I was about to leave after a three-day bingeing spree at my nephew’s house in Budiriro when his neighbour alerted us to the presence of “visitors” at the gate.
On investigating, we saw a young lass sitting between two elderly women, with an old, dirty and torn bag within range.
Her head was covered by a quilt.
The “visitors” did not care to greet us.
One did not need special glasses to see that these people were in a no-nonsense mood.
Their faces resembled an unweeded garden while their demeanour showed they were playing out a well-choreographed script.
“Is this where Billy lives?” they asked.
Once we affirmed, the elderly women rose and purred: “We have brought his wife. If he has any questions, we shall meet in court.”
They left and never looked back, literally.
We could actually see them fading into the distance as they disappeared into the night.
As this drama was unfolding, Billy had locked himself in his bedroom pondering the next move since he was jobless.
There was nothing left to do except to usher the young girl into the house as reality slowly sank in that Billy had joined the married men’s band.
“Ndiko kukura muzukuru. Sadza rawanda (Man up this is a sign of maturity),” I assured him, but the damage had already been done.
Gentle reader, the indefinite coronavirus-induced lockdown Zimbabwe is wading through has brought to the fore immense social and economic realities no one would have ever noticed in normal times.
The realities are shared and as universal as death.
In communities in which we live, girls of various ages, shapes and sizes are eloping daily.
People generally have very little to do and what is happening in the ghetto is astounding.
Apart from eloping, rap_e cases and innumerable petty crimes have become commonplace.
“This lockdown is proving to be preg_nant with lessons. A lot of things are happening in a way that could help create storylines for films and novels. We are learning a lot during this coronavirus period,” an elderly man who sells firewood in Kuwadzana told this writer.
“Children are now getting to know some of the underhand dealings done by their parents because there is nowhere to hide.”
There is an unprecedented surge in domestic violence cases.
This is as a result of infidelity, poor communication and arguments over how to share scarce resources like money.
There are fights everywhere as couples fail to handle the pressure that comes with staying at home and balancing this with an empty stewpot.
Marriages are now worse than war zones.
As I commit my loud pen to paper gentle reader, this lockdown generally means people are having to stay more at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and this has caused a lot of tensions between landlords and their tenants.
Landlords were used to spending the better part of the day alone, but now because tenants are not going to work, there is a lot of friction.
“I wish this lockdown ends fast. Ever since I stopped going to work, my landlord is always coming with all sorts of accusations.
“She follows my children to the toilet and complains that they are messing the bathroom.
“She is always complaining about electricity usage. Most of these things never really happened when I would spend the day at work,” a Hillside lodger confided in this writer.
People somehow need each other, but they simply cannot stay together under one roof without problems.
There are a lot of misunderstandings that have cropped up as a result of the current lockdown. This has seen some parties visiting the police for redress.
The Rent Board, which handles queries between landlords and their tenants, has not been spared.
Some unfair evictions are taking place countrywide because people are now generally staying together for a long time.
There are also cases of spouse-snatching between landlords and their tenants.
Communities are being plagued by bad things that are happening under the cover of the lockdown.
Given that water is scarce in most communities, people are endlessly brawling at boreholes.
At home, people are also fighting over using water as those who do not want to fetch it are those who use it the most.
Burglaries are also on the increase. It is now almost unusual to wake up in the ghetto and not hear stories of someone’s car and home having been broken into.
People are stealing big time.
I personally saw a woman being forced to eat raw vegetables in Glen Norah after being caught stealing from someone’s garden. This lockdown is more than an action-packed drama series.
- Ghetto Whispers – Mutakati