nice stories to her.I could even sing some soothing lullabies for her, for she was my child. On the other hand she was warm, gentle and loving like a mother and as cool as a cucumber, she was more than a lover. She could constantly beg me to re- narrate these stories and she could say …”Gift say more….”She would smile and feel at ease in my company.Little did we know that in our lives we were not destined to be together.All the same i enjoyed these beautiful moments in our lives for she loved me for whom i was.

On the 25th of November we went for a holiday at Leopard Rock at a place called Hakuna Matata.To say we had a wonderful time would be an understatement.I still remember the poem that i penned for her on this day

….When i am sick you are my nurse….when you are ill i am your doctor…when i become a student you are my teacher….when i become a king you become my Queen….let us not run,..but crawl,..let us not crawl..but walk in love..till the end of times you are my world.WE shall rise and rise until we rise…End

That was the short poem i wrote for her.We discussed about our future plans together,a big family with lovely kids etc. After some days of having fun the two love birds returned back home.We were on holiday (vacation) waiting to re-open at Univesity in January.We spent some weeks without meeting each other.Cindy told me that she was driving to go and collect her young sisters in the rural areas to come and spent the holiday in the city.She was travelling with her young brother.We spoke over the phone for 3 good long hours.I could still pick some broken pieces of information in our conversation as i write today…”Gift be a well-behaved young man”…at times we might not live to enjoy life together,we might separate…but we should always remember the good memories” , she said giggling.

‘Why are you saying all these painful words sweetheart”, i quizzed her. Little did i know that that was the last of us…..I could not believe my ears.The words reached me from her aunt.I thought maybe i was day dreaming and somebody would come and awaken me and tell me i was dreaming..”we are really sorry Gift…hope you will be strong…eh…eh…now planning for the burial plans…”Aunt Martha a good woman as well,she broke the news of Cindy’s death, She was involved in a head on  collusion and the road claimed her life whilst her brother survived with no scratch.My world was taken..i was robbed..i cried and cried ,i became a pale shadow of my former self.For there was no more Romeo and Juliet.

I am clad in black suit and aunt Martha is wiping away my tears ,we are at Granville Cemetry…I reminisce the last day of our Holiday at Leopard Rock (Hakuna Matata). That was our last Goodbye..the telephone call or the burial…All these events signal my LAST GOODBYE. She was gone too soon,i wonder if i am still able to love again.Her untimely death has left an irreplaceable void.Nobody will ever fill in the gap she left.She went with a part of me in her, and left a part of her in me.On the day of the receipt of the news of her death, a human being in me died that night.Its not easy to Love again……We are all victims of fate, but i will always remember the words she spoke on our last goodbye conversation…”I will always remember her” Till we meet Again!

This is a story that featured in the Midlands State University Magazine called Campus Times…Gift Mwonzora writes in his own capacity.

 

 

A Society Torn Apart

A closely knit society,where we all shared the little we had:

Some say it will never rain but pour. It hurts much when we see our society being torn apart due to artificial differences.In a small community in Zimbwabwe villagers lived cheek-to-jowl with each other,that is before the  external forces, ‘invented’ some differences and imaginations  for political expediency.It was a society that lived in harmony with each other.It was indeed a closely knit community, a community were everyone could borrow salt from the neighbour. This then means that, the social relations were quite sound. Howver, with the passage of the sands of time ,events turned topsy- turvey. Events followed one another with great speed, especially after the conciousness and  preaching of the gospel of nationalism, patriotism and all other isms.

For it is these ‘isms’ that have brought suffering to this small community. It is June 2008 and Zimbabwe is poised for another major nationwide election. Fear has gripped this small village.The villagers now hate all politicians. Politicians  came and started preaching the language of differences amongst a closely knit community.  Some even promised delivering the suffering villagers to the biblical Promised Land. However to my utter suprise the community still wakes up to this day to realise that  the proverbial promised land is indeed an illusory nightmare not even a dream.

They came with poshy cars,promised us heaven on Earth and the next day we woke up to see our village still in hell. They drank Mineral (bottled water) and Orange juicy,we staged a high table for them,women spread some cloths for the politicians to step on..This was indeed a red-carpet given to people who later divided us,pitying brother against brother.Shame on Us. Nyanga district have always been a harmonious place to live.Villagers were socialised to live up to the standards of brotherhood and unity, through the cordial community cohesion.One cannot imagine that, this was a society were villagers could share oxen to plough the fields of one’s neighbour.

I also grew up in this society,and i also grew accustomed to the love, care, unity, togetherness that was pervasive in our society.I am also reminded of the sayings that goes,”An Injury to ONE is an injury to All”.This is perhaps the vocabulary that inspired us and even several other villagers to live in peace and harmony with each other.It was a small community,were one was taught that ,No man is an Island. This by no means meant that ,’every child was everyone’s child’.The biblical teachings and the Christian principles taught the society to love one another. I was really touched by this sense of ‘oneness’ that is despite the high levels of poverty in our community.The community members still loved one another.

One old woman used to tell me that you cannot be poor to reach an extent that you will not have anything to give at all.These words kept on ringing at the back of my mind.Each and every day,i witnessed the poor villagers giving each other seedlings in the gardens, small parcels of sugar in khaki cover packets.Each time one of the community member fell ill,the whole community would collectively assist in various ways.Some could bring firewood a bucket of water.This was all done in all earnest, out of true love, kindness and compassion feelings. Every time i saw these poor villagers giving the little love they had, i recalled the words of that woman.

A society where we were taught that what belongs to one belongs to all.This was in clear contrast to individualism as espoused by some so called developed communities. In our community ‘collectivism’ was the buzzword in every sphere of our lives.This was an essential lecture of ‘humanism’ a concept that has been explained by many as “Ubuntu” meaning oneness and people’s loveliness. Collectively people would till their land and harvest their crops collectively,they would go hunting,fishing together.They even farmed in the same garden that was established by NGOs like German Agro Action.This garden was a form of collectivisation programme,were people shared and exchanged ideas, not only socially but also economically and religiously. Life itself weaved  business connections,neighbourly connections, community connections, individual connections within this community. It is a society in which i grew up loving everyone, and i guess everyone did the same.We knew the names of our friends, peers ,colleagues, every day we met either at school, dip tank, shops, bore hole,well and in our gardens. Like in most societies as reflected in the Former Yugoslavia ,politicians started preaching hate language and they also embarked on mindless political concepts like state,nationalism ,patriotism etc.The same also happened in Rwanda, the community became torn apart with some naming fellow community members ‘cockroaches’.

Our community, therefore is not unique to this created  fictionalised and imaginery differences. As i write i still passionately feel grieved and touched over the sad erosion of cordial community relations and peace. The encroachment of hatred  and the triumphant of evil have since become our daily realities. As politicians went ahead preaching the gospel of our differences,bother turned against brother as can be reflected back in the biblical example of Cain and Abel. The elders were also not left out, fellow youths slaughtered animals belonging to their neighbours,stole,beat and harrased innocent civilians due to the mere politics of belonging.

 Houses were torched to ashes. Community relations became sour,scientific political labels seemed to have been triumphant in our lives. We all forgot that political parties are only but scientific labels.We also forgot that belonging to a political party is just equal to an act of belonging to a different soccer club. Violence was meted on innocent civilians,and the very same violence visited our communities in savage proportions, leaving a trail of  despair,fear, solitude,disillusionment,hatred and anger.It was a society torn apart indeed.

 Politicians went on fermenting these conflicts whilst hiding under the veil of ‘political madness’.All these justifications made peace a treasure hunt in our community. Peace became illusory to many innocent vulnerable civilians. Everyone became a victim of this moment of madness,we all lost our nobility of character .Virtue was traded by vice.As of now i still look back to that closely knit community.I even spent sleepless nights thinking about the future of my community.More painfully i fail to have the courage to greet all our neighbours who have wronged us.In the same vein,i still pray to God to give me the courage to one day stand in front of my neighbours and look each other straight in the eye.My mother used to buy clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils from town and give the underprivileged but she has since stopped.

 Relations in our communities are now at the lowest ebb,and they are also now very cold and frozen. We all wish to turn back the clock of time. All the same nobody has emerged a winner in all this madness.But we have all become losers,we are unable to circle and freely associate as fellow community members.We can’t release our attachments,these are the emotional attachments that are drowning our inner self.The writing is on the walls for everyone to see,it will take many years to wipe out the imprinted etches of violence and hatred that is deeply embedded in our community as i speak.

 All the accustomed night dances,the cordial sharing and giving its now only but a thing of the past.It will certainly take time to see smoke rising again in the chimneys of our neighbours,for we no longer come close to each other.Deep wounds continue to fester our hearts,the poison of past hatred continue to haunt the present and the future.As i write my tears ooze uncontrollably,for forgiving and forgetting seems a distant pipe dream.But i seek solace in the fact that GOD teaches us to forgive,turning the other cheek.We all know that an eye for eye will make this world blind and an ear for an ear will  make this world deaf.

The character of innocent civilians was soiled,pride of women has been trampled upon.It is doubtful whether these women will move from being victims into survivors of rape.It is also very difficult to regain their pride and more painful to reflect daily on the agony and violence they have went through. All these psychological wounds have left scars in us.The wounds have never healed.It will be difficult to pretend as if nothing has ever happened.

 However as of now i still value the courage and humilty of Evelyn who happens to be my mother.She has since stretched her reconciliation hand, she has always said,”the door is always open,lets forgive and forget”.However,without first of all healing the victims and the families of the victims i tend to prove my mother wrong. Reconciliation without transitional justice will never see the light of the day in our community.For our case is a case of a community torn apart. In a community were remorse is still a distant pipe dream, healing will always remain illusory and far fetched.

We still carry that pain,it is part and parcel of our everyday lives. All the same our worlds are not that very much apart, that we cannot bridge them. If we all read from John Locke’s postulation that,” Law of reason  teaches us that no one ought to harm another in his/her life ,in health,liberty,life or in possessions”. If we all learn this we will build confidence and drink from the same well without any suspicion of being poisoned. I can hardly find the right words,but mere words alone without deeds will not be enough. I end this episode with some drops of tears flooding my eyes,i should end now,i am unable to go ahead. But i wonder if we are going to reach out to our neighbours, drink tea together under the tree, visit each other and still preach the gospel of ‘collectivism’, love and compassion.Are we able to srtetch our hands again to give not a lifeless but a lively handshake.ARE we able to afford to smile to them not a plastic smile but a genuine warm smile and are they able to return back our smiles????? Are we able to live in peace without fearing the knock on our doors after dusk. It is my deepest wish.One day amongst the days in our lives we can cross the ‘RIVER BETWEEN’…..IMAGINE A WORLD …….were there is no country to kill or die for,were all people live for today and the world will be one.These are none other than John Lenon’s lyrics..

In the Village life will never be the same again:It will be difficult to go and weed and harvest the fields together,for we forgot that what binds us is far more deeper than what separates us.

In the forest we will never go again to cut firewood without fearing for our lives.Life will never be the same again…

 

 

 

Story of my Life

Story telling still remains a deep way of connecting with the audience and reaching out to the society.At one point in our lives,we have all been inspired and intrigued by many stories that we read and listen to. Either in the public transport,at shops,at work or at school.We have all become a world of listeners by becoming the audience instead of being the story tellers.My life story is by no means different from the same old stories that we have been accustomed to.All the same i still narrate it with relish.In our lives everyone is a script writer and the play is never finished nomatter your age or position in life.In an era were there are more funerals than wedding more goodbyes than hellos,we all need to sit down under a tree,in an office,coffee lounge,in the cosy comfort of the hotels and listen to different stories.It is these stories that lightens our days,they keep us going,they make us have something to smile about.The good stories will make us forget the ills of the world,the dungeons of poverty and the they will makes us strong in the face of pythons of disillusionment that constantly seem to be eveready to attack us.However,many at times these stories only remain a fantasy.It is the story of my life.An untold story of disillusionment,joy,happiness,pain,anger,hope and sorrow.It is a basket full case with different stories.

Today,as i sit down to narrate the story,i reminisce the good old days listening to another great story teller.He was indeed gifted,he had all what it takes to captivate the audience,good sense of humour,sense of suspense and full of jokes thats all what kept us at the edges of our seats.All in all, he seemed to be well versed in the ‘art’ of good story telling.To us, we really enjoyed these times,roasting maize cobs,it is 8:30pm a few minutes after supper.Grandfather is polishing his walking stick that he has just finished carving in the afternoon.Sitted on the log with my twin brother,we are impatiently waiting to hear the short stories,myths,legends,folklores and of course the stories about the greatest fighters and the days of grandfather and how they initiated courtship at the waterholes.It is the interesting part that keeps us in stitches,how everyman was supposed to go poetic when asking for a hand in marriage.The stars are shining directly at us,we feel so relaxed,our tummies are slighty aching after overfeeding ourselves.WE have just finished eating thick porridge (sadza) in Shona and milk.After a long day’ s work weeding in the fields we really enjoy our supper especially when mother prepares good relish,but we dont have an pudding or ice-cream our main meal does not have a starter and dessert as in some circumstances elsewhere.All the same we still enjoy it.We always feel happy to hear the old man starting the narration that will leave us in stitches laughing and craving for more.He is polishing his walking stick with a cracked piece of an empty Coca-cola bottle.Thanks to globalisation,at least he manages to use the end-products of globalisation usefully.Never mind the person who drank the contents! I see him standing up,he coughs and spit some saliva in the burning fire..Once upon a time!!! Finally we feel releaved at last.

In no time our hearts were raptured as we saw them shovelling the red gravel soil in a crudely dug grave.My grandmother,tells us,”he is gone,that is his new home,we hope God will take care of him”.I saw tears cascading down the contours of grandmother’s face.I and my twin brother ,we were so confused,we never knew what death meant,we were so young.But,grandmother always lied to us afterwards that we will see him again,but she really knew we will never meet the old man again.Today i still repatriate my mind to the Pastor’s words when he said,”Dust to Dust,you are the Alpha and the Omega”.It becomes so clear to me that, when they say words like these it means our beloved ones have parted.A humourous kind old man was silently taken away in the stillness of the night.As they say a good flower does not live to blossom,this flower was plucked at the time when we wanted the guidance and wisdom.We were robbed.Many say wisdom comes with age..Who will then narrate the good stories to us? After a sad realisation that grandfather is gone,oh! gone too soon,i decide to tell my own story by myself.For grandfather taught us to tell our own stories either to the present generation or to the future.Mine is a story that is best told through writing.For the death of grandfather taught us that, ‘In Africa when an old man dies,a library is burnt down’.He went with all his stories.A library was indeed burnt.All the same i still feel inspired from the little i tapped from this great story teller.i do hope one day i will sit under the tree,in the coffee lounge,in the University corridors and narrate the story of my life through a Novel that reflects vividly my life experience.Your ears you will lend me and the story i will tell,my stories will possibly go a long way in reaching out to the society.in my stories i will connect with your sentiments.To your children i will narrate the stories of our times.I will TEACH them not to read those modernised short stories entitled,No MORE PLASTIC BALLS…I have embarked on this journey today, with support from Nadya a great friend of mine,i know that i will be able to nurse this dream until it reaches full realisation.It is like the birth of a new child,the child starts by crying,irritating,annoying and wetting her mother’s back.The child will cry,crawl,run and walk but the child will live.The dream will also live,its not a false dream…i WILL speak,for my words have not been murdered,for my mouth has not been silenced,for my pen has not run out of ink,for my imaginations are bigger that the biggest mountain……The dream lives on!!!!