What if Zimbabwe was a woman?
What if she was a divorced mother of two precocious girls ?
What if she was physically able, mentally astute and spiritually aware?
She would be a woman with a good eduction, a profession even, a means of earning her own living, a decent group of friends and deep capacity to love and be loved.
And yet she one day found herself alone, on the side of the road, her car broken down, her well-laid plans rendered shambolic.
What would l tell this woman? This Zimbabwe with everything to offer, and yet not enough to show for it; what would I say to her.
I would say, this. I would say, Zimbabwe, no one is coming. I would say, You have parked your car here on the side of the road on a hot November day. You have sat here for six hours. You are waiting. Waiting for what? No one is coming. No one is making this go away for you.
I would say, You are sitting here getting hotter and hotter. You are getting hungry. The battery on your one cellphone has died and the other is fading fast. You have laid your “Zambia” (a piece of fabric you name after another country, after children of another mother) down in the shade of a tree and lain on it because the heat inside the car is too much. You have tried to drink your bottles of mineral water, but they are tasting more and more like tea because of the heat. You are thinking in fact that if you employ your fertile imagination, you can really taste a little Tanganda at the end of every sip. Zimbabwe. No one is coming. No one will make this go away.
I would tell Zimbabwe to look to herself. I would remind her of the two children awaiting her at home. Children who are believers in her capacity to provide, to defend, and even to make pleasant and pleasure out of everything in their lives. I would ask Zimbabwe to think about the other trials she has been through. The parts in her path that seemed to be insurmountable - the birthing of a baby. The obtaining of a degree and writing final exams while 8 months pregnant. I would say remember the October heat in that exam room. Remember how you wanted to take off all your clothes and pour cold water on your distended belly. I would say, you got through that. I would remind Zimbabwe of the other baby - the one born while waiting for the gynae in the hospital. The one where the midwife insisted on issuing instructions in deep Shona because she thought you were being a “salad” and playing at not understanding when she said "gomera" and you didn’t know it meant push and your baby just remained parked in your pelvis while she had her little moment of power-playing. I would say your baby could have died but she lived and here we all are.
I would say Zimbabwe - that was Chimurenga one, and two, and we can even find Chimurenga three, This here….this is not a war. There is no life that needs to be lost here. This is a broken down car on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. I would say Zimbabwe, get some perspective. Is this unpleasant? Yes. Is this inconvenient? Sure. But it is not the end of the world or even the end of the road. It is fixable and the one who can fix it is you.
I would say Zimbabwe listen carefully: There is nothing you need to fix this situation that you don’t already have. Everything you need is already here - with you; inside you; around you. You have everything you need. Make a move, or a call, or a plan.
Be what you need because no one is coming to be that for you. Look to yourself because you are your own responsibility. That is what adulting means Zimbabwe. It mean you are no longer your father’s responsibility, nor are you your spouse’s responsibility, and even if you had a blesser, you would soon discover that you are not his responsibility either. You are the one in charge of yourself. Fix it. Fix yourself. No one is coming to carry the responsibility for you.
No. One. Is. Coming.
I write to lend you my courage, to help you find the words for the things that frighten you; the things you feel, but are not yet ready to say. I write, to tell the stories of our time and to edify those whose stories I tell and their audiences.