Isdore Guvamombe Reflections
Back in the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, death is like clothes everyone has to wear and if you are a good person even after death your grave will be loved. A few years ago, this village wordsmith sat in his open modest workstation in a corner in The Herald newsroom, chugging cokes and churning out features and village masterpieces – Reflections.
Condemned into that corner by fate and watering brains with the coke, the villager started training many young journalists who loved his writing dexterity. This villager was surrounded by mostly disgruntled journalists, who turned to him for solace, advice and skills. Bus fare, food and drink too!
There were many of these journalists in that corner, others came from other departments and that corner turned me into some godfather. I loved all of them and bought them food and drink, for, back in the village, food and drink cement relationships.
For example, there was young Tichaona Zindoga, whom I had just recruited while farming tomatoes in Domboshava and mentored into an extremely powerful writer, also had his issues but was rather conservative. I was scared of losing him.
Then there was Sydney Kawadza, I had known him as a spike-haired young boy in Mutorashanga and inspired him to join the noble profession. I also recruited him to join The Herald after several stints in brown pastures.
I was also mentoring some young boys at The Sunday Mail. Tinashe Kusema and Prince Mushawevato were picking up as writers.
It was during that time when one young handsome boy, smart and fashionable, cool as cucumber, composed, slow speaking and respectful, entered the fray.
His name was Zecheaus Nemadire. The boy was on attachment and had been tipped to get the villager’s touch on his stories by senior entertainment writer Jonathan Mbiriyamveka.
Nemadire was a fast learner and soon he picked and got it right. I was proud of him. He wore good clothes and blended well on that desk with Tafadzwa Zimoyo, another fine and fashionable youngster.
Zecheaus was later to leave The Herald after his contract expired but he still came back, almost every day. When I eventually left The Herald for ZimTravel magazine, Zecheaus had joined the Red Cross Society’s public relations department but he still loved writing and as editor, I gave him the chance to freelance for the magazine.
No day passed without him popping in, especially late in the day and suddenly he clicked with Wellington Ziduche, the magazine designer, and everyone else at ZimTravel. Zecheaus started learning design and layout. He still loved to chug cokes and always popped into this villager’s office for the black stuff.
He was a fine young man. In the past two weeks, he was limping and he confessed, being injured in a brawl at a party, while trying to defuse a fight. I refused to buy the last line of his story. “Okay mukoma just know, it was a fight at my brother’s party. I am sorry but these things happen,” was his answer.
On Tuesday afternoon, we had lunch in my office. He had a burger and I had sadza and beef. We chugged our cokes, talked and laughed. He had done a marvellous story on Zimbabwe’s music icons, for the magazine.
Later in the day he came with a pack of dried fish, bigger than kapenta and together with ZimTravel staffers, they ate them, as is. I refused to eat, dismissing the fish as being caught in the sewage-contaminated waters of Lake Chivero.
Around 7pm, he popped around, this time with more of the dried fish, he was taking home for his supper. He also borrowed Ziduche’s laptop and left for home. He wanted to write something.
I was shocked around midday on Wednesday to hear that Zecheaus had been found dead, a few metres from his family home. He never got home. Sad! Could he not have bid farewell in a better way?
Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love.
Most of us start understanding death only after it has placed its hands on someone we love. Rest in peace Zecheaus!
This villager will always remember you. Take your writing skills to the world yonder, as well.