Isdore Guvamombe Reflections
Back in the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, no sun sets without leaving behind its own piece of history. The sun is so crafty and inherently stubborn that between dawn and dusk of each day, history is written.
On April 17, 1980 and under the silhouette sunset horizon village, cattle herders tethered goats to pegs with sisal ropes and penned the cattle.
Soon, the goats and cattle started chewing the cud, resigning to their boring nocturnal existence.
Momentarily, the village was alive with children playing in the dusk, their sturdy legs caked with a mixture of cow dung, mud and dust. They were indeed bidding farewell to the day and unbeknown to them, bidding farewell to an era.
Each child knew exactly what time to go home, for the war had just ended, but there was still a possibility of the war resuming.
The night suddenly went oppressively silent.
The only sound the villagers could hear was screeching crickets, the distant hoot of the owl and the howling of the jackal.
Even the night was dangerously quiet and pregnant with the anticipation of the next day’s activities. Tree branches sang in harmony with the easterly winds.
Men sat around fires, discussing a major event that was about to change the fortunes of the black majority.
It was an event too good to believe — a chance too good to miss and a destiny all and sundry in the black community of Rhodesia was waiting for.
But as the norm in the village, it was taboo to discuss matters of grave importance on dry throats and equally taboo to participate in serious matters while sloshed.
So, they drank a little from their calabashes, leaving room for tomorrow’s job.
Suddenly, the village went to sleep, everyone no longer milking from behind the ears, promising to wake up early and fulfil a promise to endorse his or her liberation from colonial bondage.
Rhodesia was a forlorn affair, very few people would go back to it. Maybe only sell-outs and die-hard Rhodesians. The villagers had made sure Rhodesia was dead and buried.
At dawn today in 1980, or the time when elephants normally bath in Dande River, many a villager came out of the stupor of sleep and hurriedly carried out their domestic chores in preparation for the celebrations.
Then, the sun shone brilliantly and villagers gathered at Muzika School, greeting each other effusively, cheering and enjoying the dawn of a new era.
Villagers went into a frenzy of celebrations the whole day.
Cattle, goats, sheep and chicken were slaughtered. Drums of food boiled on huge bonfires, whose tongues of flames licked the exterior metal with a passion.
Pemberai, pemberai vakoma
Hiyaho hiyaho hiya pemberai!
Nyika yababa . . . Tichichangozvitonga
Nevachatevera, nevana vevana . . . vachangozvitonga..!
Inhaka yababa . . . Pemberai!” so sang a youngish and spike-haired Thomas Mapfumo from the shrieking gramophone!
Villagers danced and raised the dust. Their bodies needed to shake off the dark memories of Rhodesia. They sweated it out through bum-jive, kongonya and chamusasura dances.
There was deft footwork, body shaking and waist-wriggling. When night fell, it was as if that was dawn.
No one went home. The dancing and feasting continued.
Cde Robert Mugabe, then euphemistically referred to by villagers as “Jongwe” or the “Lion that Roars From the Bush (Shumba inodzvova yoga musango)” and his colleagues had done it.
In the aftermath of the celebrations, the grounds had nothing but dust and gnawed bones, empty and half-empty bottles and the villagers were seen snoring in various corners and postures.
On such occasions, like these, some virgins were deflowered.
Some members overcome by drink and fatigue, sprawled in various corners, for in Rhodesia all they had enjoyed was forced labour, dehumanising treatment and suffering.
Now, 39 years after Independence, Robert Mugabe has departed to the world yonder and Zimbabweans in their broad totality should pour out of their shells and celebrate his life, our nationhood, more so, after implementing the land reform programme and indigenisation, policies that are taking the people’s revolution to its logical conclusion.
If Independence sent villagers into frenzy, why should the success stories of indigenisation, empowerment and land reform not send us mad as well?
Naturally, former President Mugabe, as a human being made some mistakes during his tenure, but he also did very well to defend the country’s Independence and sovereignty and dignity.
May his soul rest in peace!