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“Kusautsa” 

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“Kusautsa” 

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BY DUMISANI KUFARUWENGA

In the early 80’s up to the late 80’s, the focal point of boarding life at Fletcher High School was the Dining Hall.

The Dining Hall at Fletcher High School is a long, wide and spacious building which is sorrounded by boys’ hostels. The boarders of the relevant time loved it.

They called it “Dhanzi.”

Dhanzi served both good and bad food. But the boarders were generally healthy. 

Dhanzi sustained them.

A practice called “kusautsa” became fairly widespread in Dhanzi.

“Kusautsa” meant that a student went beyond his own food allocation in Dhanzi, and pounced on another student’s share.

“Kusautsa” was indecorous conduct.

The following exchange took place in Bay 4 of Hanno Hostel between two friends who were both academically gifted. Both had won prizes in their respective disciplines.

STUDENT A: Look at the 

   prizes l’ve won, and

   despair. Other students’

   fees paid for these 

   priceless trophies. It 

   feels good to have the

   one thing everyone else

   yearns for. It’s great to

   be good in class.

STUDENT B: since your 

   awards eat into other

   students’ fees, what is

   is the difference

   between them and

   “kusautsa” which takes

   place inside Dhanzi 

   every other day?”

And there was uproarious laughter from the other occupants of Bay 4 of Hanno Hostel.

Wait.

 “Kusautsa” may have a meaning far more serious than the harmless theft of food by teenage students in Dhanzi. This is because no victim of “kusautsa” went hungry during the relevant time. Two members of the kitchen staff whom the boarders called “Wa” and “Penjeni”  always improvised and compensated the victim of “kusautsa” for his loss.

But the meaning of “kusautsa” in the present context has far more drastic consequences.

 “Kusautsa” now points to charlatans dressed in shiny suits who open churches and preach their own praise and perform bogus miracles to vulnerable Zimbabweans who are pulverized by misrule, and in the process, swindle desperate Zimbabweans of their hard-earned pittance.

“Kusautsa” now points to a political party that pilfers your vote and impoverishes your family while its top officials and their cronies swim in the ill-gotten wealth of corruption.

“Kusautsa” now points to a comatose economy and dilapidated infrastructure in a country that was once the bread basket of Africa.

“Kusautsa” means being caught smuggling gold through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe lnternational Airport in broad daylight, and feeling smug about the fact that no one prosecutes you because everyone fears to be victimized by your top political protectors.

“Kusautsa” means earning a hefty salary and enjoying lavish perquisites while running  non-perfoming Government parastatals, and feeling superior to others because of it.

“Kusautsa” means joining and partaking in the feeding trough of political patronage whilst the majority starve and wallow in poverty.

As you can be seen from the above examples which are by no means exhauustive, if left unchecked, “kusautsa” can really become a dangerous phenomenon.

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