Being Zimbo Part 4: Ahoyi UBA, Ahoyi USA

The night my friend Vinny died, my boyfriend had been shamelessly flirting with my best friends’ cousin at a party we had gone to. Vinny was like a big brother to me and we lived in the same hood. I was 18 and Vinny must have been in his early 20s. Being so young and lacking self esteem, i watched quietly as my boyfriend embarrassed me with the b@&#%. Yes, im still bitter about it. Vinny noticing my annoyance, took my hand and said, “Lets go for a walk.”” How can you allow him to do that to you!!!”, he scolded me.He told me off for putting up with such behaviour from a boyfriend. That was one of the lifetime worth of advise he left with me that night…his way of saying goodbye. We continued to walk outside for what seemed like hours, with him lecturing me and advising me about life and guys. He had been studying UNISA and asked me what my next plan was. I was straight from high school. I told him i wanted to do UNISA as well and he said he regretted never experiencing university life and that he felt he grew up so fast with having to work and study at the same time. He advised me to go to an actual university and enjoy the experience. A few hours later, i watched Vinny die in the middle of 2nd St Extension, after the car we were in rolled 5 times. He is the reason why i ended up going to the University of Zimbabwe.

Honestly i would have preferred to go to Africa University instead back then because it was way cooler. That was where all the cool and rich kids went back in the day but my aunt was adamant about it and said AU did not have the best education which was just a misconception. UZ was known for the unruly but intelligent kids. It had a reputation for quality education and only took the “cream of the cream” but there were always strikes and students were in the forefront of politics in the Mugabe era. There were stories of hunger and chaos concerning UZ. I remember how we used to hate using official gates to exit the premises and we used the holes in fences created for emergencies and survival in case of times when there were demonstrations. There was extreme hunger at UZ with girls there being called USAs for a reason. It was an abbreviation for “unable to survive alone.” Some girls had sugar daddies who catered for their needs and those with sugar daddies would have a troop of friends who tagged along for freebies like pizza and drinks at the club. The entire time i stayed on campus at UZ i never ate from the dinning hall. I was one of the lucky few whose parents could afford to pay for a whole term’s worth of food at the supermarket, which more often than not i shared with my friends. So essentially it didn’t matter if you had enough because most times you’d have friends who needed help and we survived better as a team . Accommodation was also a problem and those without accommodation would live “illegally” with a friend on school premises and those were called “squatters”. I have great respect for those who went to UZ and especially lived on campus because life was like going to war each day…it was all about survival and surviving “smart.” You didn’t want to end up falling pregnant or making mistakes that could scar you forever because that place had the potential to make or break you. If you could survive UZ, you can survive ANYTHING in life lol.

In as much as it sounds like a horror story, im so grateful Vinny took me for a walk that night because i would never change my experiences at UZ for anything in the world. It was arguably one of the best times of my life. With all the survival tactics we had to get up to, i had an absolutely smashing time. This is where i truly fell in love for the first time and where i had my first heart break and also where i crushed a lot of hearts. It is where i learnt to drink, party in the club, copy… i mean study for tests and where i learnt to like sadza negoch goch. Before then, sadza was not “cool”. This is where i learnt the value of true friendship and enjoying the simplest of things in life like bunking lectures for walks to Groombridge Spar for some sadza and chicken stew before it became the fancy shop it is now. Romance for me at UZ was my boyfriend sharing his rice and chicken with me after his visit home. When we would fight, he’d make it up by giving me a packet of noodles and if he was very very very sorry, he’d throw in a whole bottle of 1 liter of coca cola, my favourite lol.

I came from a single sexed high school but we knew a couple of guys from other single sexed schools that we dated and hung out with. So one day, we decided to gate crush the Angolian Embassy for some free beer and free food. Rumor had it that they were celebrating their independence day that night. We decided to dress up for the event and pretend to be guests. Unfortunately our idea of dressing up at 19 or 20 was clubbing clothes…skinky tops, tight jeans, mini skirts, dropped jeans… so for a formal event, we stood out like a sore thumb. Nevertheless, they were gracious enough not to throw us out at first sight. We joined the buffet, ate like starving rats and guzzled as much liquor as we could. The guy i was dating at the time had very low alcohol tolerance so in no time he was sloshed. He began talking loudly and laughing that there were gate-crushers at the party. He took it upon himself to go to a guard to tell on us that we were gate crushers. In his drunken state he thought it was hilarious as he continued to laugh and point at us. We tried to hide from him in the crowd and him enjoying the game, would fish for us, find us, laugh and point at us some more until the guards threw us out…him included. He made up for that night to me with a box of cerevita and powdered milk, what a lucky girl i was.

6 thoughts on “Being Zimbo Part 4: Ahoyi UBA, Ahoyi USA”

  1. Dude, l was actually a ‘squatter ‘ in your room. I actually displaced you. Thanx Mags. Brought so many memories flooding back into my mind.


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