Electricity dilemma

The road was dark and deserted. It was pitch black. Earlier on, it had rained, but now there was no indication of any sign of rain. 

Straight from work, I had passed through Baba VaTata's house. We had watched the pulsating match between Brazil and Senegal. 

Also present was Fatso whom we nicknamed Putin, then there was Rasta and also Brother Mike who needed only a small excuse to start preaching the word.

During half-time Putin just blubbered: “How is it someone can live in the ceiling for ten good years?”

The story of Grant had made quite some sensational headlines in the past few days. 

Grant had been kept under lock and key for 10 years and both relatives and friends were sold a dummy by the mother that Grant was living abroad. 

And it was quite shocking when he was discovered hiding in the ceiling. It was like a well- scripted horror story from the grandmaster of horror tales, Stephen King.  

The unusually long nails and the long unkempt hair were straight from a horror movie set.

There was a long debate about all this. “She is a witch,” said Rasta in reference to Grant's mother.

“What kind of a mother can do this to her own child?”

No one had an answer to this question from Putin.

After the match was over, we all left for our homes leaving Baba VaTata with his family. We all went our separate ways. I walked with Brother Mike up to Rujeko Street where he lived with his parents.

It was already after 11pm as I continued to walk home. It was so dark that if you stretched your hand out you could not even see it. 

It had been two days since Zesa had switched us off from the national power grid so it seemed. That also explains why we had watched the world cup match at Baba  VaTata's who had installed a 3Kv solar system.

As I was walking, I suddenly thought I was not alone. My hair stood on end. Who could it be?  

I was sure there were footsteps right behind me. I stopped.  There was dead silence.  

And as soon as I  started walking again, I heard clearly the footsteps behind me. I could feel my legs getting weak.  

Whoever was behind me was not trying to catch up with me. I was sure if it was a thief, he could by now have attacked me .

I was in a dilemma. The footsteps were almost alongside mine. 

If it was in deep rural Hwedza, the surprise could have been less as there were many tales of ghosts. 

I tried to run, but failed as my legs felt abnormally too heavy. There were always strange happenings in the ghetto, but  I had never heard about ghosts.

I was in a dilemma.  Then there was a sudden cough.  I tried to run, then I hit my head against a concrete street lamp post and fell to the ground. 

And  I heard footsteps running away.  If it was a ghost then it must have been bored of me and had decided to run away. 

I  could see nothing as it was too dark. Was that a ghost? I asked myself.  I was not going to tell anyone about my experiences. 

No one would believe me.  What was believable was getting mugged and with Zesa switching off power everyday, there had been a rise in muggings. 

Many people had fallen prey to robbers who took advantage of the darkness.

Someone can be forgiven for saying that the power utility company was abetting criminals. 

As I tried to get up from where I had fallen and continue to walk home, the street lights suddenly went on. And whom did   I see a couple of metres away other than my next door neighbour Svinurai. 

“I thought you are a ghost!” I exclaimed.

“And I thought you are a thief and so I ran away, ” said Svinurai. 

I was at least relieved that nothing serious had happened. We then continued to walk together.  

As I stood by the gate and watched Svinurai enter his house, I could see many households switching their lights on.  

The hard lesson from Zesa was that  if the electricity returned back at midnight, one had to start ironing clothes, cooking  tommorow's meals for instance before power went off again. 

The power utility was actually reconfiguring the whole housekeeping matrix.

And even on the industrial front,  more workers were on night shift to take advantage of the electricity during night time.

  • Onie Ndoro is a writer, educationist and IELTS tutor. For feedback: [email protected] Twitter: @Onie90396982 Mobile Number: 0773007173

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