The struggle in the ghetto is real

File pic: Uncollected garbage

From work, I headed straight for Zororo Sports Bar. I was agitated and thirsty at the same time.

A few beers would surely  do me no harm at all.  All the way along both sides of the road, there were posters.

Someone whom I did not know was trying to represent our ward as our next councillor.

As for the incumbent councillor, I last saw her the day she got into council and that was that. There was nothing to show that we had a representative in the council chambers.

The roads were in a deplorable state, gullies where it should be a road. The garbage was everywhere, heaps of rotting cabbage that smelled to high heaven. The council had apparently abandoned one of its core duties of refuse collection. For the residents, they had resigned themselves to fate. I was not going to vote for anyone who was not going to represent my interest. People vote for service delivery. In our ward and constituency, there was nothing to indicate that we were well represented.

I had just received my salary. It was not even going to see me through to the next pay day. Was this my story alone? This living from hand-to-mouth took all the energy and vibe from me. As I was about to enter the bar, I saw Uncle Tongai. He was in his early seventies. His hair was unkempt and he had an untidy beard on his chin.

His clothes had seen better days. At first, I never took him seriously.

He was always blubbering about the war that brought independence to anyone who cared to listen. When he saw me, his eyes lit up.

“The war could have ended much earlier,” he said. It was easy to just dismiss him as what he said did not make sense. It was quite easy to think that the soft wool between his ears had  gone off the rails. I was curious to know.

"What exactly do you mean that the war could have ended much earlier?” I asked him.

"I will tell you on condition that you buy beer for me first,” he said.

I had no money for that. I was hard pressed, bills were waiting to be paid.

When he saw that he was not going to get anything from me, he moved away. But I was quite sure that he had a story to tell. My belief was that there is always a story behind a story.

There was an unusual big number of revellers. Baba VaTata was with Fatso and Rasta. In a moment I had joined them. No sooner had I joined them than Mr Tigere, commonly known as Mr Tiger, sprung at me like a real tiger. He was my landlord.

The month was not even over and I had no obligation to pay the rent then.

“So this is where you come  and spend all your money ?” he asked

I was really annoyed at this erratic intrusion into my private life from the landlord. I was not in the mood for being tossed around.

“All you need is your rent at the end of the month. I pay the rent. As to how I spend my money is none of your business,” I said.  I struggled with my rent but always I eventually paid him. He had no business trolling me.

“I don't want to hear stories this month. You will pay my rent in full and well in time,” he said. I suddenly became careless.  "I will move out at the end of the month,” I said.

“What’s so special about your house. He will come and live with us," said Baba VaTata, my friend. That silenced him and he moved away. The struggle in the ghetto is real. I suddenly had a sinking feeling of defeat. I was sure that my landlord would not forget this incident. I had two options at the end of the month, to move out or pay the rent without whining.

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

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