When They Die Young: Inspired by the death of Neil Mutyora

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Members-of-the-public-carry-a-child-into-an-ambulance-after-he-was-knocked-down-by-a-commuter-omnibus-fleeing-from-police-at-the-corner-of-Kwame-Nkrumah-and-Chinhoyi-st-yesterday

It’s as if I have held you in my arms
In this, your short life,
But someone snatched you from me
Because I wanted you to see the sun
I wanted you to hold the dream
And not to chase the wind
Like a baton wielding policeman

When They Die Young(title taken from Levi Kabwato’s short story) inspired by Aaron Ufumeli’s picture in Newsday

Poem by Ethel Kabwato

I wanted you to keep the faith
And the trust deep in your heart
And see your tomorrows laid out
Before you because you were the future
…and not dice with death like the touts
Whose lives have become a breeding ground
for corruption, illicit drink and marijuana
Maybe I thought I held you,
My brief candle, in my hands
But someone sold their souls
To the devil for 20 dollars
And you, in your innocence
Thought the baton stick
Was meant to protect you
From thieves and murderers
You, with the trust in your heart
Thought the driver was there
To carry you to a place
Far, far away from the madding crowd
At corner Chinhoyi and Kwame Nkurumah street
We have been there too, son,
We can’t say we’ve seen it all…
Long after we have lowered
Your lifeless body six feet down
Another bribe will change hands,
As we seek justification for smashed windscreens
Maybe someone’s mother
Will not live to see Mother’s day
Because, sonny, we are no longer safe
On our roads
Someone has robbed you off
The beauty of not seeing
The day of the African child.
Eight days after Independence, sonny,
After all the speeches have been made,
After being reminded of the wars
You didn’t fight
And of the freedom
You, a born free
Should be grateful for
You thought you had it all,
You stepped out in an empowered style
On a road named after the father
Of African unity
(…how could I warn you son, that there are those among us who think they own the streets and the pavements…)
…how could I warn you, as they snatched
Your little life that no one cares?
…how could I tell you that
On the indigenized streets of Harare
What belongs to Caesar is not Caesar’s?
Someone sold his soul to the devil
To snatch yours…
Like those taken before you…
You remain without a name…
Rest in peace, son.

Ethel Irene Kabwato (24.04.14)

24 COMMENTS

  1. Ko zvinogonzi imhosva ya Chihuri seyi ndiye here akati nyika iite ma kombi? These kombis should be banned.

      • Maita , every grown up person including you is responsible for his/her actions.responsibility is never transferable .lets not protect or sympathise with criminal behaviour nekuti we hate mapurisa.if we do we are still going to die like rats because we are too sympathetic with these criminals.i have no faith in the police as well and i hate them at times but that does not mean i will love a person who breaks the law.one is responsible for ones actions irrigardles of excuses one might give us to justify ones actions.As a road user you know when told to STOP you stop .if you fail to you cant justify your criminal behaviour nekuti mapurisa haakushaire mhosva .stand up for what is right kana uri in the right why act like a person in the wrong why run .im not saying the police are saints in this But at the end of day atsika munhu ndiye auraya and you are responsible for that.and just a pice of advice a person is not an idiot just becuse you dont share the same view.

        • Terence i think in your own small world you reckon you are a genius but in my eyes you are nothing but an imbecile!The reason why the driver ran away in the first place is the cause of this little boy`s death.You act as if you live outside this country to know what they do.Go to corner cameroon ad albion street pamushikashika we4th and see how they deliberately hit ma windscreens and leave some who pay them.Just shut the hell up!!
          R.I.P Tanatswa Neil Matyora and in God`s loving arms son.

  2. ma activicity muripi world war 2 was started when a 12 year old was killed in south africa an uprise occured when a 12 year old was killed in zimbabwe we fold our hands and cry

  3. The future generation is wiped away
    Wiped away by the reckless kombi driver
    and greedy police
    Who will be the leaders of tomorrow,
    if we are destroying ours,
    We never miss our waters till the well runs dry
    In the day light little child’s life is lost
    to a place beyond man’s reach
    I cry why,why because of money
    We kill the future innocent God’s creature
    Rest in Peace brother.

  4. Now we have a crisis. When the people who shld protect us have become thieves, robbers and cause loss of innocent lives ehere do we go? Who will defend the powerless or stand for the cause of the poor? Cry my beloved country. Saka vasiyana chii apa mahwindi acho nemapurisa? Vakafanana , all are heartless, selfish and all have the blood of these innocent souls upon their foreheads. Really so bad. Hakuna nyika yakadai haa hakuna

  5. May the Almighty God be with u in this moment of undefined grief it was meant to be just another day in town and tragedy struck. finger pointing wil not get us anywhere, helpless as we are we appeal to authorities to protect us coz no-one else can. if a system is doing more harm than good there is a grave need to review it. this whole cat and mouse chase has obviously brought more tears than smiles. someone’s child is everybody’s child. that child cld hv bn mine, the police officer’s or even the kombi driver’s.This is a sincere cry for help plz help us

  6. what a tragedy, a innocent boy has to pay with his life over greedy policemen and unprofessional kombi drivers. Such a shame that the government is not seeing that those they call enforcers of the law act like ‘immature, untrained pupil’, what is it going to take to realise that a person life is important than money, or a kombi. Justice must be served to these perpetrators. Rest In Peace young one,

  7. This is total madness! The police force must have Standard Operating Procedures and follow them. The police is expected to protect the people, but when they go as far as endangering public safety, there is a problem. Naturally, we question the man at the top, if he is aware of all this. Rest in peace, son.Mmay God protect us against the police.

  8. Well this mrning along simon mazorodze coming to town before masocha our so called Kombi driver who yu want to support drove on a one way avoiding police who are just after the bridge and we nearly went into an on coming haulege truck. Police did not stop the Kombi but he just decided to go that way and our lives kombi drivers are more important than the fine you want to run away from. In a poem by I Mabasa he say, Kombi driver you are not supper star and kombis might be shaped like coffins, drive safely. Imi moti Kombi Driver aka kora, aka kora chii iye achiuraya vanhu?

  9. IN THE END WE ZIMBABWEANS ARE JUST AN APATHETIC CROWD. WE JUST STAND BY AND WATCH THIS ROT MULTIPLY AND WE DO NOTHING TO STOP IT. THESE POLICE CRIMINALS MAKE MORE AND MORE MONEY EACH DAY BRIBING PEOPLE, LIVES ARE LOST, PRISONS ARE FULL OF PEOPLE YET TO BE TRIED. IT ALL CONTINUES TO HAPPEN BECAUSE WE THE CITIZENS CAN NOT BE BOTHERED TO ACT.

    WHAT ABOUT THE ORGANISATION OF SOME RALLY, STRIKE ETC AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY, CORRUPTION IN THIS COUNTRY. THIS WILL NOT STOP UNTIL WE THE CITIZENS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY OVER OUR RIGHTFUL COMMUNITY AND TAKE ACTION. OUR STREETS ARE OURS AND THAT OF OUR CHILDREN, THEY DO NOT AND I REPEAT THEY DO NOT BELONG TO THE POLICE!!

    GET THAT CHARAMBA. YOU WILL HAVE YOUR DAY TOO, MARK MY WORDS.

  10. @ nhari negomo: what did you do when the kombi driver of the kombi you were in drove into a one way and you got missed by an on coming haulage truck. it is citizens like you who should do something. you and all those in that kombi should have cautioned or better still have had that driver arrested. it doesnt help to just complain and not do something about it

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