I’ve heard people say, “East, west, north or south, home is best” but I never bothered to analyze this statement until recently when I had an opportunity to cross the border into the Batswanaland. This is the only time I was made to think of where I come from and who I am really.
I am truly a Mabvuku resident and have learnt to be proud of this fact. I was born in the impoverished eastern high density suburb where some even query whether it is part of the sunshine city, Harare. Why? You see a poster that bids you farewell soon after Msasa along the Mutare road even before you get to the turn-off which leads to Mabvuku. This in itself shows that by just passing that poster one is now out of Harare and some will then argue that Mabvuku and Tafara are connected to the capital city through the ‘back door’. This is somehow supported by a historical fact which related to the setting up of the low income townships to provide housing for labourers, housemaids and garden ‘boys’.This was supposedly to satisfy those whites who stayed in the posh eastern suburbs.
In my childhood days, I used to visit my uncles and grandparents in the rural areas. It was like I had a tag that said, “Coming from Harare” on my shirt. That was then and this was because of the state of the city which earned the name, ‘sunshine city’. Everybody loved to be in the city. Back then city life was adored by everyone. The standard of living was good and almost everyone could afford to buy a loaf of bread, butter, a bottle of coke or a pint of beer and that was life in the city. I also remember back in the days when Dairibord salesmen used to drop a bottle of milk at our doorstep and nobody dared disappearing with the bottle. It was so easy and simple and this used to happen in the high density suburb of Mabvuku. The good things happening in the city attracted most of my friends who used to live in the rural areas and there was an exodus of the youths into the city. I can no longer meet with my friends when I go back to my village. Why? Because of the migration of people who were attracted by the sunshine city.
Mabvuku has not been spared from the spate of economic and social disasters affecting Zimbabwe. Apart from the national issues, my homeland has been seriously affected with massive power cuts, sewerage bursts running for months, acute water shortages threatening health disasters and several other social problems. The severity of the economic situation in the country has not spared my homeboys and, just like what happened in the rural areas, Mabvuku is going to wake one day a vacant place especially when it comes to my age group, the working class. People of my age are now scuttling and pursuing perilous moves crossing the borders of Zimbabwe in search of ‘greener pastures’ in our neighbouring countries. Most of them have made an oath of not returning to this country until there is a nirvana.