In another bitingly honest story, the Village Idiot illustrates the folly of denial.
My grandmother could see everything. There was nothing that anyone can hide from grandmother. One look. Just one look. Just one look at you and grandmother will tell you if you are now chasing girls. And if you are a girl she will be able to tell you if boys are now looking at you, and if you were now letting them touch your breasts.
Wise old grandmother
So she was always talking about the young girls of the village. And she was always telling mother which girl was going to have a child with no father, and she will say which one was going to get married. If a new girl came to our village visiting some people, or to work in a shop, grandmother could always tell you if she had a child back where she had come from. It was not nice for a young man who doesn’t have any children to be in love with a girl who had given birth to a child.
My brother almost made that mistake of being in love with this other girl who came to work at Madam Mutero’s house as a housegirl. Grandmother said to him that the girl had a child so he must stop loving her. My brother was not happy, and he did not listen. Until then one day when she told him herself that she had a son. Everyone at home laughed at him for not listening to grandmother. Mother told him that he must always listen to the things that old people say because the mouth of old people will never fall to the ground.
Denial – ‘not my child, never!’
Mother always agreed with grandmother. But one day grandmother said to mother that Keresenzia was now pregnant. And mother refused to believe it. Mother said that Keresenzia was not like Sisi Rudo. Keresenzia was not pregnant. She said that a pregnant person’s stomach will become big, and her breasts will also too become too bigger than they were at the start. But Keresenzia’s stomach did not become big, and her breasts did not grow up to be too bigger than at the start. Grandmother said to mother that Keresenzia was hiding everything by wearing a jersey all the time. But mother said that Keresenzia was always wearing a jersey because it was too cold outside. Everyone knows that June is a very cold time. When grandmother said to mother that Keresenzia’s face was now shining because of her getting pregnant, mother said that it was because Keresenzia was bathing too much. She loved water. And when Keresenzia started to love to sleep too much in the afternoon, mother said that it is because she is tired of all the working she was doing in the fields.
The truth emerges
But one day, when Keresenzia went to the toilet to do faeces, people heard a baby crying, and Keresenzia shouting and crying all at one time, mother did not know what to do. I looked at her and she was looking at grandmother, and her eyes were saying to grandmother that the baby did not belong to Keresenzia. But she could not say it.
No denial in South Africa
Here in Jozi, people don’t try to hide the truth or to run away with it. Not even the president Zuma. All the newspapers will write the things that are happening. But not in Zimbabwe.
A government in denial
In Zimbabwe the government, and the ministers and the president, all of them, they are like mother. Just because mother was not pregnant she thought that Keresenzia was not pregnant. These people think that because they are eating a lot of food and having full stomachs, then everyone is eating and having full stomachs and no one is hungry.
You see some of them pushing their full stomachs to the front, others will be rubbing their full stomachs and others of some of them will be playing with their nice beards… all of them, they will be walking around telling everyone, and even telling the people that are dying with hunger, that no one is dying with hunger.
Propaganda – a symptom of denial
If another someone from another countries read our newspaper of the government, they will not understand why everyone like me and other people are running away to be going to living in another countries. They make the newspapers and the radio and TV to talk about nice things they see in some other countries. And they start saying things are very good in Zimbabwe.
They only just care that their stomachs get full, they don’t care that everyone is dying with hunger.