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Chronicles Of My Personal Life: Posthumous Tribute To My Iconic Grandmother - Idah Zuze

Two decades ago; on May 11, 1998 to be precise; the heroine of my life breathed her last at Chegutu District Hospital. Since 1982 when I ...

Two decades ago; on May 11, 1998 to be precise; the heroine of my life breathed her last at Chegutu District Hospital.

Since 1982 when I was born, I had largely lived under the care of my paternal grandparents, and my grandmother Idah Zuze was the heart and soul of my life.

Tapiwa Zuze

She always reminded me that when I was just one day old, she was almost knocked down by a car with me in her hands as she made her way out of Rujeko Maternity Clinic in Tynwald (Harare) accompanying my mother. Because of that near-tragedy, she called me “Tapiwa” because surely I was meant to be a gift to my family and the world. My identity was born on that day.

This installment is part of "Chronicles Of My Personal Life"; which is a collection of my personal journeys and events that have shaped my life. I wrote it on 11 May 2018; as a tribute to my iconic late paternal grandmother; Idah Zuze.

In 1987, we went and stayed together at Tsapo Farm in Zowa, off Chegutu/Chinhoyi, and this is where we started our peasantry farming journey as a means to survival. In 1988 we left Tsapo Farm and settled in Village Four, within the same area; and I almost drowned in a dam there as we were heading cattle with an older colleague called Broad who saved me on that day. In 1989 we left Village Four and settled at Mawere Farm in Msengezi Area (Chegutu Rural), under Waze District. As we were heading our landlord’s cattle barefooted, I got a worm infection on my right foot, and my grandmother did everything possible to ensure that I got treated. We got possibly the worst treatment of our lives there, and left for Mudzonga Farm in 1990. The life of peasantry farming continued with little returns just enough to keep us going with life.

We left Mudzonga Farm in 1992 and settled at Nyamashesha Cooperative, off Chegutu Rural. At Nyamashesha, my grandmother taught me gardening, hunting (together with my grandfather Peter Zuze); and fishing (especially in Biri River where I later on lost my best friend Passmore “Parirombe” Mateo through drowning on 8 March 1994). At Nyamashesha we stayed in Tobacco Barns (MaShed) for quite sometime, and we would have our “live-in friends” called Owls every night. They would be singing while staying right at the top of the barns where you can’t do much to them. Sometimes you would just be woken up by a spat of their excretion right on your face, and that was our life.

My grandparents worked tirelessly in different farms to raise money for our school fees. I and my two sisters would be following through assisting them “kupunga donje” so raise money for our schooling requirements and foodstuffs. I must hasten to point out the fact that in these compound (komboni) areas that we lived in, we survived a lot of witchcraft attacks. God has always kept us over the years even when we didn’t know anything about his grace and protection. We just survived, and we cannot even explain how!!

Our grandparents were by origin from Mozambique, and they came through to the then Rhodesia way before independence. My grandmother was from Zumbu while my grandfather was from Tete. They were never educated themselves; they didn’t know any alphabet letter!! However, even though they never got the chance themselves, they had to ensure that I and my sisters we have gone to school. They would always promise to do everything possible for us to go to school, and they indeed lived to their words. However, as the years went by, their health started to deteriorate towards end of 1994. They had worked so hard throughout their lives, and naturally their bodies were beginning to tire up. My parents then decided to relocate all of us to Chegutu urban, my hometown.

Tapiwa Zuze

As time went by, my grandfather passed on in July 1996, and my grandmother followed in May 1998, closing the earthly chapters of my greatest inspiration under the sun. Remains of both of them are interred at Chegutu Cemetery (ku90). These human beings are irreplaceable in my life. They passed on when I was just about to complete my Form Two, but their legacy is immortal in my life. The foundations they laid in my life, in those rugged terrains, produced a graduate in me who has travels the length and breadth of this planet earth. The lessons learnt in those tobacco barns have blossomed to see me stay in some of the greatest hotels under the sun!!

As I pen off my tribute to a lady who moulded me into this man, I am tempted to quote and contextualise the words of Rose DeWitt Bukater of Titanic as she described her Jack Dawson who had died in the Titanic debacle, but she didn’t have a photo of him to show the world!! “…But now you know there was a woman named Idah Zuze and that she saved me in every way that a person can be saved. I don’t even have a picture of her. She exists now… only in my memory”…. Because I don’t have any picture of her to show you, just know that somewhere in my memory my grandmother exist!!!

Tapiwa Zuze

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Tapiwa Zuze -