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Zimbabwe’s drums of war

By Delight Magora

BORN on April 18, 1980 and never smelt gunfire. Never had to go 10 days without a morsel in chapping mouth while running away from white soldiers and equally dreading a

n encounter with the black comrades that may result in you feasting on your own ears and for being a sellout. Never felt UDI and the threat never to be free in a thousand years.

Never been bogged down by having your father, grandfather, uncle and brother indiscriminately called “boy”. Never had to live in a reserve. Never felt the pain of watching plush living through the pained eye of the housemaid’s son. Never been so close yet so far from a good education deprived you because of skin pigmentation. Opportunity robbed from your fate by thieving racism.

Never had to be scolded simply for being black. Never been hurled in the courts for belonging to a political party whose members think in a way that threatens law and order which only exists as defined and lived by a few elitist group of numbskulls who believe themselves to be next to God and second Emmanuels with their father’s given right to tyranise the guiltless in the name of civilisation.

Never had 230 volts of electricity greeting your genitals for being caught boarding a bus with a brand new pair of jeans since it becomes obvious they are destined for the terrorists as uniform. Never had to ululate and cheer as your aunt is bludgeoned to a texture-less pulp of bloodied flesh and bones for being a witch. Never had to be called back to the home you cannot return to as your father loses his mind after “they” burnt down the village and forced him to walk through the whole village naked because he did not have any beasts for the comrades to slaughter. Never, never, never

But wait comrade; you forget I have seen and have experienced. I have seen my neighbours having their property tossed out of their own home after being labelled “madzakustaku” in the early eighties. And I, all of three years old being “Kadzakustaku” and being threatened with horrible punishments if I did not divulge my neighbours’ hideout.

I have seen and I have experienced being woken up at 4am at 10 years old to join the already two-kilometre long bread queue. I have experienced the five-hour wait to be served only to be told that without four eggs for every loaf no bread purchases were possible. I have indeed seen the young pregnant school teacher hammered to death with a shovel for voting no.

I have seen the guiltless rural nurse raped by a gang of deranged warriors of the Third Chimurenga who believe everyone who does not support the party in power is a white puppet, a condom of the white man and a justified target of any act of pure unadulterated evil. I have seen the moral decadence of the state soldier who forces the drunkard to rape the prostitute without a condom in the public beer hall with hundreds of revelers forced to cheer on.

More alarmingly I have seen countless friends and neighbours being brutally attacked for coming home after seven, wearing anything red or for walking in pairs. I have seen army tanks being brought into the townships and heavily armed men going from door-to-door beating everyone senseless because of a simple demonstration in the neighbourhood. I have seen whole families bashed for belonging to an unfashionable party.

How dare one fawn upon and call life after 1980 smooth sailing? War did not end in 1980 unless you have a very shallow perception of war and have the same screwed up brain cell that causes some people to believe that they own a struggle; that the very notion of struggle should be construed to mean what went on in the 1970s. Without doubt we all have a profound respect for the real warrior of the liberation. The nameless faceless individual lying in some shallow grave in Mozambique or Zambia. The guy who dropped out of school to fight for his beliefs without ever hoping to occupy a seat in parliament or to be driven in a state Mercedes.

The very same principles of discrimination that treated the average man like an animal which made most people take up arms are being reintroduced into our society by the same people who purport to have fought to dislodge these principles of discrimination. To make it worse my opinion of evil and instruments of oppression are now being rebranded and being given nice-sounding accolades like protection of sovereignty, Posa, etc.

The founding murders of the Zimbabwe’s future have been lavished with all imaginable luxury from the ailing coffers of a bankrupt economy while the raped taxpayer continues unable to afford a loaf of bread, let alone butter. What difference is there between someone who sells you out to an enemy bent on killing you for what seems to be nothing more than sport and someone who mismanages the economy of close to 15 million innocent victims of arrogance?

Can anyone really distinguish between the hunger suffered by a group of villagers in 1976 when they were prevented from farming for sustenance by a raging war and the hunger of someone who owns 10 hectares of land and is still unable to afford to put a single meal on the table for days on end?

Indeed the war is still being fought but on a different battlefield and with a rather ambiguous enemy. Who really are we to fight to get food? Tony Blair? George Bush? The Queen? Robert Mugabe? Zanu PF or MDC? Frankly I do not particularly care. What I am concerned with most is providing for my family, kith and kin and whoever stops me from doing that is my enemy and the war is that of survival. It matters not who hinders my life, be it Blair, Bush, His Excellency or Her Majesty I will battle tooth and nail to secure the dignity of my peers and their right to eat.

If your struggle is to make me and mine suffer, then I accept that as an open declaration of hostilities and you can feel free to label me an enemy of your struggle. What struggle is it that is fought to inflict pain and suffering on your own people? My concern begins and ends with the man devoid of power and wealth. Someone who just wants to see his children grow up educated and able to fend for themselves and their own families. A person not particularly concerned about who occupies what seat in which state house.

You may be wondering who or what I am and whom I am affiliated with. Ladies and gentlemen I am simply that spirit in every individual that refuses to accept or support slogans. It makes no difference to me what promises and lies you whisper ever so softly to my ear. All I am concerned with at the end of the day is results.

Delight Magora is a Harare-based writer.

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