GhettoDances: Gossip only breeds confusion and enmity

Then all of a sudden, the fight stopped. A young policeman who looked reluctant and confused managed to stop the fight.

Saturday is not always a good day for me, far from it. It only gets better in the twilight and that is when I join my friends at Zororo Bar. Saturday is also my off day from my boring work and by now I should have found something to occupy the acres of free time, but far from it, I wandered around the small rented house like an elephant in a zoo.

Anyway, I continued to read the week-old newspaper which I had brought from work. News is news anyway, never mind the date sometimes. What gets stale is food, as long as you have not seen or read the news yet, it’s as fresh as the day it broke out.

It was sad news I was reading. Instead of sweet farewells on the departure lounge at the Robert Mugabe International Airport, just at the last moment he was departing, Mr Ali for that was his name, served his wife of seventeen years of marriage with divorce papers. The cheeky part of it was that he was not even graceful, he threw the papers at the feet of his startled wife.

“I am done with you, it’s over. I am not coming back but I will send money for my kids’ education,” he said and disappeared into the terminal to catch his flight.

The wife collapsed as her three children gathered around her in equal dismay.

I lifted my eyes from the newspaper and tried to imagine the woman’s agony. Some people have dark hearts. How could the man do this? What could have led Mr Ali to humiliate his wife like this? No woman deserved this humiliation.

Sometimes you think your situation is worse, but when you come across stories like this, you can only sigh and pray for God’s mercy.

“Can you warm my porridge,” I called loudly to Mai VaMaidei. Apparently the sad story had enchanted me and I had hardly taken even a spoonful of the mealie-meal porridge which was laced with peanut butter.

“You are being wasteful, gas is expensive, you should have eaten your porridge while it was warm," said my wife. She always complained, whether I was right or wrong but like a good wife she put my plate of porridge on the gas stove to warm it up.

Sometimes being poor you have things bottled up and one is given to complaining. The world conspires against you. Mai VaMaidei was not a happy woman, just like many others.

She spent too much time at the market, and the daily struggles to eke out a living produced bitter people sometimes. I was sure that if the Health ministry could organise a health campaign at the market, many traders would be diagnosed with high blood pressure and depression. There were many things that happened daily at the market which caused high blood pressure and depression. The daily harassment from police, the poor economy — the prices were never right, the eschewed exchange rate which sometimes ate up all the profit and some of the customers also haggled for the lowest prices or threatened to take their business to the next trader leaving you hapless.

I have never walked into a large retail shop and haggled for a cheaper price but in the street markets, several times I am always tempted to negotiate. I only pull myself together when buying from an old woman.

Outside, I suddenly heard some noise as Mai VaMaidei brought the warm porridge. There were many voices, speaking at once, but it was difficult to pick out anything. The kind of noise meant trouble. I peered through the cracked window. I was alarmed. A large crowd was gathered outside our house, mostly women and children. 

“Come out,” a woman in a colourful frock shouted. It was Mai VaTaku. I looked at Mai VaMaidei.

“Do you know anything about this?” I said. She shook her head.

“If you don’t come out, I will come and get you,” said Mai VaTaku. She was trouble. Everyone at the market knew her. She was always in a fight one way or the other. If there was a national association of gossipers, I am sure she could easily be its president. She had a market stall near Mai VaMaidei but spent a great deal of time surrounded by other women who had nothing better to do but gossip about their husbands and this and that.

Together with my wife, we went outside to get to the bottom of the matter. As we emerged outside there was an uproar, many voices shouting and when the voices rose Mai VaTaku’s voice rose too.

“You have been telling people I am cheating my husband, if my husband divorces me, your husband will take me as his second wife,” said Mai VaTaku in a frenzy.

“My mouth never said that,” said Mai VaMaidei. It was too late, Mai VaTaku had come to fight. You know the way women fight, they do not come with arms swinging like golf clubs with fists in a tight ball. Mai VaTaku came with her palms open and long dirty nails clawing at Mai VaMaidei’s face and then they tumbled to the ground, rolling this way and that way, gouging at each other’s eyes. All the time, the other women were shouting, enjoying the drama. I tried to stop the fight but I felt someone pulling me away.

Then all of a sudden, the fight stopped. A young policeman who looked reluctant and confused managed to stop the fight.

I don’t want my children to grow up in this kind of environment. There is nothing to learn except to poison the minds of innocent young children. Gossip only breeds confusion and enmity.


  • Onie Ndoro X@Onie90396982

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