Vokal Da Poet’s Village Idiot is, as always, a laugh a minute as he reflects on life in rural Zimbabwe.
If you were walking from the shops, or the school or church, or the bus stop, coming to our house, you walked near the house of Mbuya Mai Takura. That was the only road. But if it was in that time after the harvesting and before the ploughing, then you could walk in the fields and make a shortcut, and you do not pass near their house. But the real road walked there.
The house of Mbuya Mai Takura had a fence that was falling in many places. It was falling so much that it was almost same same like they don’t have a fence. But they always closed their gate as if it was doing any job. There are people who did not choose the gate. There were many places a person could get in their yard and not use the gate. But me I always used the gate because there were dogs at Mbuya Mai Takura’s house.
I don’t know why they had the dogs anyway, because the dogs did not do anything. They only barked and barked and barked. One day mother wanted to put medicine for rats in food so that the dogs will eat and die, because the dogs were coming to our house in the night and doing faeces all over the yard. One day in the afternoon mother caught the other dog eating eggs in our fowl run. For a long time mother was always scolding us and saying that one of us was stealing eggs, and yet it was the dogs.
You know, some people who had dogs will go hunting for rabbits. But no one from Mbuya Mai Takura’s house went hunting. So I could see no reason why they had the dogs at all.
Every time I walked past their house I was holding stones in my hands, and there will be a few more in my pockets, just in case the dogs tried to come to me running. All the time I tried to walk softly so that they do not hear me and come to the gate or start barking. And when they started barking at you they did not stop. Sometimes that is how we knew that father was coming from the beer-hall.
And sometimes they even barked at us and other people when they were at our house. When they started barking I wanted to run away, but everyone always told me that if I started to run away from a dog it will bite me. So I did not run, but I prepared my stones.
All bark, no bite
Then I grew up and started to know that dogs that bark a lot do not bite. You know, even dogs without teeth can bark too. Dogs that bite don’t finish their power barking. Like, a person who cannot fight and is afraid, can try to make you afraid by shouting too much. But the one who can fight and is not afraid doesn’t want to finish his power shouting. You know, like Perkins. Perkins did not walk around saying he can fight, but even the big boys were not sure about doing a fight with him.
True wealth is silent
Have you ever heard Mandela talking about being in jail? They put him in jail for 27 years. But he did not talk about it. Other people talked about it. Not Mandela. Have you ever heard Zuma and the South Africa government and ministers come out on TV saying Jozi is a very rich country? No.
South Africa is very rich so they have people from South Africa who give food to other South Africans and Zimbabwe-South Africans who don’t have food. And the government even gives money to some that don’t have work.
Rich but broke
But look at the Zimbabwe government and the ministers and other big people. They are always on TV and radio saying that Zimbabwe is rich, Zimbabwe is a better country, Zimbabwe has money and minerals what what. The truth is that the only mineral that is being bought by many people in Zimbabwe is mineral water.
But not enough of it is sold, so they don’t have money to pay everyone who works for government. So they pay only the big people and the government and the ministers, and the soldiers so that the soldiers can beat up everyone who did not get money if they decide to talk too much and make noise for not having money in December.
War credentials, war credentials
Grandfather went to war to fight the whitemen. He left a wife and children. But when he arrived at the war, he killed other black people who had left their houses too. He also had a scar where a bullet entered his leg. But grandfather never liked to talk about the war. And was very angry when someone was always coming out on TV saying they saw the war.