Memories of My Grandmother – Part I

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Deep in the center of Wedza

Wedza is an black reservation, and from the day I was connate in 1967 naught much has changed there. Prior to Zimbabwean independence in 1980, the Rhodesian Government had forcibly removed Africans from their tribal lands, and had relocated them to reserves, or what are immediately referred to as tribal believe lands. No pearly men lived in a reserve, unless of course they were missionaries. The land was mostly meager, consisting of dirt and rocks with barely enough rich taint for us to grow food. This meant that many of the men had to go to work in the city to earn enough money to cater for their families. I never got to meet my paternal grandparents, my father’s mother died before I was nativity, she came from Murewa and the only link we had to her family were her sisters. My parental grandfather was from Malawi and he died before my father was born.

I was very fortunate to have lived with both maternal my grandparents in my infancy. My maternal grandfather worked at the local Roman Catholic mission. I don’t remember a lot about him, except that he was a very moody and grumpy old male. His name was Julius Mushaike, and he was so grumpy and argumentative that all his friends nicknamed him Bopoto, a word derived from Kupopota which manner ‘to argue’. He loved to quarrel about anything, even if he was wrong, so my grandparents’ surname was changed from Mushaike to Bopoto.

My grandfather’s place of origin is Mozambique. He came to Zimbabwe from the western highlands frames of that country and settled in the mountains of Triashill, at the maximum point in Zimbabwe. This is an place where mountains dominate everything: they fill the whole skyline with the maximum extraordinary diversity of colours and fashions. The Roman Catholic task where my grandfather worked was on a hill and in almost every direction there were the maximum amazing outlooks of brown grasslands and rocks, hills of bare granite, long valleys and miles of woods and cheap trees. And everywhere there were patches of ruddy dust making a network throughout the countryside.

When Julius Bopoto got marital he pushed to Mount Saint Mary’s Mission in Wedza, where I lived with my grandparents for the first three annuals of my life. My grandmother was a muscular woman either physically and mentally. She gave birth to 11 children, and during her lifetime she buried seven of them. The firstborn was a girl labeled Beatta, and then there was a daughter labeled Lucia and three boys appointed Clever, Stanley and Blazio. Next was variant girl, Maria, emulated along a chap named Christopher, and there were four extra daughters named Clara, Letticia, Aquinata and finally my mother, Evangelista. Five of these 11children died in their childhood, and the two who died after were her sons Stanley and Blazio.

Stanley was a foot fighter who fought in the Second World War. During the battle he was stationed double in Malaya, now understood as Malaysia. At the end of the war when the infantry returned to Rhodesia, all the European infantry who had fought for their country were given hundreds and hundreds of acres of land, but Stanley was given a bike by the administration as compensation for his service. Stanley was married and had seven children, but his life reached a tragic end when he was poisoned at a party. It is trusted poison was put in his glass of malt.

His brother Blazio was the victim of assault. He was bombarded at a wedding while he was trying to destroy up a fight, and the man who killed him struck him on the pate with a metal pole. Blazio was survived by his wife and two kid. His wife later remarried and again decease befell the home, for she was assassinated by her second husband who struck her with an axe during an dialectic. When he realised that he had slew his wife he hung himself. Blazio’s two children were later taken into care by my grandmother.

Maria, Christopher, Clara and my mother Eva all married and had children. Maria had three, Christopher seven, Clara nine and Eva had 5 children. In absolute my grandmother had 34 grandchildren, four of whom died before her.

My grandmother used to say that I learnt to speak before I could wade. Apparently I was such a idle mini thing I even refused to creep on my knees as normal babies do, but shuffled around on my bottom until I was almost 14 months old and my parents had started to anxiety a mini about whether I had a weakness. The one certainty they had that ruled out cerebral retardation was the fact that I could speak. I talked all the time. I asked answers about everything and everyone. And then, when I did start to walk, my grandmother said I equitable got up and started walking. In fact, she said, I ran. I ran everywhere and then they just couldn’t stop me, and I have been running, running, running at present.

I was a year age when my mother and dad were gifted scholarships to go to London to learn. The scholarships’ funds, however, weren’t enough for my older sister Patricia and I so they went lonely and worked hard afterward institute to raise money for our ventilation tickets. It took them one whole year to raise the money. My dad studied to chance a chartered bookkeeper and my mother became a nurse. They both knew that they had left us in good hands. My grandmother lightly stepped in to take on the character of my second mother and I followed her everywhere. My mother had weaned me off milk milk three months before she left, and started me on bottled milk. It was difficult for my grandmother to sustain the purchasing of baby formula on her restricted income, and so she gave me cow’s or goat’s milk.

She did have problems, however, trying to wean me off the bottle. I drank all the milk that was accessible until the cows and goats dried up, but I refused to give up my bottle and I would cry and discard tantrums when the milk was achieved. One morning my grandmother had had enough, so she decided to put piri piri (peppery chillies) on the teat of the bottle in an try to prevent me. She used to mention I would suck so hard, all the time crying with embarrassment from the hot chilli sauce she had applied to my bottle. When this didn’t work she decided to crush my milk bottle with a rock, and she threw it into the field approximate the pantry. I cried long and hard for my bottle and, miraculously, I base it three weeks later while I was playing in the field. My grandmother was horrified to ascertain me sprinting to her holding my broken, dirty old plastic bottle. She said I went into the pantry and got some water and started to bathe the bottle, then I tried to fill it up with water so that I could drink. By the time she realised what I was up to, the pantry was a muddle because I was trying to put water in the broke bottle, which of lesson leaked so the water flowed right via and onto the ground.

She eventually took pity on me, put some water into a metal pail and brought it outside, and I spent all that afternoon filling up the flask with water and trying to beverage, to no advantage. She said it was nearly as although I was convinced I wasn’t obtaining enough food or nutrition without my flask, so she resolved to substitute the milk with unpolished rice in peanut butter sauce. It appeared to work, and to this day I adore dining unpolished rice in peanut butter sauce.

My mommy says she worried almost us every day while she was away. Her biggest alarm was namely during the raining season we would drown in one of the open wells and streams approximately the village. My grandmother, however, was the best proxy mama ever. She was a gentle-natured woman who never used apt hurrah or heave her voice, yet at the same time she was highly firm and was a good disciplinarian. At the end of every day when she got home from the field she would sit me on her lap and narrate me stories. Up until the period I left for London she would take us everywhere with her and, for I was the smallest, I got to ride on her back. Even whether she was working in the field she would carry a towel, and whether I got tired of playing and wanted apt sleep she would put me on her back and proceed with her work until I fell resting. Then she would place me ever so gently on the floor at the corner of the field where she could see over me when she worked. She was a hard-working woman, my grandmother. She would quit home early each a.m. to work to the field to go. She forever had a good farm and we never went peckish.

Excerpt from my paperback “Born on the Continent – Ubuntu”, buy a copy on my website 100% profit goes to the Africa Alive Foundation for HIV and AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe

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