Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Freddy has a jazz band

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Elenah died from an AIDS related illness in about June 2008, leaving her young son an orphan in Harare. Estranged from her family Elenah had survived for many years on handouts from people  РI was one of them.

Elenah was infuriating. She refused to seek assistance from her extended family and told countless lies in an effort to get money from me. Her son was a quick study.

Regardless, I was sad to hear that Elenah had died and was concerned about what would become of her son. It wasn’t long before a young, ragged uncle arrived at my door with Joseph, hoping to pick up where Elenah had left off. I was having none of it and decided to dig a little deeper to find out what alternatives there were for the little guy.

With a little help from a social worker affiliated with SOS Children’s Village I eventually tracked down Freddy – Elenah’s half-brother and a thoroughly decent man.

Freddy and his wife agreed to take their half-nephew into their family in spite of their own financial challenges and limited ‘floor-space’.

Over these months I’ve done my best to help Freddy with some of the expenses involved in caring for another child. 2008 and 2009 will surely go down as the most expensive and challenging years in a long time in Zimbabwe. Freddy and his wife have clearly battled to keep food on the table and the wolf (and cholera) from the door.

Late last week I met with Freddy to discuss costs and, as can be expected, he tried a couple of tacks to see if I was good for any additional assistance.¬† I was unable to help with a couple of his requests but it was his last that had potential. Freddy is a diesel plant mechanic so you will possibly understand why I wasn’t prepared for what followed. In spite of all the inherent hardships involved in his life, Freddy has time to write music and lead a jazz band!

He invited me to join his band and help him with its costs. Very creative – only problem is I’m musically challenged unlike other members of my family.

He owns his guitar but needs money to hire and transport equipment to a venue to practise with his band. He would like to own normal band stuff – instruments, amplifier etc. And of course, he would like to be recorded.

What we’ve agreed is that Freddy will spend the next month practising with his band in preparation for an informal recording by my colleagues at Kubatana in early April. We’ll record them in action in Mufakose and hope that they’re good so that we can put together a demo CD to launch them!

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