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First pages

CHAPTER 1

My patience with Grade One pupils was on the wane. They continued their protests of unwillingness to attend school up to the fourth day. We had exhausted all attempts to pacify the endlessly sobbing youngsters. We had bribed them with sweets and berries but none seemed to work. Our journey to school was taking longer than usual as we continued to baby-sit them. I loathed my responsibility as a dependable mature Grade Seven pupil. These young pupils were oblivious of a major event that was bothering us. The leaflets still hung on the trees, and littered the ground… a stark reminder of how they were distributed by the low flying helicopter. The fearsome rumble which almost wiped the entire village. We had scurried for safety under the trees, logs or anything that could have covered our heads. Banda, one of our elders was paralysed with fear that he easily conformed himself under a two legged wooden bench and transformed it into a suitable hiding place.

The print on the leaflets was very clear black ink on white paper, easily readable graphic details of how the abducted Manama Secondary School students were being ill-treated by their commanders in the Zambian terrorist camps…That was just few days ago. Small as the leaflets were but the story was of enormous turmoil of what happened to those who got carried away to join the ‘terrorists.’ The youngsters were cartooned as a bad comedy of miserably skinny and malnourished soldiers carrying AK-47 rifles which measured up to their heights. The main picture was of the obese commanders who sat around the table full of food, munching to their fill. They had baobab waists which had huge belts around them. The belts also secured shotguns which were shoved into the minimal space on their plump sides. Some of the starving youths were under the table scrambling and fighting like jackals to eat what fell from the table. On the other corner of the cartoon were painfully thin youth guards carrying the AK-47’s. They resembled scarecrows. Their trousers were reinforced by draw-strings to compensate for their non-existent waists. They had awkward postures which inclined towards the arm that carried the guns. Most were bare-footed and that was an enhancement to the three-quarter length military trousers which were decorated with patch-work all over. Those who were fortunate to have footwear, the toes stuck out as the boots could not accommodate their big feet. They resembled clothed skeletons. It was a very traumatic message which made our parents very angry with the terrorists and their leaders.

‘Why can’t these terrorists breed their own children and leave our children alone?’ One of the men fumed as he read and understood what the pictured message informed them. The elders had strictly warned us not to entertain these corrupt minded criminals who were going to ruin our lives. They confirmed that the government was trying to help the ignorant population who did not know what life was like across the borders of Rhodesia. Who would have left a country that was abounded with nourishment and choose to be enslaved and impoverished by the terrorists? These criminals preyed on the vulnerable and immature scholars who had no idea about life at all, the elders had realised.

My mind was pre-occupied about the abduction of the unfortunate Manama students just few kilometres from Gwanda town, they did not spare the younger ones who were of my age. It was evident that the terrorist were moving at fast pace. But how could they abduct the whole school and travel all the way to cross the border undetected? These criminals must have been of alien origin, maybe zombies. There was no explanation to this, the security office was baffled too. I had a strong feeling we were next. We had adopted safety in numbers and moved in large groups. Playing on the way to and from school had since stopped.

The small path from Mtshazo village to Mtshabezi Primary school was through the grassy plains. It meandered clear of the Nkume hill, went under the large marula trees. The aroma of the marula fruits lingered in the air and seriously tempted us. We were strictly forbidden to eat the succulent ripe marula fruits due to the sinister danger of the large slippery stone which always had success in obstructing one’s airway. However there was an alternative of sweet berries at the foot of Nkume hill but that was not feasible either, we dared not think about it altogether. Nkume hill was strictly out of bounds and none of us dared go near it. As we approached the dreaded hill, my heart was pounding. That was the time when all the noise stopped and our ears were inclined towards the hill so as to pick up any sounds that emanated from it. The Grade One youngsters did not seem to get the whole concept of looming danger.

They continued to protest and threw tantrums crying for their mums, sore feet, tummy aches and other ailments which could have assisted them with an excuse to go back home and not attend school. I was at the end of my tether. Trying to keep them quiet became a more volatile situation as they cried even louder. My thoughts were thrown into disarray when Zee suddenly stopped leading the group.

‘Did you hear that? It’s coming from the bushes near the hill.’ Zee said looking in all directions. My heart missed a beat. ‘It must be Binya coming.’ He said lowering his voice.

‘Who’s Binya?’ One of the young girls asked wiping off her tears so as to visualise more clearly.

‘Don’t mention that name!’ Anele hissed.

‘Didn’t your mother tell you about him…? He’s a huge man who lives somewhere in the caves deep down in that huge hill, he chases women and children… if he catches you, I don’t know, maybe make tasty biltong out of you!’ Zee heeded Anele’s reproach and lowered his voice to a whisper.

‘He does not like his name mentioned, he’s got sharp ears to hear even the slightest sound. He does not comb or cut his hair which is tangled up, full of grass bits, leaves and tiny insects. He’s got big red eyes like this.’ Zee popped out his eyes and went on, ‘He carries a very big sharp knife.’ The children gasped in fear and huddled towards me and Anele. They increased their pace. Dudu my younger sister joined them.

‘Zee will you shut up!’ I yelled at him. I also did not want to be told about Binya especially near his surroundings. Zee could not be silenced.

‘You wanted these silly Grade Ones to continue with their crying and cause trouble for us, I better start running just in case Binya has woken up.’ Zee broke into a sprint and the Grade Ones followed in flight for their survival. I also joined them as I was worried about falling prey to Binya or being abducted by terrorists and frogmarched to a strange world only to be treated like those unfortunate Manama students. Unbeknown to us that the events of the decade were slowly unfolding. We approached the school gates panting short of breath. Despite being on time something was not right at our school. The bell did not ring to mark the start of our day…

The days that preluded this particular one were still fresh in my mind. I remember the shock in my mother’s eyes when she heard from the evening news that a state of emergency had been declared. That had come with a fatal sting of a six to six curfew. The following day the headman called all the villagers and told them of the new changes which were going to happen at our peaceful habitat. The list was very long but we were given the major rules which were more relevant to us. Anybody above eighteen years of age was to carry a national identification card which had a name, number, address, the name of their headman and chief on it. The men had protested violently, but more was yet to come. They were given a week to obtain those ID’s from the offices in Gwanda, after that if the police came checking for ID’s and if one was not in possession, they were liable to a huge fine, imprisonment or worse, being shot and killed. I felt as if we were placed under a microscope. This was not good news as most of the men in the village had had an opportunity to visit the prison as punishment for crimes such as allowing their animals to wander into the white man’s farm or failure to address a white man or his little son as ‘Baas’. Prison was loathed by all who had first-hand experience and those who simply heard the horrifying stories. They decided to conform to the laws.

The headman continued with the shocking list of new laws, all visitors in the area had to be reported to him. The curfew was understandably sunset to sunrise and those who chose not to comply risked being shot and killed on sight. This was a strategy to crush the terrorists who favoured moving during the night. These new laws also directly affected us the young ones as we had to report any person whom we thought did not belong to the area. Freedom became a thing of the past, we were being imprisoned in our own homes for the crimes we did not commit. School had to continue from eight till midday, all pupils had to leave the premises by then. There were increased police patrols in the area and most of the times they disrupted lessons with their endless questionings about our surroundings. Frustration became evident on the teachers and many left to teach in the city where these unreasonable laws did not exist.

In desolation the villagers became united in anger and despair. They fumed within themselves about these changes, wondering what type of government ruled them. The curfew was the most unwelcome of all the laws imposed on the community as they were not given any time to prepare for the calls of nature during the nights. The curfew only allowed fifty metres from one’s home for such purposes which meant that there was no privacy. The elders said that we had to learn how to live like the animals who were surrounded by their own excrement in the kraals. Dignity was shamefully compromised. The elders had no answers as to why we were being punished this way.

The villagers were still shaken about what was happening around us though life had continued more or less normal. The helicopter incident made it more apparent that we were on the verge of war in Rhodesia. The news from the radio stations reported that the terrorists’ hiding places were found in Mozambique and Zambia. The Rhodesian forces bombed the camps and they reported success in crushing the terrorists. The elders spoke openly though in low voices which had that kind of fear. The government reported that the terrorists who lived in the bush were killed on a daily basis.

There was anger and bitterness as our lives changed for the worst. The beer parties were also banned… It was a crime for three or more people to be seen together at any particular time and some had been shot and killed for not observing the laws. What made our situation even more unfortunate was that this war was mainly to be experienced by the rural population. I felt that the rural population was the least of the government’s problems because the city people lived a more developed life and there were no limitations to their lives.

The cities were very secure and protected as most of the whites lived there, they made them strongholds for their assets. There was an exodus of the rural population to the towns as a result. For most of the villagers, the rural home was their backbone and they opted to stay and hoped for survival through this war. The fact was that for most villagers there was no place for them in the city as they had no means of income. Life in the city was very complicated and intimidating to the rural people. There was so much overcrowding in the crime ridden high density suburbs which were strictly for black people. They hated the idea of living like circus animals. Those who remained in the rural area vowed to fight like their ancestors.

As fragmented bits of information filtered through, I realised that this war was the worst ever in our lifetime. I feared for my life and my family. The only news on the radio was about the conflict between the government forces and the terrorists. This war was some form of a rebellion against our Rhodesian government by the black people of Rhodesia who claimed that the country belonged to them and so the whites must hand it back. I was very confused because our history books clearly stated that the previous occupants of the country had been defeated by the whites and that King Lobengula himself had signed papers which allowed these white people to stay as they brought civilisation. Why then this change of mind?

I was very negative about going back to those dark ages I had read about. The days when women were classified as children, and had no voice to say what pertained to them. No choice or preference. Being married to an old man at a very young age just because he had many cows… To be the hundredth wife and be a human breeding machine! To toil in the fields from dawn till dusk and to be beaten up by your husband on a daily basis… What will happen to my education? How was I going to sit still and pretend all was right in this rotten outdated system? Why were our men treating women like trash? The women were also classified as children and had no voice. The women carried heavy loads with babies on their backs and all the men carried were sticks. Being the man of the family meant that one had best food and did no work at all. The whites treated their women well and never beat them up, neither did they humiliate them in public or degrade them.

The white women never shared their husbands either. The women did what they liked and they were happy and educated too…That was civilisation. I felt the whites were trying to liberate us by way of knowledge. Funnily the boys did not like school and they were not very intelligent like the girls. The boys were clumsy and wrote badly too! There was something I did not understand about the white people. They did not mix with us at all and if they happened to visit us, there had to be very special arrangements. They were aloof and proud, if their demands were not met someone had to suffer the consequences. They had fiery tempers too which meant that our elders were slapped, kicked or made to run around like idiots. There was not much freedom for us despite the limited education they emphasized. They made sure we understood what they said to us and we had to worship them like gods but not to live like them. Those who were educated worked in the white people’s kitchens and farms. Why then get educated to dig mud and clean a white-man’s house? A handful of our community were the teachers who advised us to be educated but there were limitations as to what one could do thereafter. I had realised that our education had some form of boundary maybe that’s the reason the boys did not put much effort, I guessed. Being educated was mainly to make the whites comfortable as we were taught to speak their language and be submissive towards them. But why…? I had no answers.

Our animals were not allowed to wander into the white owned farms which had plenty grass and water. Communal life was about sharing. To the white people sharing was not in their vocabulary. I remember the day when we played and forgot about the poor animals... They went straight to the huge farm and had a feast. The animals were rounded up into a secure kraal as my grandfather scavenged for money to pay for their release. The animals were not fed or watered, that took about a week and sadly he lost two cows which gave us milk. I remember my grandfather’s anguished cry, he cried like a woman. That was not a big deal to the owner of the farm, rules had to be followed and that was a lesson to all in the village.

As rumours spread like veld fire, I also gathered that those who fought this war were the young men who were trained as soldiers in other countries. School drop-outs or criminals maybe. They lived in the bush, mostly the rural areas…They must have hated the new ways of life in our present day. I felt cursed. Life in the rural areas was no piece of cake. I felt I was in danger every minute of my life. It was hard work to achieve or sustain even the most basic life’s necessity. In the city it was very different, the women went to work and they had their own money to buy what they liked. I felt that one day I would summon my strength and question my mother why she chose to make a home for us in such a place.

In our rural area we had the formidable monster. Binya he was called. He roamed the jungle, made our day to day work almost impossible. Collecting fire wood and animals was always unlikeable and fearsome. Binya moved alone, stayed in the bush and surprisingly he was no threat to the white men. The terrorists carried guns and the leaflets stated that they forced villagers to cook for them as they were always hungry.

The helicopter had distributed the leaflets in style and sent the whole village scurrying for their lives. This was to emphasize the ruthless punishment for those who sympathised with these notorious criminals. In short, if the instructions on the leaflets were not adhered to, the punishment was death for the terrorists and those who supported them. I did not understand why the authorities did not move us to some safe place in town so that they crushed these criminals. Was this a plan to eliminate us so that they created even more farms for themselves in the area?

In as much as the villagers wished to comply, there was a problem… How were they going to challenge these criminals as all they had to defend themselves with were knobkerries and farming hand tools? These criminals were trained terrorists and they might have had some kind of intelligence so as to survive in the bush alongside Binya. Surely the terrorist chose the rural area as there were not many men to challenge them, just old ailing men, women and children.

Our geographical location further placed us in a precarious situation as our homesteads were along the main Gwanda road. There was not much of a bush, only sparse shrubs and the ground was a semi-desert. The villagers had decided to increase the number of their weapons so as to tackle these notorious people. It soon became the norm to see men carving big clubs or sharpening knives, axes or anything that they possessed. I remember the terrifying details of how they were going to tackle the terrorists. I overheard one of the elders telling the others to give it up as they were no match to these people carrying guns. A heated argument ensued between Dube and Moyo.

‘Dube, if you don’t want to be part of this, you can join the other cowards and go to the city!’ Moyo exploded in anger.

‘Before you think of lifting that heavy club, they would have probably decorated your body with bullet holes, do you know how quick that happens? Ask me, I worked in the farm shooting animals with Baas.’ Dube tried to explain.

‘In that case the DA should give us guns...’ Banda suggested.

‘Of all the people, you Banda carrying a gun? Remember that day when the helicopter visited us, took three of us to untangle you from under my bench, you still have not repaired it!’ Dube reminded his friends about the helicopter incident. The three men laughed uncontrollably.

‘I wonder how you managed to fold yourself to that size without breaking any bones, even a toddler couldn’t have got under that bench!’ Dube said trying to catch his breath. Dube was a retired teacher and he seemed to know what the war was all about but preferred to keep his mouth shut just in case he was reported to the police. ‘Did you read those leaflets, it clearly states that the terrorists are black Rhodesian young men who cross the borders for training and then they return to fight the government.’ Dube sensitised his friends. ‘The war did not start yesterday, remember those strikes, arrests and beatings?’ They all fell silent, then Moyo got up brushed his bottom with his hands, a small cloud of dust and grass particles filled the air around them.

Moyo thanked my mother for the tea then announced his abrupt departure. Clearly he did not want to be part of this sensitive topic. The two men followed but went different directions as soon as they came out of the wooden gate of my home. As I collected the teapot and cups I realised that all the the cups had some tea in them. The large teapot was still half full. I wondered why they had left so quickly that day. The three men seemed to like my home so much but I could not figure out why. I thought maybe it was the tea and sweet potatoes which my mother used to spoil them with especially when they came from ploughing their fields at mid-morning.

‘How come you have not finished washing Nana’s clothes? Have you been listening to adult conversation…?’ My mother was about to tell me off when suddenly my little baby sister cried announcing that she was awake and starving. I quickly put the tiny baby clothes on the line admiring the softness, then I started to help prepare for our lunch. Lulu my younger sister was at pre-school age, she helped with washing the dishes but had not mastered how to handle the big pots which were laden with thick coats of soot.

Zee approached from his home with a loud din of clanging cans in his wheel-barrow. He was going to fetch water. It then came to my mind that I had used almost all the water washing baby’s clothes. I picked up an empty can and joined Zee to the well which was a few metres from my home. The well was a life saver as it provided clean water and we had since stopped drinking water which was flavoured with a stench of donkey urine and animal droppings. The previous water-hole had been dug by men in the village. It was also a breeding place for the lethal mosquitoes, worms and frogs. Some worms caused serious diseases but some were just but a common nuisance to the back passage. Any animal disease became ours too as the water was the ideal transport. Our village had ranked a high score in communicable diseases and as a result the government decided to sink a well. Many women liked the water from that well because it was more palatable than the contents of other wells.

Anele joined us to fetch water. The two boys lived on either side of my home and our homes were meticulously plotted in a straight line as instructed by the Tribal Trust Land authority. The two boys were like brothers to me and they treated me as their sister. The whole community was like a big family and we had very close relation to each other. We had fights too like any other family.

After lunch I shared a bath with my sisters and then we played a plastic ball while we waited for baba to drop us some fresh food from the city. He was employed by the popular Super Godlwayo Express bus company. The bus always came late in the afternoons and was usually overloaded. It spewed thick smoke as it tore through the village on its way to Gwanda or beyond. I had a feeling that it might not be him driving on that day since his bus came very late that morning from Gwanda after it had suffered numerous breakdowns. Baba had asked my mother to give him some of her old pantyhose which made a good substitute to fix the part that had broken within the engine. His hands and clothes were always greasy as he had to sort out problems which arose during the course of his duty.

We heard the sound of the bus as it neared Mtshazo store. When it stopped, we heard another bus sound which was going at much faster speed. Mother came out of her bedroom and advised us to stay by the gate because the buses were chasing each other. That was the norm for the bus drivers to fight over customers. Super Godlwayo approached at high speed and the driver sounded the horn continuously, my mother asked me to hold Nana as she hurried towards the bus. It did not stop but three plastic bags were hurled out through the driver’s window as it continued speeding. A thick dust engulfed the bus as it zoomed past. Phelandaba bus dangerously ploughed through the billowing cloud of dust shortly after. The red bus, was not popular to the villagers as it ran over livestock and their crew was very rude to customers.

We went to pick up our grocery as mum seethed in anger. The four loaves of bread were scattered far apart but that was no big deal as they were still intact, we dusted the sand off the unwrapped loaves and picked up the rest. At least we were going to have a decent breakfast in the morning. The grocery which father sent was very basic, consisted of two loaves of bread, margarine, beef, cabbage and a letter to mum. Very rarely there was sugar or tea leaves. By the time mum finished reading the letter, we had devoured almost half a loaf. We had to scrounge for missing items from our neighbours especially Anele’s home in order to have a more reasonable meal.

We appreciated the easy accessibility to the bus stop as some had to travel long distances in order to board the bus. Travelling by bus was very undignified and humiliating for both young and old. The bus conductors had no time for their customers to get comfortable on their seats…If they had been lucky to find one. The seats were creaky metal structures which were designed for discomfort for those who chose that kind of luxury. On getting into the bus only one foot secured one’s position, the conductor quickly whistled for the bus to proceed and he would jam the passenger on their bottom with his knee shoving them forward as he closed the door.

There was nothing like respect for the reserved members of our society, the bus conductor continued shoving the passenger up the steps until they stumbled about along the crowded aisle disturbing the chickens which were also on board. Looking for somewhere to perch was not as straightforward as they had to be steady in order to manoeuvre the cramped space. The bus swerved dangerously to avoid the craters along the road. The bumpy ride further complicated the task when the bus screeched to a stop to allow the stubborn donkey or cattle to cross the road. That was the time when the respectable man of the village would land uninvited onto the lap of his neighbour’s wife. The journeys to the city were strictly for major reasons. If one complained, they never reached their destination as they were chucked out of the bus when it made its next stop. The buses were always full and at times the men were made to sit on the roof of the bus with the luggage. Anything and everything was carried by the bus, bags of maize, goats, dogs, furniture, bicycles, chickens, building material, beer or paraffin.

Zee and Anele always made fun of the bus conductors because most of them went as far as fifth grade. All they knew was to scribble the names of bus stops on the tickets. Their other qualifications included the ability to whistle and carry heavy loads up to the top of the bus. The bus was their place of work and home too. Zee and Anele encouraged each other so that they had better work opportunities besides to be bus conductors, farm or kitchen workers.

We were so excited to be Grade Seven pupils at the famous Mtshabezi Mission Primary School when school opened. At the same time our dreams for the future were slowly being thwarted by the recent events which were unfolding. I did not want to think about what was going to happen to us when war actually presented in our village. My heart sank and I could feel it pounding fast when I imagined all what could possibly happen in a war. I only read about the Zulu wars and how our ancestors were brutally defeated by the white settlers who had more advanced weaponry. Surely I did not want to be part of that occurrence even if it meant that the terrorists would be defeated.

I also wondered what would happen to my school during all these hub of activities which involved chasing one another and probably killings. I dreaded the thought of being a school drop-out. War was about killing and death, the women and children died in all the wars I read about. I was not immune to dying at this early age, before I grew up to be an adult, work and have a better life. Surely there must have been a way out of this. I did not understand why my mother did not initiate a plan of getting us to the city like those who had means to. We had a two roomed house in Bulawayo which was standard accommodation in the high density suburbs. It then came to my mind that my mother was just a woman too who waited on my father to make decisions for her.

I never shared these thoughts with Zee and Anele, I just wondered what they thought about the war. Zee and Anele did not show their concerns but they must have worried too. For them it was consoling that we stayed together until the war was over.

Zee was slightly taller than Anele. He never ran short of stories good or bad, we relied on him most of the time about the latest developments in the area and about the war. Zee was the only son and both his parents worked in a farm near Bulawayo. His mother had suffered numerous miscarriages before he was born. He was raised by his grandmother MaGasela since he was nine months old.

The white farmer had no provisions for black families in his premises. When Zee was born his mother had to choose between work and the baby. The situation did not help as MaGasela depended on them for survival, so she offered to look after Zee. Zee’s upbringing was a bit tricky as he had to contend with the brutality of his twin uncles who were jealous of the attention Zee got from his gran. He was a special baby as it was evident that his mother was not going to have any children.

I had a common past experience too like Zee, being raised by a gran. I remembered the unpleasant situations I went through before my parents built a home for us. My gran had so many grandchildren who were dumped onto her care by our aunties and uncles who worked in the towns, farms or mines. Food was never enough and my gran had her favourable last born daughter who was treated like a princess. I used to have warm treatment by my great gran. I remembered how she protected us from harsh discipline which seemed to be the order of our lives at my gran’s place. In deep sadness I recall the day when my great gran announced that her time to join her ancestors had come. All the family were promptly summoned to come and bid her farewell. There was a big party and she chose a cow that was to be slaughtered. The skin was given to her as she was going to take it with her when she departed. My great gran used special oils to soften the skin and kept it neatly folded.

My great gran’s age had never been an incapacity for her, she walked upright with no support and worked just as my gran did. She had good memory, full set of pearl teeth which were brushed by a chewed small branch of tree. She wore her traditional hairstyle which was groomed by a special slimy ground creeping herb. Her food was cooked by mud pots. She used wooden spoons as her cutlery. Her kitchen had all assortments of wooden and mud utensils. She pounded her maize meal. She hated the metal or glass utensils because she thought they brought disease. She used her grinding stone and she taught us how to grind seeds or grain. She had amazing stories about how the white people came to southern Africa.

‘These strange evil visitors from far-away lands came floating on a bark of a tree and their visit never ended.’ She vented her anger. She also called them the people with no knees. Great gran told us the story when Chaka the Zulu king invited them to a feast. The white people ate, drank, felt relaxed about the special treatment. Chaka suddenly issued an order to his ruthless army to kill the white witches. They all perished. She lamented the day when Chaka was murdered by his own brothers. Ruthless as Chaka was, the white visitors were not going to stay she believed.

‘This country shall be ruled by birds and you will all regret this.’ He said to the men who plunged spears into his body. Great gran taught us a song that the Ndebele sang about his murder. She narrated the fascinating story of how Mzilikazi and his small clan fled from Chaka and settled in the land of the Shona people. She was also angry as to why king Lobengula made peace with the white visitors and allowed them to weaken the Ndebele warriors. The strong kingdom then fell apart because the Ndebele men had become weak like women. That was true in the actual sense that all the men had left their homes in the rural areas and they wanted to be slaves of the visitors and eat strange foods of the white people.

My great gran had fiercely refused to show kindness to the white people. She said they were our enemies. She did not want us to go to school because she feared they poisoned our minds and school prevented us from learning from our elders. She provided shelter for us on the days when we did not want to go school. On those days she tried her best to open up our little minds with her stories and teachings.

There were so many of us and my grandmother had her favourable ones. There were mostly my aunt’s children because my aunts came with different men all the time they visited her. To win her heart they came with loads of goods for her. My great gran was not in good terms with her daughter-in-law as a result. My grandfather also took advantage of the situation and defended my aunts as the customs had changed from the old days. He became a very rich man due to the lobola which the different men paid on many occasions. He had many cows. My father was not their best when he visited as he came with just the basics, as a result I was picked upon and mistreated or ridiculed due to the fact that I was an off-spring of a poor man.

When Zee’s uncles bullied him I was his shoulder to cry on. I had a lot in common with Zee. Anele had no idea of such suffering as he grew up in a stable and secure family.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

A qualified nurse, wife and mother. Presently resident in UK. Born in Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), grew up in the harsh, semiarid rural area of Gwanda. Had first hand experience of the liberation struggle which transitioned Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. Works in Zimbabwe with the rural community to improve living conditions. A woman who is proud of her origin, very passionate about natural conservation and aims to see her country prosper.

Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
For the younger people to have coping strategy when they face social life changing situations. Also those more mature to teach and empower the youth so that there is continuity of a more resourceful human race.

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