Girls liked to keep up appearances. They could do anything to look beautiful. They crushed brown stones and smeared the brown powder on their faces to look gorgeous. The hair was stretched and glittered due to over-applied cooking oil.
The legs were shiny with petroleum jelly and “maliposa” was the most sought after footwear. The most common hairdo was vikuti or mabhanzi. A combination of all this qualified the girls to attract glances from boys. At this stage the girl was called Mzumba, Chunke, Mlapsusu, Gero, Bhebi etc.
Boys were however so obsessed with playing plastic balls. There was no referee to control our matches. Initially there were no goal posts. Two stones apart represented upright bars. Gradually makeshift goalposts were introduced.
Many arguments ensued because of the absence of a referee. We did not play according to time but according to scores. The common goal target was 10. The first team that scored the tenth goal won the match which means there were no drawn games.
The duration of the match could also be determined by the owner of the plastic ball. The owner could take away the ball during play if he was not happy about anything or if his team was losing. Other players would then beg the owner until he released the ball or went home with the ball tucked under his armpit to demonstrate how important he was.
We kicked the ball barefooted and at times injured our toes after kicking stones. We bled from the toes but pretended not to feel any pain at all. Our toes were over-used. We used them to kick the ball directly and that was called”forogo” or “gunyu”. Shooting off target was called “Bhundu”
Later we were introduced to proper games that had the man at the centre, the referee. That’s when we got know household names like Felix Khuwadema, aCosmas, Mr Mpofu, Shasha, Mr Joe Mapholisa, Kawara, Makokondela and many more who became our famous men in the middle
Zikomo musale bwino.