Weirdly nostalgic thoughts run riot inside my head,
as I step on the soil of my childhood.
This semi-arid land of kwa Zambe
jealously flanked by the Jenya range,
Greets me with the traditional east wind,
which no longer is the bearer of rain.
As my feet make contact with the hard earth,
that spawned the beginning of the end,
it feels unresponsive under my stranger’s feet,
Now wrapped in colourful city sneakers.
The formerly vibrant homestead,
cowers like a cornered army in retreat,
battered into submission by years of neglect.
The once proud thatched huts,
now stand like drunken recruits
at a vigilante inspection parade.
The once formidable matriarch’s kitchen,
completes the picture of tangible degeneration.
A vulgar caricature of a generational change.
A forced changing of the cultural guard
Whose impact families have to contend with.
The eerily crumbling violated homestead
Stands in stark opposition to the flourishing mango trees,
Gracefully and defiantly swaying in the east wind.
The rich green and yellow mangoes on every branch,
not a burden for the trees firmly entrenched in the soil,
Neither a visible sign of strain for them from the midday heat.
“Masikati”, a voice timidly greets us from the depth
of the branches of the biggest mango tree.
And then another voice and still another.
Thoughts of vengeful village apparitions assail us.
Immediately replaced by a collective sigh of relief
As the voices reveal themselves to be neighbours,
Harvesting where others had sowed and left.
Suddenly not far on the western horizon,
A few dark clouds hold court above the Makoni area.
The harvesting neighbours from the mango tree
peer knowingly at the clouds, and quickly depart with their loot.
The dark clouds drift menacingly towards us.
Zambe is instantly blanketed and darkened.
The heavens open their pent up floodgates.
We beat an undignified hasty retreat,
accompanied by a violent sheet of heavy rain.
Drenched in minutes, the cars are little comfort,
but it is the only refuge we know and have now,
Until we retrace our route out of Zambe, in Gandanzara
By Obert Mandimutsira