BLAST FROM THE PAST with Lawrence The Penpusher Moyo


Uzakambila kuwofesi. The offender was pushed and shoved as the slogan tumbled out of the
village policemen.Uzakambila kuwofesi.
Some policemen did not need to handcuff you. Their hands served the same functional aspect of
handcuffs. Who would dare escape the tight grip of Madayi? There was no time to
explain.Uzakambila kuwofesi was the slogan.
The offenders were mostly arrested in beerhalls and soccer grounds where they caused public
disturbance. The other group that faced the same consequences were makawalala. Some of these
thieves dared to steal in broad daylight hence they were chased by residents who shouted kawalala
kawalala while in hot pursuit. Those kawalala whose legs did not have enough adrenalin to move
them fast were caught and mob justice instantly meted out. Some were speed merchants who
outpaced their pursuers and disappeared without trace.
Once a naughty mubhoni always a naughty mubhoni. Boys and girls were both naughty because they
played together. They targeted a busy road at night and tied a wire across the road from waste bin
to the other waste bin across the road.
The little rascals would then hide nearby to watch the drama unfolding. Pedestrians in their sober
state or drunken stupor were trapped and fell down with a thud much to our ear deafening laughter.
We then ran helter-skelter in different directions.
Cyclists were not spared as they were also felled down. However, sometimes we never got away
with it as we were identified by the victims and reported to our parents who as usual were a
dreaded lot. They used a mulberry stick known as mrubheni to beat the hell out of us.
Our parents were a no nonsense lot. I vividly remember a childhood friend whose fingers were fried
by his mother for stealing in the house. The sight of the fried fingers instilled a lot of fear in us but
the urge to misbehave could not be resisted. We sucked condensed milk from its container and stole
sugar. Unfortunately a child who stole sugar was easily noticed because he or she could swing the
guilty arm as he/she bolted out of the house.
Despite all these misdemeanours, we had utmost respect for the sanctity of the dead. We all sat
down at the sight of a funeral procession and stood up when the procession had passed us. Parents’
bedrooms were no-go areas unless special permission was granted. We never bathed with adults in
public bathrooms. All elders were regarded as our parents. Zikomo musale bwino.

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