The fields have been harvested, and the cattle and goats can now roam free.
And the village herdboys can also roam free, there’s no longer any need to spend tedious days tending greedy cows and restless goats.
“Come back Wine, you
You don’t know that
you only eat what you
Those green mealies
were planted by us
who know how.
Come back Wine, you
Because all crops are in, and there’s no need to trail greedy cattle, the village herdboys are free to trap mice and hunt Chihuta, the fat delicious bird that tires easily.
Chihuta is plentiful predominantly in fields where rapoko has been harvested, where it stuffs itself with the grain left over and spilled from the harvest. Because it overfeeds, Chihuta flies low and slow, and tires fast.
Easy pickings for the hungry herdboys and their diligent dogs.
In the vast fields behind Chivi Village, the fenced fields of Saina, Mai Eriza’s land of plenty, all the way to Chiponise River, multitudes of Zviuta peck fallen grain on the field ground.
And the herdboys and their dogs descend on them with zeal.
“There Chihuta flies
There Chihuta flees
Catch it in flight
Kill it alright”
To the village herdboys, pursuing Chihuta is not just a need to hunt for food, it is a sport, the one who kills the greatest number is the winner.
But before reaching home, the village herdboys put their catch together, so the Chivi Village women will never know how many each one caught, for hunting Zvihuta is not about glory, it is just but teamwork and fun.
“Let us receive what
you caught for us from
you who hunt for us.
Let us cook for you
those who provide for
And those who have never tasted a meal of stewed Zvihuta and peanut butter rice in a smoke filled village hut will never know the joy of village childhood.
(Dedicated to Rhodrick Chaza and Farisai Martin Matthias Kufaruwenga, the greatest Zvihuta hunters that ever lived. May their dear souls rest in peace)