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Diaries of a Foreigner: From Harare, with Love

HARARE. – December 31, 2013. A day packed with memories. The day I esteem. Publicly. Nine A.M. I board a bus to Johannesburg. The city of ...

HARARE. – December 31, 2013. A day packed with memories. The day I esteem. Publicly.

Nine A.M. I board a bus to Johannesburg. The city of gold. I am in transit to my mother’s homeland. I miss it dearly. My previous visit happenstance is unprintable. In short.

We watched my mother’s death. Powerlessly.

By @Comic24Derick  

Together. We shepherded her to the mortuary. That was it. Her death haunts me. The coming week. I returned ‘home’. KwaZulu-Natal. Today. I depart with a weighty heart.
My second home. Pietermaritzburg. Since 2009. Not by accident. But by choice. The city of Choice. A place famed with assorted weather patterns. A city legendary for the Comrades marathon. And other notables.

My soul was now a heartbeat of the Midlands. The KwaZulu-Natal province. Since 2008. Firstly, Mooi River. Champagne Valley. Nottingham Road. Lions River. Lastly, Pietermaritzburg. In that geographical sequence.

My complete story originates in Pretoria. For now, I was in Lions River. Hebron Haven hotel. To be exact. Sbusiso Buthelezi. Aka Sbu can testify. We met for a reason. An opportune season.

I now know.

Anyway. I befriended Sbu. He is a singer. I write. We are both artistes. We exchange our desires. Bread and juice is our daily bread. Choices are limited. The city is distant.

We had to escape this confinement. We colluded. The succeeding month, we are in Pietermaritzburg. KZN capital.
Moses Mabhida Stadium In Durban 
22 October, 2009. My 31st birthday. We both commenced work at the casino. We are bartenders. Contrary to our callings. Our bar is hectic. Sbu wants to quit. Mlamuli, counsels him. He is our mentor. He speaks when necessary. He yielded, finally.

Our shifts vary. Graveyard? An overnight shift. Starting eight P.M. Departure time. Five A.M. My eyes hurt. I stumble home. Home is pole and mud. Minus electricity. It’s habitable.

Breakfast. Supper. Is still bread. And juice. Again.

Choices are still restricted. Fortunately, my workplace is nearby.

So I walk.

We are under regular surveillance. It’s a casino. You get used. Soon. I am myself. Again.
Howick Falls In KwaZulu-Natal 
2009 is coming to a close. Lawrence joins us. Plus, Tinashe, we are four Zimbabweans altogether. We share a lot. Including Shona. Our language. Occasionally, we share a beer. Even to solicit sleep. And/or eliminate sleep. Our motherland is topical.

It takes preference. Always.

The soccer World Cup arrives. It’s June 2010. The excitement is intense. The vuvuzela blows ceaselessly. Three matches later. South Africa bows out. Anticipation subsides. Finally. Netherlands confronts Spain.

The Spaniards are champs.

End of 2010. My first writing appears in the Natal Witness. For long, I had tried. Then I had tried again. And again. No results. I don’t resign too early. That’s me. More breakthroughs arrive thereafter.

Assignments trickle in.

2011. Regular travelling commences. Durban. Melmoth. Nongoma. Here, I encounter a genuine survivor. Aged 15. She shielded her niece from a car accident.

Yes, with her body as cover. She endured nine months under intensive care.

Finally. She was out. Ready for school. She motivates me.
A Tiger Victim In KZN 
Don’t you approve?

And then Hlabisa. We cheated death. A log halts our car. Breaks couldn’t. We were destined downhill. I interviewed a lion victim in Ulundi. His dogs fought. Relentlessly. They all perished. Loyalty till the end. He survived. I salute them. I am also a fighter.

Heroes still exist. Even at 65.

Later. Work permits. Many were suspicious. Including myself. But we had to apply. So we did. Outspan. Our regular drinking rendezvous, then. I arrive late on Friday. It is noisy. Soon. I gather the trending news.

Yes, we got permission to work. Legally.

I remember John. John Banda. An illegal migrant. From Lilongwe. Once, he was deported. From now, we were different.

George and Lawrence taught me prayer. George reveals: “It’s profitable to serve God.” I don’t doubt him. Even today.
Tetham Art Gallery 
You too. Never give up. Yes you. My dear sister Busi, pursue your education. My brother Sbura. Don’t quit music. If you quit, you derail God’ purpose. Sing my brother sing. You were born that way.

Three A.M. We wobble homeward. SAPS. South African Police Services! Armed! We scramble for cover. They fish us. We surrender.

“Where are you going?” Home. We sing. Carefully, they guided us. SAPS. I salute you. But not always. Why?

Emmanuel. God with us. Our Emmanuel, departed in 2013. Heartlessly. Azalea cemetery, is where he rests. Survived by dual families. One certified wife. And a satisfied mistress. He perished at dawn. It was his ‘in-laws’. We gathered.

They demanded ‘lobola’. He offered beer.

One pulled a trigger. He offered a smile.
The Writer At King Shaka Airport 
The rest is history. Where was SAPS? Oh, Pietermaritzburg! My precious. Where was your conscience? Which ghost slayed Emmanuel? Our Emmanuel. His ‘families’ seek solutions. Me too.

My twin children arrive in 2012. Prematurely, though. I had my very last sip. No more beer. It was Thompson’s wedding. He was disappointed. But I had to. After fifteen years. I had my fill. I now pursue my vocation.


Lawrence. When we next meet, play me a song. You have the passion comrade. That’s adequate. Quitting arms Satan. Your wife is a gift from God. My sister Nombuso. Pursue your destination. With God, all is possible. Just have faith.

Tinashe. A devoted, family gentleman. Trials are temporary. Greatness is forever. To Zakhiti. March on, sister. Once, you sought to quit. It was too early. Your time had not dawned.

Everyone reciting this potion.

You are special in God’s presence. All my fellow Zimbabweans in South Africa. You are ambassadors of Christ. Pray for your host nation. My South African brethren.

Shun violence. I beg. Foreigners are your comrades.

And not ‘Makwerekwere’.

January 2014 onwards. I am back home. Harare. My homeland. My experience is prized. Pietermaritzburg. My tutor. I adore you. Pietermaritzburg. My custodian. I owe you all. My personality is indebted to you.

KZN my home from home. My love. I shall miss you. Trust me.

I will return. For you.
The Home Of Sharks Rugby Team 
Nowadays. Harare. I am here for a reason. God’s purpose. This is my season. God loves me. And you too. Here. Challenges still exist. Like elsewhere.

But Pietermaritzburg has moulded me.

God bless you South Africa (Nkhosi sikelele Africa).

Good tidings from my family.

Yours dearly. - Kalahari Review 

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