11 April 2017

Zimbabwe: When a Mad Man Has Hijacked the Zimbabwe Bus

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In this analogy of the Zimbabwe bus, South African based writer, Chivhu Mudhara, poses a thought provoking query: can the bus driver be trusted with the lives of his passengers?

Have you ever heard of a story of a man who had a mental illness and was called Mamvura from Sadza and Chikomba? He was well known in Njanja and Hwedza. He used to spend time at Sadza Township and stood by watching buses that came there: some heading to Buhera, some Hwedza, and some to Masasa and Nharira or the other way round when all buses would be going to Harare (then Salisbury). Some drivers were in the habit of leaving their buses idling as they went to eat their lunch, sadza and maguru or mazondo, while passengers ran to the toilets or replenished their stocks of beer and so on. Women with babies took the opportunity to changing nappies while others just disembarked for fresh air. You know the baking heat in Zimbabwe and what happens if you travel by bus.

Mamvura's ambition

Anyway back to Mamvura. He had always told people braaing meat and drinking clear cold Castle, Black Label or Lion or Chibuku that one day he was going to drive one of the buses. People laughed as they dismissed him; a mad man driving a bus? His madness was getting worse, so they said. One day Mamvura got on one of the buses left idling and drove away towards Buhera. People were shocked! The driver and his conductor and other passengers chased the bus on foot. Some passengers clutching several quarts of beer in both hands ran side by side with the bus, but were swallowed in the dust and gave up as Mamvura felt encouraged and increased speed. They gave up the chase. Those on the bus cried out in panic. They tried to jump off the moving bus but Mamvura was grinning and increasing the speed. He enjoyed the noise from the wailing passengers.

Danger ahead

As the bus approached a bridge ahead, some passengers began praying so that their souls can be received well in heaven. The unexpected happened. Mamvura crossed bridge but could not change the gears from the depression forcing the engine to go silent. The bus stopped. Some passengers broke windows and jumped out fearing Mamvura could start the engine. Many got injured. There was Mamvura laughing softly with a triumphant spirit that like he always promised, he had driven the bus.

The Zimbabwe bus

Zimbabwe is the bus. Mugabe is Mamvura. We are the passengers. We failed to guard our country from being driven by a mad man long back. We left Zimbabwe idling and Mamvura jumped onto the driver's seat. Some of us - Zimbos in exile - are chasing the Zimbabwe bus from outside and those inside are crying daily. Food for thought from my fellow citizens.

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