By Shingai Mugochi
In 1980 jubilant Zimbabweans were wooed into a bus heading to a promised land of milk and honey. They knew the driver had never steered a bus and his crew had no experience either. They were assured that an experienced driver would stay on and assist the new one.
Next to him in the cockpit sat the experienced chap and on the 3rd seat sat a co-learner driver. The new driver made announcements on the tannoy system reassuring all passengers that he would make up for his lack of driving knowledge, navigation of an unknown path and welfare by working with the other learner driver and the experienced driver (the previous white government).
The frenzied majority of passengers erupted into joyous celebration and even those with concerns found their worries eased.
However some still preferred the co-driver to be steering. Little did they know that Robert had just finished a role of cannabis and injected himself of steroids just before embarking? They would soon learn what other exciting stuff he had inside his bag hidden under the driver’s seat!!!
Beginning of the journey
As soon as he turned the ignition on with the magnificent engine leaping into a powerful roar, the esteemed driver began to complain about the co-learner driver blocking his view on the mirrors. Needless to say, the plump chap tried to shuffle around, breathe out a lot more so as to lean his big frame out of the way. The bus came out of the terminus smoothly and passengers sat back and relaxed.
The keen learner seemed to be doing well as they went past a couple of traffic lights. However he appeared to be irritated by the co-learner with every breath. The mbanje effects were kicking in. He started demanding that the burley fellow not breathe onto the windscreen as this was forming steam that impeded his view ahead. The co-learner’s response was to open the window slightly, which did not seem to please the complainant.
Heading towards the highway
With every intersection came the challenge every new driver dreads, slowing and stopping properly followed by a smooth take-of. Mugabe was learning fast. His co-learner was not doing too badly either in assisting with the navigation as the bus headed out. However doing the job of driving in a team as they do in Formula 1 was not for our new driver.
He lit up another roll of mbanje stuffed into a Cuban cigar jacket and drove on. The experienced driver was impressed and took a shine to his learner but he did not have the same adoration for the co-learner on his left.
As the Highway came into view the co-learner decided to seat his second buttock properly on the seat – all the while it had been wedged against the door awkwardly partly out of worry about the new driver’s handling as well as the tension created by the hostile irritations directed at him.
Unbeknown to the co-learner the driver was in the process of swigging from a bottle of tototo AKA TTT aka sikokiyana that he had just sneakily pulled out of his hidden bag. So the landing of his bum pushed the instructor who in turn nudged the driver! Oh my God!
The driver, tototo in hand, suddenly hit the brakes (in a moment of madness) and the bus came to a jerking halt. The nutty chap began shouting obscenities at his co-learner. He made crazy accusations that Josh was trying to push him off his seat and out of the bus. The latter tried to explain the misunderstanding but the paranoia from the combination of mbanje and sikokiyana would not permit for reason to get through the zombie driver. He was soon swinging punches at his co-learner.
The driving instructor took delight in the battering of the man on his left by Robert as he had grudges from a past 3-way fight where all were involved. So he turned the other way and played blind to the battering of his former nemesis, occasionally letting a mischievous smile slip through his lips. The raged driver called on hishwindi assistants to help pummel the co-learner as well as any passengers that preferred him.
The thorough beating went on for hours before the co-driver managed to jump out through the narrow windows and run for dear life. His supporters were instructed to go to the back of the bus where they were subject to the worst kind of violence a person can mete out on another.
On the Highway
After kicking out the co-driver and relegating his supporters to the rear the journey continued – the hwindis continuing to deal blows on them. The driver had shared out his mbanje with the hwindis and they too had acquired superman powers which rendered them immune to empathy, delusional and downright mad. They savagely mauled the innocent passengers.
Now seating comfortably in the front seat with the instructor with whom he had struck a chord he was flying at low altitude. He took over the navigation and also did the tout’s work! That is what he wanted, complete control of the bus.
In the cockpit he was juggling playing loud music that drowned the screams of the passengers being bashed at the back of the bus, to a level where a lot of fellow passengers did not even hear the wails of their fellow occupants.
Some did hear the noises from the back between change of songs but Robert would use the tannoy system to share his schizophrenic view that they were being nicely restrained because they were crazies who wanted to cause the bus to over-turn…I guess by use of bombs in their bags!
The new driver was good at everything – driving, navigation, DJ-ing, being a Hwindi, talking to the instructor, announcing destinations and making sure no one farted without his say so in the bus! Eish the amazing effects of mbanje and home-brewed tototo! However, he still had even more exciting stuff in his hidden bag!
Co-driver catches up with police
The drunk driver started singing along to songs through the tannoy system and the passengers soon joined in on popular tunes. He would occasionally chant slogans and the excited passengers would just follow- a lot of them denouncing the escaped co-driver and the passengers being bashed at the back.
Joshua Nkomo in exile in the UK
Meanwhile, Josh had gone into the police station and made a report. They sped forward with him in chase of the bus. After a while they caught up with it and signalled it to stop. Rob had jumping onto the bus doing the hwindi’s job and that had somehow worn off the obvious mbanje effects.
He convinced the policemen that it was a minor misunderstanding between him and his co-driver colleague. The police turned to the instructor and asked what he had seen. He told them that he had seen nothing and heard nothing! Rob then stretched out his hand to Josh to shake and invite him back to the bus. He obliged.
The driving instructor was asked to move to the window seat and let Josh seat next to him as an assistant. They were going to drive together now, one permanently navigating and the other permanently driving – no swops! The beatings of fellow passengers stopped. All seemed to be hunky-dory.
Soon Robert and Josh were sharing the contents of the former’s secret bag – a twisted way of extending the olive branch (in our case a cannabis branch). The instructor was now being elbowed out as the two co-occupants of the cockpit ceased to see his value now that they felt confident they could drive on their own.
Out comes the Cocaine!
Josh was delighted with the offer of tototo and mbanje by the driver. They partook together, drove the bus at break-neck speed and sang along to the tunes together. They bonded. Sadly though, that bond appears not to have been sealed with mbanje and tototo for the aggrieved innocent passengers who had been beaten up by hwindis.
Their cries once more were drowned by blurring sounds in the tannoy system – this time with a clearly intoxicated Josh joining along! Eish, power is mbanje – it makes you forget where you came from and removes empathy from your radars.
The journey is long and the driver was getting exhausted. However, he did not want anyone else taking the wheel. So he dug from his bag under the seat once more. In his hand were syringes of cocaine!
With the instructor now sleeping Josh set about injecting his new best buddie. Bob did the same, one hand on the wheel and all eyes on Josh’s arm. After this they were in bliss!!! The paranoia was doubled, the restlessness was trebled and the singing got louder.
Kicking out the bus instructor
The two set about plotting to get rid of the cushy driving instructor. They woke him up and told him to jump off the moving vehicle. He was told he had no right to be on that bus. When he challenged them they threw him out onto the tarmac where he landed face first before rolling a couple of times – some say he is still rolling to this day.
The instructor had very powerful influential family and they pressed for him to be found and his place in the bus restored. However Josh and Rob just shrugged their shoulders and demanded that those families must take their relative into their own buses. They continued travelling but their journey was plagued with trouble. The instructor’s family influenced fuel companies not to sell fuel to the bus until they took him in. Our binged drivers just did a LOL on them!
Sadly Josh fell ill and passed on soon after. This left Rob in sole charge of the cockpit. He then invited passengers to help themselves to the property left behind by the instructor and a few of his fellow rich passengers.
A sober driving passenger is found!
When the pressure of rich friends of the instructor calling on the drunk and drugged driver to stop bashing their relative began to take effect, there was no fuel to keep the bus moving. The crazy driver jumped out and shouted for help, pulling his hair and frothing in the mouth. Some old friends came to his aid with some drips. He kept recklessly accelerating the vehicle and each time finishing the fuel too quickly until his friends’ tanks were soon without enough to spare.
The passengers were hungry and tired. A lot of them became restless. They began to call for a fresh driver to take over and deliver them. “Hahahahahahahaha”, laughed the crazy the driver hysterically! “Over my dead body” he told them, lifting a couple of fingers in a gesture that made his point clear. However his animated drug-fuelled rants did nothing to stop his famished and exhausted clients from making louder calls.
They managed to find a guy among themselves whom they believed could do a better job driving them. His name was Shrek. He sounded and appeared like he could drive a bus. The chants for him to take over the steering grew louder and more organised.
However, they had forgotten that the resourceful driver had a secret bag and was still in control of the tannoy system. So no matter how noisy they became, his combination of tannoy system plus mbanje plus steroids plus cocaine plus tototo always came out trumps. He accused them of being agents of the rich relatives of the driving instructor!
Shrek thought he could dislodge the crazy driver by getting the passengers to shout at the same time. That did not work. He then tried breaking windows and still no movement. He even contacted and met what he thought were rich friends promising to shoot the maniac driver but alas it was a set up! Just another fool then. Unfortunately the passengers were so desperate for a change of driver that they could have been happy with a goat taking over.
The bus was in a bird shape at this stage. Passengers jumped out through windows at every opportunity. Nothing seemed to be working. Clueless Shrek kept calling for the same tactics that were not working until passengers got fed up including some of his closest fellow passengers who left to form their own group in the back of the bus.
Meanwhile the cocaine druggie driver had locked himself into the cockpit and was injecting himself crazy – with little disturbance. Occasionally he shouted into the tannoy to wake up the passengers and remind them that the instructor driver and his relatives were the only real opponents his delusions allowed him to see.
After a long struggle the passengers breached the locked cockpit. Shrek tried to grab the wheel from the lunatic whose nails had grown so long while clinging on to it that they had bonded and conjoined permanently with its leather cover! So only cutting his hands would do!
Unfortunately before that could be done, Robert called upon his most trusted and potent whindis – they are like zwidhoma aka tokolotshis – normally called war veterans! They bashed all the passengers back to their seats and closed the cockpit until police once more came to intervene! In the midst of this commotion, Shrek managed to do what Josh had done 25 years before him – jump out of the bus for dear life!
Once more in the presence of the police the screwball acted very sober and agreed to share the cockpit with Shrek. This time the co-driver was only allowed to sit on the seat next to the window and was not allowed to see how Bob changed gears or steered. However he too was invited to consume the secret cocktails! Gosh he did partake!
To cap it all, Robert arranged for female whindi friends to come and entertain his new buddy. By the time they got to the next stop Shrek was too busy playing marry/unmarry with the whindis organised for him in the cockpit. The passengers were not impressed with his antics – especially now that the potty driver was shouting it all out in the tannoy system!
Mugabe ran the show in the inclusive government and covered circles around his inexperienced opponent/counterpart
Needless to say, Shrek was kicked out of the cockpit kicking and screaming foul. In fact it appears that he was pulled out by the passengers although he refutes this. The journey continues……
We are passengers in a bus driven by a drug-crazed maniac. Our 90 year old driver has demonstrated how unhinged and violent he is for the past 50years. He rants and raves at everyone except his wife whom he has recently rewarded with an undeserved academic title – only he knows what for really? The wrapping says philosophy but the inside says ‘bedroom services’.
Our bus is on a steep descent at high speed. Mugabe remains on a permanent high, singing and dancing in the cockpit…shall we brace ourselves for the crash or try to save ourselves by doing something? The whindis in Zanu-pf clearly are only too happy to rip each other’s eyes off while ignoring the real problem – it is clear they too fear the moving corpse like most people do. So much for calling themselves Ngwenas and Spill-bloods. They have made it their job to be filling up his secret bag with cocaine, steroids, tototo and cannabis. Are we still heading to the land of milk and honey? Are we there yet, I ask.
The saddest thing is that the opposition is in worse disarray and more divided than Zanu-PF. Cry the beloved country.
A lay concerned Zimbabwean.