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One revolutionary bullet and a tank full of commandos for my mother

24 Nov 2017 at 07:01hrs | Views
I am suffocating and sick of crying and dying for fresher air. I died in May, June and July, last year, and died forever in a shallow swamp on April 18, 1983. Later on, I died in a river full of classic hypocrisy, elective rage and Stalinist brutalities. Still, I remain reluctant to suffer a timeless death and crash on the inside of this persecuted African soul.

I wish I could fake a bright smile, scratch an itchy pimple and stretch a cold limb for a few seconds. I wish I could blink an eyelid and sneeze uncontrollably. I wish I had a runny nose, cracked lips and a dry mouth.  I wish I could rub a little Vaseline Blue Seal on my food-starved skin.

I wish crackles of dissent could help me break free of this soundless freedom. Will I ever break loose of these impregnable walls I live in? It is a small, closed world I am lost in. So, I wonder: will this breathless and speechless existence I suffer, sustain this aching heart eternally?

I am dying for dear life and a ray of sun lit happiness to shine on me. I am dying to exhale a lung full of fresh Chimanimani air and roam the hills of Old Mutare again. I am dying in vain for hopeless cause and no effect. I am dying for commercial settlements, capitalist dogma and bags full of cash stocked in gold-plated wardrobes in banana land.

I am dying for casual comrades, black fist pumps, non-revolutionary pacifists and irrational aspiration. Brothers and sisters, I am dying for nothing significant and worth dying. So I will bleed through my ears, eyes and nose, and scream obscenities into the unknown tomorrows until I pass this black death.

I will slay the duplicitous devil with the sword of truthfulness and rage against fatal escapism on an Independence Day. I will picture this indignation with the passion of a passionless gravedigger. This is my 1979 moment. This is my Sekuru Kaguvi flow before the hangman fetches his rope. This is my Lookout Masuku move before the revolution dies in the hands of anti-African nationalists.  

I will miss this black Friday and a blacker Christmas and stumble in this dark den because of rich and powerful black men and women. I will die once again and no sane no body or tender soul will care for me and house me. I will shout black and bleed the colour of untrustworthy riches. I will hide my spots like a leopard in the bushes and walk like a gazelle under the sun when dawn breaks.  

I will die with the sounds of oriental disgrace drumming in my distressed eardrums. I will die with the determined distinction of a squirrel being chased by a pack of hounds in an exclusive and fenced hunt. I know the end is nigh. I know the end of this nightmare is nigh for the masters of black independent deception. So I will die in the heat of calm battle.

I will die like I never made it back home from Zambia in 1980. I will follow Herbert Chitepo. I will run after Josiah Tongogara. I will catch up with Jason Moyo. I will fly rough like Samora Machel and land in and in a hail of mystery. I will die at the hands of un-revolutionary punks.

I will live the next life like I never settled down and suckled on the fulsome glory of a blood-filled birth. I will die a slow, still and silent death, seconds before a long and lucrative life begins. I will miss the sound of the funk master when the DJ starts his nightshift.

I will die with tough pains slaying the tender flesh cushioned between my diseased and emaciated ribs. I will die with an unborn child kicking my rib cages. I will die with white hairs and pants soiled with wet aggression and smelly disgrace. I will die with both hands and feet tied and a mouth sealed with sellotape and government issued silver bullets.

So I miss home. I miss that little home of mine on the ancient hill. I miss the small, dilapidated village I call home. I miss the anthills on the savannah. I miss the diesel-smelling arrival of the 8 o'clock bus. I miss catching the morning sunshine behind the thatched silo.
I miss the trees, flowers and earth. I miss the feel of rough stones cracking my soles in the fatherless village I call home: I miss life.

I miss the whole family. I have nothing in this sad and sorrowful state I am tangled in. Yet I miss the days when I had nothing at all. I think death is easier to suffer than this flaccid agony. I shout in despair and wonder whether Amai can hear me in this revolutionary din.

I beat the earth with my fists of black fury and wonder whether Sekuru can hear me below the earth. Is he still in the Air Force? I pour a little liquor on the earth and wonder whether Vadzimu really exist. I wonder if they have the power to reverse a spent life because it is dark in here.

I can smell death around me. I can smell the foul stink of death lingering on my breath like a punch drunk Castle Lite addict. I can see lifeless and faceless ghosts wander in the Mashonaland Central darkness.

I see angels with without wings and prayers to share. I see homeless merchants from Rusape without wares to sell. I see motherless children from Gweru without breasts to suckle on. I see lost and trapped souls from Entumbane who cannot express emotions. So I should have stayed at home.

I should have stayed at home and listened to Mr Government Man on the radio. I should have listened to Mr Government Man on TV. I should have read the Czechoslovakian daily newspaper as fact. I should have read the Yugoslavian editorial as policy. I should have accepted the North Korean explanations and praises as reality. I should have worn Chinese-made blinkers and sat on my five-dollar chair all afternoon long and indulged in false independence obsessions.

But I chanced a short walk on a Friday and experienced a dreadful journey on the way to Pyongyang. See I left the house in a hurry. I only wanted to go to the grocery shops at the growth point. I only planned to buy a loaf of white bread, oily butter and Katiyo tea leaves. I only wanted to buy Sthembiso a few plain buns, a small bottle of Fanta and cheap red sweets.

I only meant to buy some boneless protein for supper: a small pack of sour milk. I only meant to get Nhlanhla something tasty for lunch: a packet of salty Kariba matemba. I only meant to see if Ma Khumalo, the old lady with the big, swollen legs, who lived at the end of Village Road, with her two orphaned grandchildren, was doing well. I only meant to see her smile that morning.

But I ended up in a strange and emotionless place where nobody speaks much and time moves in stock-still fashion. All of the leaves are grey, the brown grass never grows green and the greyish, murky waters never turn crystal clear. The forest is bare and the blackbirds sing sad, sad songs all day long, as the smelly Cairo air whistles through vilified black townships.

So I should have stayed at home that day. I should have hid under the bed and shut the ghostly wizards outside. Yet I took an instinctive walk. I lived life a little. I took the small path that meanders past the grocery shops in the hope nobody would see me.

But a young man in green fatigues yelled at me and called me over, and that is how this gruesome dance began. I could not understand him, and this incensed him. I told him that I was on the way to the shops.

I told him about the sweet angel who was waiting for her cheap sweets. I apologised for doing nothing and being that which I was: a black and unemployed African man. I apologised for being alive. I told him he was a brother of mine. I explained he was a son to me. I reached out to his African soul.

Yet it was black in there: I could see how his unstable character had stolen young, old and innocent lives. I could see the mothers whose lives he had disrupted and ended. I could see revulsion gather in the crooks of his scarred face. I could see senselessness camouflaged in his verbal inelegance. I could see the face of black absolutism.

So, I said a frantic prayer to God. I said a frenzied prayer to the African gods. I said a ridiculous prayer to the young god standing in my line of sight. And lastly, I muttered a quick, desperate prayer to the filthy spirits that wailed in the Egyptian winds. That is when the dance of considerable death began.

I dug a shallow grave. I dug an undignified grave. I dug a path to a blackish exit. I dug an end to a stunted existence. I sighed in desperation, regret and bitter resignation. I stood in the grave and wished all whom I had left at home a long, happy and fulfilling life. I hoped my little girl would not cry for her sweets that evening. I hoped she would not cry for me.

I prayed he would do it quickly. And yes, he did. He spared me the pain of death. I died without a struggle. I let go rather quickly. I let it be. Now, here I am. I see my son. I see him lost in Johannesburg.

I see him lost in London. I see him lost in Los Angeles. I see my daughter. I see she is lost in Bulawayo. I see my wife. She is alive, but I see that she died with me. I see my brother. He is happy, but I see how hungry he is for food and dignity. He is hopeful, but I see that he is ceaselessly miserable.

I see my country unified in astonishment. I see leopards attempting to hide their dark spots. I see lions dressed as shepherds. I see a flock of lambs wandering in the veld, happily lost, happily confused. See the storm clouds gather in the distance?

I see the sun failing to rise to the call of a new day. I see the old becoming the new. I see the strong acting weak. I see a celebration of physical enterprise. I see a celebration of planned theft. Who stole the future I had all along?

So bury me in a mound of cruelty and deep within the cries of pregnant women and unborn children. Bury the spears of subjugation and calculated autocracy in my bosom.

Bury me in the expediency of a revolution lost in a thrust for money and power. Bury me deep in the race for the best corner office in the land. So bury me in a five-dollar suit along with the real heroes. Bury me in a place where I can breathe life into my soul.

Source - Tafi Mhaka
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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