Soundtrack: Tapiwa Zivira
IT is early 2019. Lucky Dube’s song, Man in the City, is playing in the background, like a soundtrack to mark the end of an era for an old man who conquered Zimbabwe for 37 years. Sitting on the chair, the man looks around him. He hardly recognises the faces that surround him. He’s a man from the past. All his comrades from the past are gone. Some died, others just disappeared.
The man hardly understands the language that the young ones are speaking these days. It sounds so foreign. He is bitter. His junior comrades betrayed him and booted him from a throne he had sat on for three decades.
Yes, he is an antiquated and stubbornly unchanging, bitter man who is now being forced to watch his days go by. As he continues to nurse the bitterness in his heart, he drifts off to a sleep, his wife holding his hand like a mother would do to a toddler.
In dreamland, he sees his old comrades from across the world, those that were with him during the heydays. He misses them all. They are all either gone to the maker, or have retired from active politics.
He has nightmares of a warfront that he never witnessed, and he hallucinates to the stories of torture and mayhem he heard from comrades who were on the front. The soft feel of a woman holding his hand calms him down and he sleeps on.
His dream takes him back to many years ago, when life was so great. He could fly anywhere, be driven to any part of the country and was always met with genuine standing ovations. Like a little well-kept green garden, the country belonged to him, it was his perfect home.
Comrades who went to the warfront cuddled him like a baby and called him hero, protecting him from all that he threw his excreta at.
Rivers used to run, birds used to fly around, all was perfect, at least in his thoughts. The grass that he stepped on was so green that he loved to lie on it, cuddle his woman and make love while musing about how lucky he was to own such a beautiful garden.
He just did not know that the grass was ‘the people’, and ‘it’ felt the pain every time he stepped on it, or when he forgot to water it. The garden on which the grass lay soon turned into a jungle, where the comrades’ knifes and swords became the only thing flying around.
From a distance, he still hears the November 2017 chorus, “He must go!”
It is a chorus that still haunts him.
His mind is still hurt. He has no memory of the territory he used to rule so many years ago, before his junior comrades booted him out.
He is just a fossil that has remained standing in a modern world where everything seems to happen so fast. He is a lonely man, in the middle of a world that has become so foreign and hostile to him. And it was on September 6 that the Lord decided to spare a thought for the old man. He took his hand and led him to where some of his dead comrades were, except that he would lie in a mausoleum. This is where the track ends, right in a mausoleum.
Tapiwa Zivira writes in his personal capacity