Widely derided as “parasites,” “zvindakwenya,” “marovha,” “matshaya inyoka,” or simply “loose biscuits”, unemployed people have to make do with menial tasks way below their worth just to get by.If you are unemployed, society treats you worse than a criminal and it is as if your rights were temporarily suspended.

Most jobless people are worse for wear because they take long to get cash to replace worn out apparel while relatives and even blood brothers dump their old garments on them.

“Babamunini torai kajean aka musimire. Munongopfeka zvenyu muri pamba, hapana kana mahwani nekubvaruka uku,” you hear people telling their brothers.

Whether learned or not, most people believe a jobless person has to earn his food by digging, hoeing or watering the chickens and garden.

“Manje ungangodya sadza here usina kudiridza kana muriwo zvayo. Unofanira kungoitawo something kuti vanokuchengeta vafare,” you hear people saying of their unemployed relatives while gulping opaque beer in council beer halls across the length and breadth of the city.

It can be worse if the unemployed block is orphaned.

He always comes second best in every discussion, while their economic circumstance is blamed for almost everything that goes wrong in the home.

“That brother there has a big problem. I think it’s all because of stress caused by his joblessness. Someone who does not go to work does not reason properly. Wait until he gets a job, perhaps he might start thinking soundly,” you hear people saying while drinking tea in cracked cups in Mabvuku.

If there is an interesting biography to be written, yours truly believes it would be one penned by an unemployed person highlighting their ordeal graphically in an emotionally revealing manner.

Me, myself and I, the three of us, were once jobless and went through hell hence the decision to commit pen to paper detailing problems those still in the predicament have to contend with.

If you pick an argument, people around will never side with you on the mistaken belief that a jobless person is stressed and has the propensity to do anything to get the next meal.

Those who go to work, even if they are of the same age with you, expect you to do things that they themselves would never do publicly like queuing for T-Shirts at a road show or running errands on foot even when a car is required.

Getting a girlfriend can be a nightmare if you have no job because one thing for sure is that you will not have money to sponsor a hairdo or even a trip to the nearest movie house.

If you are without a job and have a girlfriend, half the time you will be quarrelling with your brothers for wearing their clothes while on a mission to visit her.

Even the girl’s sisters will not like you much because you will not be in a position to buy them ice-cream.

“Paya ndipo pasina nezvechikomba chese. Why are you spending all this time with him, missing an opportunity to meet other well-meaning guys?
“Unoti iko karovha ikako kangakuchengete. That is all nonsense. Stop doing what you are doing because even if you fall pregnant, you still run to us for assistance,” you hear mothers telling their daughters straight in the eye.

“Your itchy feet will cost you. That small boy of yours is inexperienced and has no cash at all. Karambe tikutsvagire ane mari,” you sometimes hear sisters saying about someone wooing their younger sister.

Gentle reader, in the communities in which we live in jobless is linked to worthlessness.

People hire out jobless guys in the hood to weed their gardens or ward off rival suitors and all they give them is a half-hearted “thank you.”
Some will cook you a meal without tomatoes, onion or cooking oil after working you all day long because of this belief that a jobless person has qualified rights.

If there is a theft in the community, all hell breaks loose.

Neighbours will write all sorts of bad things in police suggestion boxes for the jobless guy next door to be arrested.

“Haa ndiye chete. Wati pane munhu angabve kure kuzoba? Ndiro zirovha iroro risina kana sitayera yese,” you hear women saying behind closed doors.

A jobless brother can be a subject of ridicule for his married sister.

Each time they pick a quarrel with the husband, she is immediately reminded: “Dai pasina iro rovha rekumusha kwenyu rinoswerondinya sadza pano ndingadai ndisina kana purazi here? Take your brother away from this house and see the dramatic saves we will make in terms of food, drink, electricity, water and even washing soap.”

Going to church can be horrible for someone without a job.

Besides being worse for wear, they will not have money to pay even the tithe and people will be using them for gathering firewood and performing menial tasks that no one in his right frame of mind or better economic circumstance would want to perform.

Joblessness is as if you have committed a crime.

If people see you holding a rope to tether goats in the rural areas, people will follow you with speed thinking you are about to commit suicide.
Young children also hate their jobless uncles because in nine times out of 10 they would be competing with them for attention from their parents and also because the uncle would not afford to buy even a sweet. With neither a task to be completed, nor an errand to be covered, who can ever knock on a jobless man’s door?

There has to be something one can give to have souls around him.

People rarely pay visits where they are less likely to wring benefits.

“Ungaenda kunorara uchirumwa nenyuchi kumariro kuEpworth pasina zvinofamba? Isu tichauya wekuLondon asvika nekuti ndiye chete kumba kwavo anototenga bhokisi nekuita kuti pamariro apa pakuhwidzwe moto,” you hear people saying in jest yet they will be serious.

“Kubasa handiende, ndiri matshaya inyoka, unondida here?/Hembe imwechete woma ndikupfeke, unondida here?/Tii tinomwa kaviri pagore nyuwere nekisimusi,unondida here?” sang the late Paul Matavire in his song titled Unondidireiko, which highlights the trials and tribulations of joblessnes.

Gentle reader, the jobless are going through hell but it must be society’s duty to lighten the burden.

Inotambika mughetto.

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