Growing up wearing sandak shoes.That time when you will travel to the city for holiday. It was a moment many youths in the village just craved for. You will be happy to go to the city to enjoy the neon lights, drink (kokokora), and bath with water (with carbonated soda). It would be time to break with the routine and the monotony of herding goats and cattle in the forest. Going to the dip tank and fetching water in the river.
Life in the rural areas were everything was communal from eating (people could circle around and eat in one big plate).The kids were not allowed to pick a piece of meat ahead of their elders. One had to wait till the elders pick or share the meat. So you had to endure serving sadza with broth (soup or muto).From harvesting (nhimbe) to collective communal hunting (mambure) life was just communal.
Life repeated itself, whilst others were watching movies and going to SIMMAD you derived happiness in going for hunting in the back of beyond in the thick forest in the Nyangani Mountains. The atmosphere was so serene. At sunset you would double count that there is no missing cattle or goat. It was really fulfilling going back home with goats and cattle with bloated stomachs. Especially, given the fact that the number of cattle one had, proved his status and wealth in society. The number of cattle one owned was a sign of prestige. Or at times we used to go for Sunday special outing at the Growth Point. Young boys would just spend much of their time wiling time at the shops, especially going in a grocery shop where there will be a beautiful shop keeper. In the evening, it was time for roasting maize and groundnuts.
The usual monotony would creep in, life repeated itself. The daily routines, going to work in the fields in the scorching sun. In the morning you would take maheu with the previous night’s sadza (munya). Life in the rural areas where you grew up being taught on mannerisms and etiquette. Anyone with a similar totem becomes your relative auntie, uncle, sister, brother, father, you name it. In a rural community where you discovered that everyone is related through the (maternal or the paternal) family tree.
You also remember very well – the teen hood delinquency. How you used to hide in the bushes surrounding the river banks, just to get a glimpse of the naked bodies of women bathing in the river. How at some point you tried to smoke cannabis – with the older boys in the village especially the village herd boys (vafudzi vemombe). This was all part of the essential syllabus of growing up in the village.
In a society where you had to greet the elderly with respect. In this village, there is a saying which goes ‘every child is everyone’s child’. During the school days you would reach school with wet feet from moisture (morning dew) accumulated along the way to school. Though you had shoes you would stand out as the odd one out. Others had no shoes, and they would just step in the school public toilets on bare feet. Life had never been all that rosy in the rural areas, it had its own fair share of rough patches. The ups and downs.
When you came to the City, you remember very well how the city girls in the neighbourhood used to tease you as the ‘boys from the village’. It demeaned you, it demotivated you, it crushed your self – esteem, your spirit and it ‘otherised’ you. But how time changes, most of them failed to succeed in life and you have fared better than most of them.