Glen Norah B

Waking up in Glen Norah B on a Saturday morning was dramatic on a sensory level to say the least. I can still smell that morning boil of the maguru and mabhonzo that my mother would make for my step father and his prying greedy friends. They would be desperately trying to drown the effects of the bhabharasi caused by the alcohol binge from the previous night. Hoza Friday it was called. Hoza Friday was a guaranteed event especially for drinking men and daring women who could brave the bar on Friday night. It was then that they would take time to themselves after work, wind down from the stresses of the week, drink like fish and dance like there was no tomorrow. The Saturday brunch menu was maguru, pigs’ trotters, mabhonzo or mazondo served with sadza and fried collard greens glistening with generously drizzled cooking oil. I don’t think I ever recall anyone talking of dieting back then. The more your family was nice and round, the more well taken care of they reflected to society. This “African Goulash“, like maguru, unfortunately took forever to cook so the pot would be put early morning on the stove but they would attract roaming flies that would harass you until you woke up.

Living in such close proximity to each other at the flats, families displayed all sorts of subtle showing off. Our flat was one of the “fancy” ones with Old Mutual employees living there. By fancy I mean it had a durawall, a bit of a lawn and the pink and white paint job was still decent. Other flats had no sign of a lawn at all. At least our lawn existed…even in patches…it was still a lawn nonetheless and a source of admiration and attraction to our flat. The lawn was mostly destroyed by us, the kids, with our daily nhodo, dunhu and pada escapades. The boys liked playing soccer, the ball expertly crafted from paper and plastic bags. Soccer was usually a match against kids from the other flats outside the durawall on the open area and there the boys would get up to all sort of nonsense. Their shenanigans are a story for another day.

You would hear the mabhodhoro guy with his ngoro on his early morning hustle shouting his lungs out pleading to exchange your empty bottles for maputi or mazadzadama which were huge yellowish orange sweets that could fill up a little child’s cheeks. These were my favorite weekend treats. The verandas would be glowing, after a generous splurge of cobra was plastered,dried and shined on the floor. The women must have had some sort of silent competition on whose floor shone the best. All floor polish at this point was called cobra…just like how washing powder was Surf and all toothpaste, Colgate. Zimbabwe especially back then in the early 90s was the “pride land” of any marketer. Coca cola would be the Christmas brand alongside rice and chicken.

I remember all 12 households on the flat would contribute for a massive Christmas party each year and a family would volunteer to host it at their house. We displayed our body and waist shaking skills to Rumba. My mom made me a camouflage guvhu out top and mini skirt to dance in. I took dancing seriously. Before I discovered any other talent, dancing was IT for me. I would first wear my new fancy Christmas outfit which was a must for the big entrance and arrival to the party where I’d expect other kids’ jaws to drop at the sight of my amazing sense of fashion. We would eat so much food and when we were nice and full, our tummies protruding, we were ready to show off our moves. I would run home to change into my dancing outfit that would match my overly confident alter ego. I would request for Yondo sister, Kanda Bongo Man or Pepekale and display my new jive for the year that I would have practiced for weeks prior to the party, with my mother shouting “Chops…. chops …..chovha George…” in the background. I have no idea where that statement was derived from. I just knew when she said it, it gave me more groove and confidence as I wriggled my body and my friends with stiffer bodies would try to copy me with more weird sharp jerking moves. “ Hende bhebhi…chiiiisaaaa” the mothers would cheer us on and we would continue for hours to entertain the adults with some cracking up at our dance moves. My moves weren’t necessarily funny as I was a pro and the queen of rumba… I don’t mean to toot my own horn but it’s true…i was good. Shame, come to think of it, it was probably my poor friends’ moves that they were laughing at.


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