16 Days of Activism
Batsirai E Chigama

Story 1, FB Post 19/11.14

For five years our family shared a house with a certain couple. The husband would be gone from home for weeks and every time he came back home the wife would beat him up with a belt. Wanyatsorinzwa richisangana nemunhu bhandi. The kids would come pleading with me to come and intervene as my parents had now retired to the rural areas. I felt I was too young to do anything and I would take the youngest of the kids to my room so that she wouldn't have to endure this. As a man I think he felt if he cried out he would bring disgrace on himself, that he was not man enough. I admire his strength in that in all those years I never heard the wife yelp because he never retaliated, I don't see violence solving anything. I am a believer that every man, every woman, every child deserves to live in a violent free environment. I abhor violence of any kind. So next time you hear a story, take time to understand before you trivialize it, in most instances those that tell it have encountered, experienced it.

Story 2, FB Post 20/11/14

Until I was 16, we lived next door nanaFani. I remember playing with Fani, Memo and Tabitha in the rain, picking chivhuramahwe tese and getting wet, shivering and getting muddy and all sorts of things without care. When my mother came from kumusha or mai Fani came from her rural home too, they both always brought nzungu, muboora, mango whatever was in season to share between our families. We were those of kind of neighbors. Asi zvaiititaka ndezvizvi everytime, baba Fani went to the beerhall, remember the Rufaro Marketing ones that existed and imbibed all hell broke loose. Vaichengeta pfumo mumba mavo and mai Fani would leave the house half dressed running and screaming for help. She had scars of being grazed nepfumo on her body. Her screams and that of her children would wake up the whole neighborhood and I remember my father would always wake up and go kumba kwanaFani. I can't imagine how life was for mai Fani to live with a pfumo-wielding husband, to always fear that one day he might succeed to take her life with it. I wonder now how it was, that she would clean the house and maybe under the bed where ever this pfumo was kept, move it aside so she would clean that space it occupied, wonder how long she held it in her arms and thought of throwing it away but always afraid of what worse things would happen if she did. Fani was short for Fanuel if you are wondering, I wonder what became of him, if he also grew up to thinking that this was the right thing to do, to beat up your wife for whatever reason, I pray not. Unfortunately incidences of women abused by man are more and often told but that does that mean this is worth more telling than the one I told yesterday? So when you read my poem "Epitaph" this is the back story to it. I am seeking balance and when I wrote that poem I took a totally different angle because I had other stories that represented mai Fani's story already. Our realities are different and more often we judge each other without trying to understand. We think our problems are the only ones worth telling and that everyone should listen. Always remember that out there in the world there is someone with more problems than you and me. Be kind. My writing is always informed by what's going on around me and with me and I feel some of these stories need be told to help someone who might be going through the same, to tell them they are special and do not deserve to endure this pain, that something can be done about it.