By Namandla Mpunganyi
So today I was eating “mazhanje”, when suddenly a flood of memories came rushing through my mind. I could vividly see my Dad entering the house through the kitchen door with his broad smile after a long day’s work. As he adjusts his spectacles, he holds a paper bag filled with mazhanje from town. He bought them from a street vendor. My mood is a jovial one as I run the tap by the sink and wash the fruit with running water. I’m looking out through the kitchen window and see and smell freshly fallen rain. Outside the grass is green and the vegetable leaves are wide and broad. My Mother prepares supper as my older brother humours us with the adventures of high school life and gospel music softly plays in the background in symphony with the birds outside.
Suddenly I’m teary as I have this flashback. No, it’s not that any of my family members is deceased or anything of that sought. But I miss it all. The scene I just described is something I’m afraid my 4year old brother will never get to witness, cause my Father, the man with.the broad smile doesn’t work in the country anymore. Not because thats what he wants or chose, but because it was the only way to keep food on our table. I’m tearing up even as I type this, cause I feel robbed. The search for a better, comfortable life has inevitably stolen his presence from us. It hurts, deeply. But again if he doesn’t, I would be talking of something else right now. I don’t know if it would have been possible to take us through high school and tertiary education. He is a provider, I applaud him for that and he is doing the best within his capacity to see to it that his family is well taken care off.
Now he’s not an uneducated man. In fact I’ve never seen anyone with as many academic certificates as this man does in my whole life. Going through his large pile of certificates and.qualifications is a full day’s work in itself.. And yet he couldn’t find a job that would pay him well in our country. So now he works and lives in a country so many miles away that he has to take up to 2 and sometimes 3 flights, doing a job, that he loves but doesn’t have the most condusive of environments, taking a way below average pay, living all alone and all this amidst a war, when he could be living in the most peace loving country I have ever seen.
Our life was never easy per say, but it was manageable and comfortable enough. None of us can deny that we would love to see him walk through the sitting room door each day, but sacrifices have had to be made, all because other people have been irresponsible. Irresponsible with the power that has been placed upon them and ruined people’s lives. At least I got to see my Father everyday for about 15/16 years of my life, but my lil brother only knows a Father who “VISITS” home. He has been robbed of the bestfriend and hero I got to have at his age. For me it felt like a little child who had her favourite stuffed toy snatched away from her. Replaced with a cute puppy, but only to realise that sadly, I was allergic to dogs and couldn’t play with it and had to only watch from afar.
No, my family is not the only one going through this, we are just one of many families. And for all we know, we have it easier than other families do but the point is, it hurts. I pray, yes I do, that a new Zimbabwe will arise whereby our children will not know the struggle of having to.sacrifice, forcibly, time away from home because of such economic hardships. I pray that the change we want actually does come along and we work collectively to see to it that it does. I pray that this time, we will not build sand castles in the air and that if by any chance we do, I pray that this time we shall not be silent for 37 years.