Age of Zinc is proud to present the first installment in a new memoir from the slums of Harare, Zimbabwe. Check back every week to catch the next part of the story!
I was born in 1969 in November. I started school in 1980. By then I was big to be a grade one kid.
I first came to Harare in 1981 when I was twelve. I came with my mother and brothers. We joined my father. During the war, he had been shot in both legs. He was treated at a hospital in Harare and after the war he remained in the city. Before the war, my father had lived in the rural areas.
In 1983, my parents had separated. My mother returned to her family. My mother took us to my father’s mother and left us there – me and my two brothers. It was not easy for me to stay in a farm area. My grandmother was not working. We survived by growing crops – using our hands in the fields. My father did not visit, and did not support us. My younger brother was still using napkins in 1983.
After some time, I took my brothers to my father. It was not easy to stay with him – he was renting just one room. After some months we took another room in St Mary’s in Chitungwiza– near to where my father was staying.
When I brought my brothers to stay with my father I thought it would be easy but it was worse because it was in town. My father was working in maintenance at Schindler lifts at that time. He had money but he was not even paying for the rentals or our school fees or buying us some uniforms. Every month we were chased away from school because we did not have uniforms and had not paid our fees. Have you been chased from school? You are not alone. But I kept trying – and gradually I moved through the grades. I was catching up.