Its well past after the hour of 9 in the morning and there I am in bed. I try to act if I am sleeping but consciously I am wide awake, feeding my brain with what I want to dream.
It’s been almost a year now since I graduated and this has been my daily routine now, and even accustomed myself to be time ignorant. ‘Around 10’ I say to myself in my laziness. I reluctantly open my eyes as I sleep on my back. My eyes meet the aligned timber trusses on the roof. My eyes quickly get drawn in my absent-mind and get focused on that little hole on the asbestos which sends through the beam of light straight to the age of my bed. In my contemplation my mind start thinking how that little hole gives me trouble during the rainy season that I will be forced to rearrange the room so the water from the roof does not wet my bed. Quickly I snap out of it, bringing myself back to reality. It is awfully quiet outside, all the kids are at school obviously. I drag myself out of the bed and reach out to the light switch near the door. ‘Click, click’ I switch on and off the light. “Better kune magetsi” (Good, there is electricity), I mumble to myself with a slight grin on the edge of my lips. As I say this, my head is all now engrossed on the idea that I will spend the rest of my day binge watching the TV series I got on the disc from a friend next door. Quickly I put on my slippers and get out of my room.
I walk out of the house now heading kumashops (grocery shops). As I walk past a group of 4 boys of my age sitting on what is now only left visible as the remains of what used to be a small bridge on the edge of the streets. “Mfana graduate” a voice emanates from the 4 and the other 2 crack in laughter. I force a little smile from my lips and I raise a thumbs up to the boys on the bridge. ‘Mfana graduate’ as it seems, is now my nickname. For those who want to be subtle they cut it short to ‘graduate’. Like they say, the nicknames that you hate most are the ones that stick. Well I did not care anymore. As I draw past them, the other one shouts, “ko chimbondisiirawo 5 bond”. I turn and shaking my head respond faintly, “wangu, pakaipa apana mari”. He nods and they quickly get back to their business, with what looked like the other boy was selecting the good marbles in his hands and throwing away the bad ones. I pay no attention to detail and I just keep on walking.
It seems like a long walk of shame to the shops alone. In a flash a chubby boy of the age of 6 or 7 ran past me, in what seems like they are playing a game of chasing each other. I quickly turn my head to look behind me and other 4 boys of the same age, with untucked uniforms, the other 2 with shoes in their hands, are running chasing the boy who just passed me. All break in laughter in pure joy in their little game as it seems. I break into their joy and ask, “ko sei musiri kuchikoro?”, the so-seems-talkative one snaps at me and sharply answer, “tadzingwa”. They seem not to care less that they are out of school right now as they are so caught up in the moment of their play right now, or does it ever cross their mind what not being in school means anyway? A memory comes to me, those days I was still that age and never cared for anything, attending the nearby council primary school and spent most of the times playing and just being a child. How I miss that. With that thought, subconsciously my mind then links that to the image I saw posted on our class WhatsApp group from university, it read “DO NOT GROW UP, IT’S A TRAP” in that jiffy I manage to just laugh at myself. What an irony!
In that moment a loud hooter horns followed by a shout “town here? Town mota! town Coppacabana! Town yakuzara mota! mukuenda here akoma?” In my awakening I realise a commuter minibus going up and down the road looking for passengers going to town.“Mukuenda here akoma?” the boy standing at the door of the commuter minibus shouts again now looking in my direction. I check behind me, looking maybe there was someone he was referring to. But no. There was only me in the proximity. I realise he was asking me if I was going to town, and I shake my head sideways then he shouts“zvinotooneka kuti hamusikuenda kutown, nedzapata ramakapfeka iro akoma” the few passengers in the minibus crack up to the joke, which also made me crack up on my own as I walk past the minibus too.
“Aaah graduate urisei”, William shouts sitting behind the newspaper stall. I can sense the sarcasm in the tone but I just play along, “zvirisei vakomana” I reply. William, profoundly known by many as Widzo or Baba Tanaka, almost the same age as me but now has a child turning 3 this year. Widzo and I shared the same primary school and grew up together. He now runs an array of stalls at the grocery shopping mall, from the newspapers, airtime, discs and even vegetables. He is an ‘accomplished’ person and commands awe from the people around his stalls whom mostly have vegetables but their sales are not as high as how Widzo sells each day. In that light he has managed to cater for his small family that he even moved his wife and child from his family house and now rents a one room in the same high density surbub. I go straight to Widzo and we have a fist hand shake – ‘big up’ they call it. He opens a space for me to reach out the newspaper on the stall and I begin to browse through. “So what is being said in the papers today, graduate…”, another man who has a stall of tomatoes next to Widzo’s interrupts me. “#ThisFlag yanyarara ka?” (#ThisFlag have gone quiet now?) he adds on inquisitively before I could even gather what to respond to his first question. Before I could even talk in the wake of it all, it seems like all hell let loose as everyone on the stalls throwing their views to the question.
“Haa Pastor aida kudya mari dzedu uya”
“…saka chii chakuitika manje zvaarikunzi akaenda America?”
“isu sema vendor tinofanira kuenda kumarch nekuti kanzuru yatinyanyira”
Men and women around the stalls simultaneously talk in what seems like a whole episode of questions without answers and no one is even cares or heed to answer what the other asked. The debate goes on and on that they do not even notice my bids of farewell as I take my way back home.
In that moment as walk back home, I was in deep thoughts. So is this really going to be my life? Is this how I will have to be like for the rest of my life? These are some of the questions which scares every fibre in me and I try hard to evade from confronting myself with the realities of it. Ever since I graduated, no matter how many times I try applying to all the advertised positions I am academically qualified for in the newspaper, I still haven’t got a job yet. It’s past a year now and still nothing seems to be changing or is there going to be any change? I draw myself into more questions again. Is it going to be any better for you graduate?