I really enjoyed that time. After removing all the maize from the fields we started to removing the maize from the cob. You know, shelling. So every night everyone will sit around the fire with big bowls where to put the shelled maize. When we were doing this, we were always talking stories, nice stories, and roasting peanuts or maize that was not very very dry. And sometimes we played riddles. My sister was always the person who was winning the riddles games all the time. My biggest brother and mother, they had many folk tales to tell us.
My best ones are those ones about rabbit and baboon. Rabbit was a very clever person. One day I will tell you the one about rabbit and tortoise and the well. Grandmother had many stories to talk, but the one she liked to talk many many times was about when grandmother and grandfather they were building the big house.
History of grandma’s house
Do you know that they did not have a well, and so they walked to the river with wheelbarrows to get water for the builders to mix with cement and sand for building. The river is a long distance from our house. Many times grandmother talked about how the two of them, grandmother and grandfather, worked alone without anyone helping them. All her children were busy enjoying life and forgetting to help. No one even could send money to buy cement or food to cook for the builders. No one. Not even father. Everyone was too busy drinking beer and getting married.
At another sometimes when mother was sitting with us after finishing to wash the plates, grandmother said in her story that the only person who came to help was mother. She said mother was pregnant and about to have a baby, and grandmother was always telling her to rest, but mother could not listen. She was there, pushing the wheelbarrow all the way to the river and coming back with containers full of water. And after that she did not sit down. She will start cooking for everyone. It was a very hard job.
And some other sometimes when father was there, grandmother said that father would come home every weekend. And he did not come touching nothing in his hands, he was always bringing meat to be cooked for the builders and more bags of cement. Grandmother did not know how father carried all those things alone. And then every Saturday and Sunday, father will buy a lot of beer and call his friends, and him and his friends will push wheelbarrows to the river to get water. And they made all the women, grandmother and mother, to rest while they were working. And on Sunday, father and his friends will fill many drums with water so that mother and grandmother did not have to go to the river to get water any day of the week. Maybe sometimes the water was finishing on Thursday afternoon or on Friday. Father and his friends, they were working very hard.
At other sometimes when someone had sent grandmother money from town for her to eat, grandmother changed the story of the building of the house and said that this person is the only one…
I don’t know who really did anything to build the house and who did not do anything. The stories are too many.
Here in Jozi, we know that it is ANC and other people who brought freedom. Even white people too. Many people did not like the apartheid. Even the British people.
But in Zimbabwe we don’t know who did what and who did not. Sometimes you hear them saying this person was a soldier fighting for independence, and next time you hear them saying it is lies, that person did not do anything he was busy stealing women’s clothes. Sometimes they say this person was there when the war started, and then tomorrow they say that person was not there. If they like you today, they say you are a war vet (if you were a baby, they say you were fighting the war in your mother’s stomach), and if they are angry because of you, they start saying that you were not there. And they blame you for bad things that happened.
The only person who was fighting the war is the president. Even when he was living in Ghana, he was shooting the soldiers of Rhodesia from there. And even when he was in jail, he was shooting the soldiers from there.