Life in the Village

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.

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When Everything Becomes Strange

The hen had run across the road. The elders always believed that such was an indication and signal of an imminent bad omen. The bus was packed to the brim. We were packed like sardines. You could hardly straighten your back. It was Christmas holiday. Most people were travelling from the City to the Village.
The very same evening the owls were hooting unendlessly. I was so frightened. The dogs had been backing continuously. Having had spend much time in the city – I was a stranger in my own village just like Lucifer in Charles Mungoshi’s Waiting for the Rain. That night I could not catch sleep, images of ghosts and the fear of witches kept on crossing my mind.
Maybe someone had cast a bad omen – to my home come.
The next morning I woke up feeling so exhausted. All the elders from our village were gathered under the Msasa tree. There were three clay pots of frothing home-made beer. It was home brew that had been brewed by the elderly women who had reached menopause. Some were already sharing homemade cigarettes (chimonera). Others were bragging about how they can be allowed to smoke snuff (bute) even in the aeroplane. As if they had boarded the plane in their lifetime. This was the village talk – it was their way of socialisation. Everything in this village was done at ease.

I witnessed how uncle Nyandoro stood up and used his palm to wipe his mucus and in no time he was exchanging the drinking gourd with others. As I sat on the reed mat I kept on thinking, whom will I share my fears that there seemed to be a bad omen in the village. Maybe it was the problem of growing up in this society. A society that was so superstitious.

Zimbabwe Approaching a Moment of Reckoning

Indeed the moments of reckoning is before us. The unfolding of events at a breakneck speed attest to this claim. We have all been enjoying, lamenting and guessing on which trajectory Zimbabwe is adopting. In the political parties there has been an increase in ugly Intra party squabbles amongst the political elites. These deep cleavages have vindicated the public citizen’s long held claim that politics is all about power, and economic interests. In both Zanu pf and MDC we have seen open warfare and nasty infighting amongst the so called erstwhile comrades in Struggle. Wish the late eminent political guru Masipula Sithole was still around. Struggles within a Struggle are reigning supreme – let his dear soul rest in eternal peace.

Zimbabwe also continue to witness rising level of unemployment and this is in stark contrast to the ZANU PF July 2014 election promise of 2 million jobs. Recently, we heard Vice President Joyce Mujuru acknowledging that at least Zimassset needs 45 years in order for us to really realise its fruition. So in other words we are flogging a dead horse.

The Language of violence has also continued to marinate the public discourse. We have heard of those weevils that need to be gamatoxed. Succession politics has become a ticking time bomb in both parties. Factionalism and internal party infighting is rife. The media spaces has been awash with screaming headlines on party infighting especially within the revolutionary ruling party. Detrimentally, this has affected national policy (re)formulation and articulation. At least we have witnessed the toning down of the black empowerment and Indigenisation policies.

We have also heard the alluvial Diamond reserves are nearing depletion. That is if they are not yet depleted. The Gods Must Be Crazy! We hear the Chinese are complaining it now requires sophisticated machinery to exploit the remaining diamonds. It’s all akin to events in a soap opera. These are the challenges of our time. When everything just turns dramatic. Maybe the end is nigh…

We have also heard the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe controversially branding Zimbabwean NGOs as AGOs (Against Government Organisations). What might have charmed him to sing for the incumbent’s supper or it’s just a damasane moment for him. Is this the re- alignment of forces and actors? Maybe there was a use of some love potion (muti) to charm the other. Or the other was outfoxed. Surely, these are changing times. A time of reckoning is slowly approaching!

We now hear their PhDs (Doctor of Philosophy Degrees) are being questioned. They have increased taxes. We are also surprised hearing that the so called ‘international community’ that is even if it exists at all – pledged its willingness to work with a reformed Zanu pf. Weren’t these actors sworn enemies? How about the complete and sudden U – turn. There are no permanent friends, neither are there permanent enemies in politics but there are permanent interests for sure. It’s a matter of politics at play.

We hear there is now an Orange Party in the wings. It’s now all about oranges, orange juice. A fruit party it has been labelled. They purport to bring a new alternative form of politics by unlocking all those actors who are locked in undemocratic systems. They are building on the Coalition of the willing. As we struggle in unmasking Baba Jukwa, the liberation credentials of former revolutionary comrades has also been questioned and dismissed from within. Is it an erosion of discipline and obedience within the party?

All hullabaloo about obscene salaries has since escaped the public discourse. All is normal. After all we have our own lives. We have better things to think of. Our daily battles the erratic electricity supply, dry taps, transport blues and of course the new raft of tax increases. Of course not to mention the soaring unemployment and retrenchments.

These are hard times… The farming season is in the offing. At least we will have to seed hope. For It is hope that keeps us going as a nation. One day, I will get a job, one day I will buy a stand in the high density suburb, one day I will drive the second hand Japanese vehicle, one day I will be a better person…..One Day…Just another day, my country is approaching a moment of reckoning!!!
A ZIMASSET TO YOU ALL…..