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The Buhera teacher

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The Buhera teacher

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DUMISANI KUFARUWENGA

The skool’s name is St Bernard Chimvuri. It is in Chief Chitsunge’s area in Buhera.
“Chief Chitsunge; Gandanga reBuhera” were the words emblazoned on the Chief’s house, for the Chief regarded himself as the terror pirate of Buhera, you’d best be advised to tremble and run. For above the words aforeqouted, was a painting of a chief, yielding a knife.
The Chief’s house faced Chimvuri mountain, from which the skool’s name was derived. Yes, Chimvuri mountain where the juicy succulent berries called magwingiziri could be found, bright maroon and delicious.
In the mid to late seventies, St Bernard Chimvuri developed a reputation of being invincible.
The exploits of its soccer team were well known as far as Chirasauta, Chiturike, Hande, Mahoko, Nerutanga, St Johns Chifamba in Gaza, and places yonder.
It featured, among others, the dribbling McDee, the aggressive left footed Mhondiwa, the ruthless Costa Chikomo and a fast striker who was notorious for cheating with his hand.
And the students of St Bernard Chimvuri, led by a gifted teacher called Mr Nyamututa, would edge the soccer team on with song and dance;
“St Bernard is the darling of the heart.
Why can’t you accept, St Bernard is the darling of the heart?”
And Peminus Magunda of St Bernard would outpace everyone else in the long distance race;
“There races Chipodzana.
He’s gone, forget about catching him”
And an energetic teacher called Mr Manjengwa won accolades with the school choir.
St Bernard Chimvuri dominated in all aspects. A teacher called Cephas Nyoka coached drama and poem recitation. St Bernard Chimvuri was unbeaten when they recited the Shona poem; “The Wetlands of Buhera.”
“The wetlands of Buhera Situate west of Manyika.
The land of Vahera, Museyamwa the bull Eland.
It’s portion is settled by Vazungu, Gambiza of the big breasts, Mutungi wechitete, chikobvu chinobandika,
Hamadede,
hamandaswa”
It was a moving poem based on the need for conservation versus the destruction of the Mushuku fruit plantation by the actions of a dimwit. The dimwit who is described in the poem as “datawindi rechirume and chireshe chemukadzi,” takes a large rock to the trunk of the Mushuku tree, pounding it to shake down it’s tasty fruit, not caring whether the tree dried through his/her thoughtless conduct.
And St Bernard Chimvuri was unbeaten in the Physical Education (PE) competition where a teacher called Mr Madzivanyika drilled the learners to perform physical exercises with military precision.
The PE competition tested the ability of the contesting teams to accurately follow certain exercise routines, both in terms of posture and co-ordination. The teacher would instruct the pupils to move from one exercise routine to the other. The success of the team depended on the chemistry between the teacher and his pupils.
And St Bernard Chimvuri excelled in PE throughout the reign of Mr Madzivanyika. The pupils would stand erect in straight lines, stomach in, chest out, and a wide-eyed pupil, on cue from Mr Madzivanyika, would detach himself from the rest and run to the front and face the adjudicators, and in a confident voice yelled; “What do you want here?”
The straight jacket pupils behind the wide-eyed pupil would chorus in response;
“Peeee Eeeee”
The wide-eyed pupil would run back to his position in the straight lines of pupils, and at the command of Mr Madzivanyika’s voice, the pupils would commence well choreographed exercise routines.
Captivating!
Spectacular!
The crowd would go into a frenzy of cheering, whistling and ululating.
And St Bernard Chimvuri always won.
Until “The Teacher” came on board.
“The Teacher” was a recluse. He didn’t patronise the nearby Chimvuri bar with other teachers to partake in the waters that make men wise, and women otherwise. Neither did he participate in the rowdy drinking binges at Matimati Village near Chief Chitsunge’s house and its menacing message.
“The Teacher” lived with his wife, but the couple had no children of their own. They lived with a small girl.
The small girl could be seen walking, countless times, to and from the skool’s well which was near Father Gandiya’s house, carrying a huge water bucket.
She didn’t play with other children.
“The Teacher’s” wife was a shrew. She didn’t socialize or gossip with other ladies in the skool compound, neither did she show respect to any mere mortal, but walked instead with her nose pointed skyward, as if all humans beneath her stank to high heavens.
Nearly every evening, the wailing voice of the small girl could be heard reverberating from “The Teacher’s” house, crying out in agony and pain.
She was being subjected to a severe beating by “The Teacher’s” wife, for reasons that could not be established.
But still the beating of the small girl by “The Teacher’s” wife would not relent. It would go on into the late hours of night and into the wee hours of the morning.
It was heartrending.
And “The Teacher” would sit through it all, without uttering a word.
This notwithstanding, “The Teacher” was still appointed PE instructor for St Bernard Chimvuri after Mr Madzivanyika left.
In the year of “The Teacher’s” appointment as PE instructor, the skools athletics show was held at Holy Family Skool near Dorowa.
“The Teacher” hovered nervously around the PE team exhorting them to do their best.
Onether teacher helpfully pulled “The Teacher” aside and surreptitiously shoved a bottle of brandy into “The Teacher’s” hand. Much to everyone’s surprise, “The Teacher” drained the contents of the brandy bottle and smacked his lips with evil relish.
And suddenly, “The Teacher” was confident and energetic. He demanded more brandy, and emptied it in the blink of an eyelid.
The adjudicators called out the name of St Bernard Chimvuri.
The moment of truth had arrived.
“The Teacher” staggered into the arena with his pupils in tow, his pupils terrified to boot.
And the chaos began.
“The Teacher” stood and swayed in front of his pupils, issuing incoherent instructions in a slurred voice, staggering.
And the pupils responded in kind, colliding into each other and cursing.
Confusion.
The adjudicators saved both “The Teacher” and his pupils from further humiliation and misery.
“St Bernard Chimvuri is disqualified “
And the St Bernard team, led by the wide-eyed pupil, left the arena hanging their heads in shame, with “The Teacher” bringing up the rear, completely dazed and oblivious of, depending on which side you are, the anguish and the uproarious laughter which he had caused.
Many years later, the wide-eyed pupil wrote an article called “The Teacher,” wondering whether “The Teacher’s” domestic circumstances aforedescibed, were the direct and proximate cause of “The Teacher’s” behaviour on the fateful day.
(Dedicated to Paul
Mutandadzi, aka Matemheke, a teacher and a good-natured man)

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