Fletcher, lasses, dagga and Senga – old school boy reminisces

BY DUMISANI KUFARUWENGA


Senga residential suburb in Gweru used to have a life of its own in the late 80’s.

Old solid houses, tranquillity, and lots of dagga! Is it because of the dagga that there was so much peace? Mysterious! But what is certain is that the dagga heightened the power of observation.

Fletcher High School boys beat the boarding skool lockdown and fled to nearby Senga in search of dagga and freedom. The atmosphere outside of the skool smelt of the liberation associated with rebellion, it was cool.

So the Fletcher High deserters connected with the chubby and amiable boy of Senga who knew the supplier and they bought two twists of dagga. They chose a place at the bus terminus, an open space where they could see anything coming at them. There is no better place to hide than out there in the open.

They rolled the dagga and lit it and consumed it with the ravenousness of deprived youth. Or was it because liberation and freedom can only be devoured with greedy zeal? After smoking the dagga, they settled down contentedly to gossip about girls and to observe the world that is Senga, the best reward for breaking out of boarding skool tedium.

As the boarding hostels escapees sat in the cool shade of the bus stop after smoking their dagga, two small boys appeared. The two strolled from the skool end. They were obviously good friends, they chatted, slapped each other’s shoulders and argued and laughed. Or were they?

You can’t outrun me, one of the small boys said. I can beat you at anything, anything, he boasted. Prove it, the other boy countered. Let’s race to the bus stop and see who reaches it first, one of them suggested. And they lined up to race. From their vantage point at the bus stop, the hostel escapees could observe that one of the racing contenders was lean and strong and cheerful and healthy.

The other one was grim and sturdy, but one of his legs was thin and twisted in a miserable grimace. He was crippled. An unequal match between the able bodied and the lame. But the race started anyway. A battle of pompous privilege versus the disadvantage of deprivation!

The able bodied boy was off to a good start, predictably. He smiled with the knowledge of certain victory as he fled through the wind. His competitor struggled with his take off, but the lame boy clenched his fists as if to conjure strength from an unknown source, and he surged forward. With his forehead showing lines of concentration and determination, he propelled himself towards the bus stop and its dagga smokers.

Every stride was a struggle, but the disabled athelete dug into the depth of his individual resourcefulness, nodded his head forward with the strenuousness of his effort and gained on his opponent. The shock of competition engulfed the able bodied athlete, and shook his faith in undeserved privilege. He shambled on in desperation, or even fright.

Is it possible that privilege might not be strength? But the disabled boy ignored the discomfort of his opponent, and focused his strength on winning the race. And the paraplegic Olympian romped to victory and smiled modestly at the dagga smoking spectators in the bus stop pavilion.

Good run, good run, the dagga smokers clapped and applauded him, astonished and thrilled by the possibility of the impossible. Does it require dagga for Zimbabwe to realise that the race to freedom from capture by incompetence, is a competition that could be won by sheer zest? https://masvingomirror.com

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