Growing up Zimbo: a typical Zimbabwean girl’s memories.

I was privileged enough to grow up in the ”90’s Zimbabwe”.This decade was characterized by relative peace and stability and a booming economy that was the envy of many a nation.While my family was not filthy rich, noone ever went hungry and we were content children. Zimbabwe was, in a nutshell, a beautiful, beautiful place to be.

I often wonder if certain things still go on nowadays.As a child,my afternoons consisted of playing ”dunhu” (dodgeball or piggy in the middle) with my siblings.Barefooted, we would run outside and simultaneously yell ”First pakati!” (”I’m going to be in the middle first!”) then argue back and forth about who was going to be dodging throws from the others first.I would sulk as my cousin Natsi would dodge every single throw my brother and I hurled at her and therefore stay in the game longer.We would stay outside until someone called us in for supper.My mother would always look at our filthy feet upon entering the house and order us to march to the bathroom and wash them, lest we stain her carpet and the bed linen!Now it seems children (and their parents to some extent) would sooner find their entertainment in expensive video games.Hmmm.
I remember having assembly every Friday at school and singing the national anthem at each meeting.I enjoyed long assembly sessions because they would eat up part of the math lesson that was scheduled to start soon after assembly!my primary school ''Twin Rivers''
One particularly hot Sunday afternoon,my siblings and I came up with a stupid but potentially effective plan to get our parents to buy us ice cream.We had gone to Chitungwiza so my mother could pay her condolences to a family she knew.We were told to stay in the car.Instead of rolling down the windows,we mutually agreed to close them and practically bake ourselves in the small Nissan Sunny.My parents said they’d be ”in and out” but because they’re Africans, they eventually spent about half an hour inside.
Needless to say,when they opened the doors to the car,they were greeted by such oppressive heat and four sweaty half baked kids!My little brother,Takura,who was about 2 at the time was crying, not understanding at all why we we were going through with this insane plan.My parents were baffled as to why the windows were closed as we drove off.Then we saw him,the ice cream man from Dairiboard pushing his cart laden with frozen delights.I felt my brother,Tapiwa,elbowing me and I cleared my throat,”Mama naDaddy, can we please have ice cream?” After mildly upbraiding us,they bought us the treats.The plan had worked!

I remember finding 50cents in my school bag and leaping for joy because I could buy myself a chocolate bar or a freezit (frozen drink in a packet) and sweets.
I remeber watching prime time programs on ZBC with the whole family while eating sadza and relish or sadza and lacto.On Monday nights we watched the crazy antics of Gringo and Thursdays nights we’d sing and dance to songs on Ezomgido.
I hated 8 o’clock pm for 2 reasons:
1. the main news bulletin started at 8 and I found the news mind numbingly boring.
2. it was bedtime for us kids!No kid likes going to sleep!

DJ’s I grew up listening to on Radio 3 (now Power FM) include Simon Parkinson, Mark Pozzo, Bridget Gavanga (Bubbling BEE), Patricia Mabviko (was she a DJ?Not so sure anymore…),Peter Johns, Sophie Chamboko, James Maridadi,Comfort Mbofana and Kudzi Marudza.To this day I am convinced that 90’s music and ”old school” trumps today’s stuff 1000 times over.

Some of my favorite foods were Willards Chompkins, RC Cola,maFizz pop, ZimPack Maputi, Charhon’s biscuits and ”fresh pies” from either Baker’s Inn or King Pie.

One day,a friend brought a tamagotchi to school and the whole grade 5 block clammered to get a look.Tamagotchi’s were ”electronic pets” that one had to ”feed and take care off” like a real pet (Google it for a more apt description).Within a week, everyone had on but I dared not ask my
father for one lest I were to get a lecture about mixed priorities and fleeting vanity.
In the 90’s, everyone was wearing spaghetti tops and cargo pants. Every girl had some sort of ”Spice Girl” inspired merchandise: maSpice platform shoes,dolls, stickers, posters etc.WE were all screaming ”Girl Power”.
When it was too hot for ”dunhu” we opted for ”mahumbwe” (playing house”). We would sit under the big umbrella tree in the garden and bake mud cakes and buns.One day we decided to ”cook” real food so we stole a box of matches from the kitchen and lit a pile of papers on fire so we could cook the vegetables we stole from the garden.They tasted horrible.

The Harare Agricultural Show was the place to be every mid August! With our packed lunch,we’d go and marvel at the various exhibits then later ride the rather tame rides at Lunar Park.To us, it was the greatest feeling ever and we would phone our cousins in Mutare to gloat about our day ”kuShow”.

I remember posing for pictures in Harare Gardens at my aunt’s wedding.

I remember having braids that were burnt at the ends with a candle so they wouldn’t come undone.

I remember taking the Tenda bus to boarding school.

I remember jostling for a seat in a commuter omnibus (kombi) with other home ward bound passengers at Fourth Street or Rezende street.

I remember loving this land.I remember crying for it (still do!).

I know that I could never love another country the way I love Zimbabwe.It’s quite impossible.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Matters of the spirit…

Okay, as you can imagine,the issue of religion is extremley volatile but my motive is not to generate discord of any kind.I am genuinely seeking enlightenment for life has taught me that humans learn from humans. Perhaps in any ensuing debate I may find closure and understanding.

When asked what my religious affiliation is,I say Christianity.Whenever there are documents that require that I ‘tick’ a box that best describes my spiritual perspective I tick Christian.However, I would be lying if I were to ever suggest that I have never questioned certain issues. Alas,questions have arisen and doubts have surfaced. At first I was ashamed of myself for even entertaining such apostate thoughts! Me, the one that spoke in tongues and quoted scriptures! How dare I question anything?! But as time went by, my manner of thinking became,”Ok, God is my Father, I have not denounced him or anything. I am simply confused as to a few aspects, that’s all.”

Some of the things that bothered me (and if truth be told still do to an extent)include the so called ”Chosen nation/people”. What makes them so special if we were all created by the same loving father?Why pit one race/people over another and foster animosty?Are we not all the workmanship of One’s hands?
According to the New Testament, we are now ALL his children, regardless of race, nationality etc but I still need more clarity as to why we just weren’t all beloved children from the very beginning.

Another bump I encountered on the straight and narrow was that of some of our modern day shepherds. Some ”Bishops”,”Pastors”,”Reverends”,”Ministers” (the titles are endless), either in religious garb or plain everyday clothes are playing a wicked game.Some have achieved a god-like status in their congregations and anything they utter is revered as sound doctrine. Some have even gone as far as to claim that they are the only true ”voices of God” and many of their prophecies sound awfully suspicious.
ATM’s and swipe machines accepting Visa,Mastercard and other major credit cards have become commonplace in churches and people are told virtually anything to ”promote” giving.I am NOT opposed to giving to the church.Afterall, many churches serve noble causes in the community; running schools and orphanages in some cases.What I am however opposed to is money given by well-meaning, devout members heading to the ”bishop’s” coffer’s, ensuring him and his posterity a comfortable and lavish lifestyle beyond the reach of the very members he preaches to and at times,condems.

Besides the seemingly insatiable love for money that is threatening to highjack many a church, some leaders in the faith are involved in occultic groups if their gestures, social circles and utterances are anything to go by.
Let me now point out that I am NOT an atheist, nor could I ever be one.For the atheist rubbishes the notion that there might be a God or a world beyond what our physical eyes can see (i.e spiritual world). I have seen too much and experienced too much to know there is another side to this life; an entirely different dimension so atheism isn’t for me. This article is simply intended to highlight a few issues I struggle to understand.
I believe God exists but I’m convinced that man somewhere along the line purposely manipulated some aspects to serve a purpose.God’s truth has been tampered with and what we mainly have in my opinion is certain irrefutable truths co-existing with fabricated discrepancies.

The issue of religion is a never ending debate.Noone, absolutely noone can say they know it all.So as at other times,I have resolved to minimize my reliance on the other people for my spiritual life and building (I’m open to opinions but I’ll ultimately evaluate what will work for me just as I’m sure another individual will decide what’s best for them).
History has proved that not not every charismatic gentleman at the pulpit is ”a messanger of God” (think Jim Jones and The People’s Temple in the mid to late 1970’s folks).So I’m not sure that the god Pastor XYZ prays to is the same God that’s looking out for me.Each man to his own I guess…

At the end of the day,who can truly say they fully get this?People are loving, compassionate and trusting.People are malicious,self-serving and deceitful. I can only make decisions for myself,I’ve decided to do what works for ma and being the pitiful creature I am, hope it’s good enough.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Conditional Patriotism…

Zimbabwean Soldiers

Sunday 18 April 2010 in South Bend Indiana was a day like any other for the vast majority of this small town’s population. People went about their daily business- singing praises to the Most High at Sunday service or nursing hangovers from the previous nights merriment. For a small but significant group of Zimbabweans in South Bend it was independence day. Braai’s were planned for later on in the afternoon and people laughed as they shared stories from the motherland.

April 18 2010 marked 30 years of independence for Zimbabwe. As i shared in the festivities and reflected on all my years in the land that i love, I found myself having mixed feelings.On one hand,my heart was bursting with overwhelming pride.I kept hearing portions of the national anthem resonating in my head. I indeed felt nothing short of blessed to be a Zimbo. On the other hand,I felt dismayed.Dismayed because I knew Zimbabwe was on her knees,just barely getting by.No doubt things have improved slightly
in recent times,particularly after the government made it legal for citizens to freely use the US dollar as legal tender.Yet any individual of soung mind and unbiased judgement will tell you there is much to do if Zimbabwe is to ever regain it’s rightful place as a powerhouse in Africa (and dare I say beyond?)

So in this paradoxical state I commemorated independence day.Waving my beloved,gigantic zimbabwean flag one minute then hugging it tightly while assuming the fetal position and softly cooing to myself the next.
At night I began questioning if whether all this ”love” and immense pride that I felt for my country was conditional. Let me explain.

I was born in the late 80’s and I grew up in the 90’s.The 90’s in Zimbabwe were mostly remarkable.The economy was thriving,there was relative social and political rest and pretty much every school, whether private, governmet or mission was a good school.While my family wasn’t exactlt sitting in the lap of luxury, we certainly weren’t sleeping on empty stomachs underneath the southern stars either.In a nutshell, Zimbabe in the 90’s had it’s problems like any place else but it was a decent place to live and I loved it.
Fond memories from my childhood made (make) me love Zimbabwe but as I lay in bed wondering that night, I couldn’t help but feel like a hypocrite.

Anyone can love something or someone that’s been mostly good to them. If my life’s lot had been less favourable, would i still be saying ”Ngayi komborerwe nyika ye Zimbabwe” (God bless our nation Zimbabwe) ? If I was mandated by life’s cruel dictates to illegally and dangerously cross the border in neighbouring SA to try to eek out a living, would I still be as ”patriotic”?Would I smile fondly at the mention of my home if my early childhood memories were replaced with those of a child forced to take up digging for diamonds in the dead of night in Chiadzwa, risking their very life in the process?

If I’m to be honest,I’d probably curse every square inch of that land for it would hold nothing but painful memories for me. All my recollection of the place would force sharp tears out of my eyes and I would harbour such an intense hatred for the land that dashed my dreams.
So,am I a patriot or a priviledged heifer that cannot hate the farm it was raised on because of the good pastures it was fortunate enough to feed on? I suppose this question can be extended to all Zimbabweans the world over; if things had been different, would you still stand by Zimbabwe?

Are we able to unconditionally love our country and raise that distinctive banner from the manicured,lush lawns of Borrowdale Brooke to the drought prone regions of Matebeleland South?

On Sunday 18 April 2010,I felt proplelled to do something and yes, be smething extraordinary.It is my sincere hope, prayer and labour that every Zimbabwean should LIVE in some capacity.

Zimbabwe gave me and millions of others something great.May it fall upon us to do all we can to return the favour. For whether we are true patriots or just lucky heifers, we are Zimbabweans and Zimbabweans will have to rebuild Zimbabwe.

Mazvita henyu,


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment