“In all her doings my mother influenced me to have endurance, dedication, resistance, faith and resilience.” Mbizo Chirasha
Our village rondavels sat on the peripheral fringes of Dayataya, that elephantine mountain of home. It cracked with a fervent babyish glee every promising dawn. Birds sang soprano and black baboons yelped baritone. The chattering monkeys and jiving rock rabbits chanted tenor. Musical Mother, your footsteps to the mountain to pick firewood for our morning meal was a goddess jive, complimenting nature’s rhythm. This is points to the meaning of mothers. They are angels, messengers of life, You, my Mother, are the goddess of all times.
Dayataya wore a light-yellow tinge on its head at dawn. Toward sunset it cracked a harmless oxblood tinted smile. You wore an earthly doek [bandana] with your resilience matching that yellow, the color of freedom.
Dayataya was our mountain of home. Its cousin, Zvegona, remained holy and steadfast, standing still in hard seasons of drought and winter. Like the steely goddess in you, it never surrenders to ravaging winds and tumultuous storms. Zvegona strutted in grey gowns on winter mornings. At night, it switched to black to compete with Dayatayas blankets of shadows that lulled us to sleep and guide us against nightmares and omens.
Your motherly love was big and it filled the caves, thickets and crevices of Dayataya. Zvamapere hills and Gwenyuchi kissed the sunrise exchanging breath in a sprightly romantic parody. At that time Corona Virus and his ancestors Influenza and Whooping cough were not yet born, the earth was virgin and fresh as a country damsel. The Zvamapere hills danced in blue bridal veils. Gwenyuchi shuffled in his grey silver suit passing the holy mist to his beloved bride Zvamapere. You giggled with joy at nature’s lively escapades.
Dear Mama, you trudged through hills and mountains and along fields hunting for life and food to feed your brood. When hunger folded its legs on our doorsteps and our stomachs roared with emptiness, you wept passionately. You persisted and won the battles against hunger. We, your brood, jostled in ignorance of your motherly dedication. We were overjoyed by the gift of food after the restless sleep of empty bellies.
You are the goddess of all times. When poverty erected its manhood into our homestead, you fumbled metaphors to gods and you chanted resistance. Then poverty, the coward scampered to other villages, those lacking your determination.Your hoe cracked palms defended our bellies from the devastation of hunger and poverty.
The earth roasted time into years and years baked themselves into war. Chimurenga war arrived with its sleepiness nights, beatings, violence, blood, songs and massacres. You fought side by side with combatants with zeal and spirit for a new country. A war collaborator par-excellence, you slaughtered and stewed road runner chickens for comrades and scampered for blankets and jeans to clothe war cadres, you endured the pain of gun butts’ beatings inflicted by colonialist dans. The rattling of rains and the rat tat of bullets during Pungwes Nights. You were a blessed soul heaving the breath of the revolution. I dangled on your backside chanting verses imitating war time songs . . .
Vana Mai bikai Sadza, Vana Venyu Tauya
Vana Mai bikai Sadza Vana Venyu , Yuwi vana bikai Yuwi vana bikai Sadza
Vana Venyu tauya
You sang with war collaborators and comrades despite the incessant clutter of guns and hair harrowing grenades explosions. I am child of war, of rain, of the hard road and victory songs.
The storms of war raged. You protected my young body through thickets of demons and jungles of lions as I smelt the rhythm of Chimurenga and the wave of gun smoke. Behind your revolution hardened back, I carved poetry from your sweet lullabies and grieving hymns, I became a griot before I teethed. The gift I carried and still carry in my DNA, a gift from gods. Shaped by your love, I am a griot of the land. I speak to Kings, Queens,, Mediums and Revolutionaries. I preach justice to unjust. I sing truth to political imbeciles. I voice human rights to immoral ideological zealots. Dear Mama, I remain resolute. I am a griot, prince to carry forward your ideals and example. You remain my goddess of all times.
Sometime back you told of the day when I was born, that the sun went back early into the womb of earth, the moon was torn into two halves, wind raged, a storm ensued, thunder roared, lightning bolts cracked in synchrony with gun claps. The rat tat of pelting raindrops witnessed your labor pains on God’s night. I was born. The angry earth was reversed to harmony, the Chimurenga war paused, freedom songs vibrated the grenade pregnant earth. You and other peasants of the land danced fervently for the black cockerel and his revolutionary cabal. My tender soul smiled at the paradox. You, father and the villagers drank the socialist revolutionary propaganda like whisky. You munched the Nkurumaist-Castroist-Mugabeist Ideological biscuits like any other war-time peasants. Nevertheless, black cockerels drank the revolutionary eggs and you returned to scratch for dear life on the rock fringes of Dayataya. Still, you remained the goddess of all times.
I grew up as Ndoda [Xhosa term for man], a weakling because gun claps broke my ears and my lungs. I suffered from asthma, chest pains, and chronic ear infections. You carried me to hospitals in light and night for years and decades, you wept in between the my tortured seizures until your tears dried. You consulted with every hospital, healer, and prophet on my behalf. Time passed and the gods and ancestors freed me from the bondage of Satan. I grew perfectly then like a sweet potato enjoying the warmth caress of red earth. Years stewed into decades and roasted into more decades. I became a steadfast griot, toiling in the land of the Almighty Lord. I am your prince. You remain the goddess of all times.
In the wake of a pregnant anopheles [a type of mosquito] humming its blood-sucking hymn, and after bedbugs launched a terrorist bombing against my skin, I got dizzy and convulsed. I swatted the mosquitos with my big thumb and the bedbugs scattered in no time. I slept again and a revealing dream spoke to me in the rush of a presidential motorcade to long waiting hope-drained villagers.
I dreamt of you Mother, wearing a sparkling silver wedding dress, walking side by side by the great king of all times, my departed father. The Mahosa totem appeared. I carried a lit white candle and you had a bunch of white roses. A wedding song boomed feverishly from a big stereo. I can’t remember the singer, but I remember the beautiful poetic song,
He unyana wam
Helele uyashada namhlanje
Vul’indlela wela ma ngiyabuza
Unyana wami uthathile
Unyana wam eh ujongile this time
You looked gorgeous like Zvegona pastures during rainy season. Your smile was wide like a full summer moon. Father winked to you with heartily contentment and then swallowed their desire. I smiled to the dream and you smiled back then disappeared in a white wedding limousine. I pondered. I failed to calculate the meaning and the reason. Then on the Saturday that followed that Friday night dream, a windy morning, and my brother wept in the phone, telling me of your departure. Your death was unexpected and I failed to be there to say goodbye for the world is now ravenous.
The revolution is roasting its own grandsons and daughters. The devil is manancing. His threat long , coy and rogue. He gave birth to a cruel goblin of a son called Corona Virus. Now every door of every home is locked. Every gate of every country is locked. The goddess have take a breather, those pacesetters and trendsetters. I know I was not there to cast the last lump of shovel dust to say goodbye spirit Queen. I did what I can as a prince, your griot son, including prayers. God knows I sang a spirited supplications to the angels of God to welcome and place your motherly in the and resilient soul in the warm embrace of the Almighty God.
I failed to weep not because I am a coward. Today as I write this eulogy and my heart caves, bleeding grief. I remain chanting resilience as every morning I see you floating in the mist of dawn and later wrapped in the cloaked night I watch you sending guardian angels to guide us against evil, to protect us from poverty, hunger and demons. Dear Mama, I remain resolute knowing death is not a good guest nor a best host. I know we meet one day in the heavenly mansions of God.
Fambai Zvakanaka Shoko
Makumbo mana muswe weshanu
Hekani Soko yangu yiyi
Vakaera mutupo umwe nashe
Vana Va Pfumojena
Soko Mbire ya Svosve
Veku Matonjeni vanaisi vemvura
Zvaitwa matarira vari mumabwe
Mhanimani tonodya, svosve tichobovera
Maita zvenyu rudzi rukuru
Vakawana ushe neuchenjeri
Vakufamba hujeukidza kwandabva
Pagerwe rinongova jemedzanwa
Vari mawere maramba kurimba
Vamazvikongonyadza kufamba hukanya
Zvibwezvitedza, zvinotedzera vari kure
Asi vari padyo vachitamba nazvo
Zvaitwa mukanya rudzi rusina chiramwa
Maita vari Makoromokwa, Mugarandaguta
Aiwa zvaonekwa Vhudzijena
You remain the goddess of all times. I chant resilience!
© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha
Link to Part 1 HERE.
MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of the Zine team and a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017). He is a Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York, 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund, Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.