Of stones, booze and dancing cops

Isdore Guvamombe Reflections
Back in the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, the autochthons’ heads might be small, but they are full of memories like the sky may sometimes be full of swarming bees or a galaxy of stars; thousands and thousands of memories, of smells, of places and of little things that happened. Happenings or mishaps!

The mind — this gift from God through the revered ancestors — throws back memories to remind us of where we came from and where we stand today.

The winch-gates of memories open, the thoughts flood, stirring, circling and stirring again and again, pouring out.

At times the thoughts come up like dust, (guruva) rising and rising in an uncharacteristic vortex, circling and circling, whirlwind-style.

The mind vomits into spoken word or ink stylishly spattered on paper.

One such construct on the mind is the story of a policeman who left tongues twisting for many moons and years.

Well, back in the village, the dirty road that left Guruve to Chinhoyi via Mudhindo Growth Point seemed to be going and going without end, but it was difficult to ignore Mudhindo. It was a place to be.

There, a high school friend of this villager ran a shop and bar.

His name was Robson Katumba.

A tall handsome guy, slim and always smiling. Soft as wool, even.

The bar was a hive of activity, starting 10am. There were early guzzlers, especially among stone sculptors around the growth point. The guys were filthy rich for they would go to yonder Europe and sell their stones, come back and imbibe. They painted a picture that imbibing and sculpting were Siamese twins.

This mid-morning, Robson played a long song from Kwangwari Gwaindepi, popularly known by the stage name Leonard Musorowenyoka Dembo aka Dembomavara. It was called Chitekete. It was a love song whose vocal clarity, lyrics, shifting percussion and twing-twang of guitars sent many into a frenzy. It was a song of the moment.

Soon a police man arrived in uniform, itself the emblem of Zimbabwe’s law and order; the uniform that was so respected by all and sundry.

He joined the imbibers after exchanging a few greetings. It is taboo to drink at work and worse still in police uniform. But the policeman started drinking, firstly subtly, hiding from the public.

Then after taking one too many, he forgot the work ethic. Brown bottle in one hand, handcuffs dangling from the waistline, the music and beer got to his head and he started gyrating.

The gyration broke into tap dance and graduating into a waltz then exploded into Sungura’s Borrowdale dance.

Hey. The officer was gifted. He displayed deft and fancy footwork. Cheered on by the sculptors, who also rained beer on him, the officer threw all work ethic into the bin. He sweated profusely, dust caking on the back of the grey shirt and the brown shoe.

He intermittently stopped, wiping sweat from the forehead with the back of the hand. Karitundundu weee!

The intrigued barman repeated the song, over and over again; the officer never stopped. It was a song, a beer and a dance. With time he got into the dance so much that every part of his body danced. It must not have been his first time. It must have been in-born.

The uniform got torn under the armpits and the pair of trousers wacked apart, almost exposing the essentials. One of the workers offered a tracksuit. This villager remembers a green tracksuit with white lines running down the legs.

It was elastic enough. The dancing resumed. It was a spectacle. Finally one of the sculptors pulled him off the stage, sensing he had danced almost to his death.

Panting in between sips of beer, he stood down and by that time many people had gathered for free entertainment.

Sloshed. The policeman somehow managed to get a lift to his base at Guruve Police Station, leaving behind his uniform. Everyone who remained talked about him.

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