AN HYENAS VIEW OF LIFE !          - 16/1/2008      <--Prev : Next-->


A visit to Gauteng in South Africa is an experience not to be missed, especially if one's vehicle boasts Zimbabwe registration plates !!

Visiting Zimbabweans in Joburg can be identified quite easily because their mouths hand open awkwardly in a kind of looney grin, a cross between that of Disney's Pluto the dog with his tongue hanging out, and the inane leer of that hyena in The Lion King, I forget momentarily what his name is ..... was it perchance "Ed" ?

All these wonderful goods on the shelves for sale ? Oh my goodness, oh my goodness ......

My sister in law cannot get over how excited I get about the smallest things, things which actually irritate the locals, but which give me immense joy.

Bread, hot fresh, soft sliced bread, sitting in aromatic mountains on the shop shelves !! Zimbabwe bread is usually baked at home or purloined from the back door of the bakery (sans anything even remotely resembling a plastic bag ) where queues stretch as far as the eye can see.

Milk, rows and rows of icy white containers and actually purchased in a supermarket !! Zimbabwe supermarkets have not had milk for many months now, rather go with your container to an unhygienic alley and decant your litre into an old mazoe bottle (a very very very old mazoe bottle as mazoe left our shelves six months ago !!)

Oh the joy of visiting a service station and saying "fill er up !!" with a flourish !! In Zimbabwe one keeps one's fuel in a 44 gallon drum in the store room and one measures it with a wooden stick to see that it does not "evaporate" and then decants it gingerly (do not spill a drop please Sebastian( who is my faithful retainer) !!) it is liquid gold and very very desirable !!

OMG And while you are at it Seb, check the oil and water, (the last time I had my oil and water checked at a garage was about five years ago !)

And the radio, oh the glorious multitudes of channels, all worth listening too, lovely music, brilliant diction, excellent commercials, how I miss a good old fashioned radio show .....

Yesterday I went to the butchery section in a Cresta supermarket. .. (tongue lolling out a la Pluto ) ..... I fondled the meat lovingly, vacuum packed beautifully in clean strong hygienic packaging.. pink and beckoning... ..

The last time I bought meat in Zim it arrived in a bloody lump in a second hand fertiliser bag, on the back of an open truck ..... I waved aside the flies and repacked the meat into used second hand Spar carrier bags, sucking the air out through a straw, a kind of Zimbabwean vacuum speciality of which the rest of the first world is totally unaware !!

I gaze in awe at the "roller meal" the staple diet of 99% of Zimbabweans. Packaged neatly on S.A. supermarket shelves, in military rows.

I shudder as I remember my last roller meal purchase in Zimbabwe.

I was summoned secretively by "Under Cover Brother" who met me on the street corner, we drove together in chatty silence to an abandoned house in Killarney Bulawayo, where a sixty KG bag of "maize meal" was hoisted into my truck, courtesy of the Zimbabwe National Army !!

Much much changing of crisp new $750 thousand Zimbabwe dollars was undertaken, and after tasting said "maize meal" with a practised tongue to establish it was not sand, I sailed off happily with my bounty, leaving "Under Cover Brother" happily arguing with RSM Moyo about the booty !!

But back to a Zimbabwean in Gauteng in Zim registered number plates ....

I am an instant hit at every service station, every parking area, every single intersection! ! Waves, smiles, thumbs up, the open handed MDC wave..... I get an aching face and an aching arm, as I greet the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean exiles who live in Johannesburg and who are thrilled to see a Zim number plate and a friendly face from "home"..

After making excited small talk about whereabouts we are all from, and talking about the sad sad situation back home, my final spiel is always "Come home in March and vote" your country needs you like never before !!