AFTER soul searching and introspection, I will tell my life’s story from my deathbed. I will no longer take solace from wallowing in self-pity.

I just want to tell the truth as to why I am emaciating like the sons and daughters of Abyssinia.

This is not about evoking any emotions of pity. I want to explain why my flesh is wilting and withering away like maize stalks in the middle of a killer drought.

I was born in 1980 after years of trying for a baby by my parents. My parents made futile visits to the medical doctors and a lot more to the witch doctors.

Members of my parents’ extended families held frequent ritual ceremonies to appease the angry spirits that were preventing my mother from conceiving. I continue to endure the malicious rumour that my father was a passive contributor to my creation.

In that quest for a baby, lambs were slaughtered for burnt offerings and vows of silence were recited. Rumour reported that some villagers were forced to part with their lives in an act that was simply explained as “supreme sacrifice”. I feel sorry for all those who died to ensure that my mother’s womb would nurture the zygote that turned to be me.

News of my birth spread around villages far and near. Village heads, idiots, emissaries and sages came to pay tribute to what was not this skeleton.

I was told that some of the visiting dignitaries sang mellow tunes including the song No zygote woman, no cry baby to herald my arrival.

I received gold ingots, silver ornaments, livestock and other paraphernalia except frankincense and myrrh as gifts. The lack of frankincense and myrrh was a reminder that even although I was not cheaply conceived, I was not the Son of Man. This, however, does not diminish the fact that my birth was celebrated as if I was the Messiah who was going to save the village.

Although I was literally born with a silver spoon in my hand, I started showing signs of failing to thrive at an early age. I was told that this was due to the forestalling actions of a supposedly jealous uncle of mine who felt that my birth had scuppered his sons’ chances of being heirs.

The ensuing acrimony was disabling. My relatives fought battles of attrition. Death stalked the village for almost four years before the peace pipe was smoked. The memories of the peace pact signing ceremony still linger in my degenerated brains as if it was yesterday.

With the dust settling, my father let things roll naturally. This precipitated a less bumpy transition from boyhood to manhood for me. I marked my 20th year with pomp and ceremony despite my father having squandered all the gold, silver and other presents that I had received as a toddler.

Strange men with slits for eyes had taken the gold, weird men with garlic breath had bargained for the silver and men with unfamiliar accents took the rest.

This new poverty streak was compounded by the resurgence of Uncle Tee. He accused dad of profligacy before enlisting the support of disgruntled villagers to challenge dad’s prodigal ways with the family fortunes. The sunset villages were instrumental on dad’s onslaught.

Dad and his village friends responded by confiscating all the cattle belonging to the sunset villages that strayed to our village.

As we became poorer our former friends became our worst critics. The gods turned against us too. Pestilence, drought, hunger and disease visited us. People just died miserably due to the state of artificial siege.

Dad uncannily milked this situation by assuming a wicked siege mentality. In his spiteful wisdom, he courted the sunrise villages for assistance in his attempt to silence Uncle Tee and his backers.

The internecine battles between my dad and Uncle Tee turned me into a nervous wreck. Could I have been the source of the acrimony? I was affected. I could not openly defy my father, or so-called father because of the norms imposed by culture.

I could also not challenge Uncle Tee’s actions because of a nagging feeling that he was my biological father.

This tore me into shreds. I started using drugs and I explored my self-assumed virility on women of ill-repute. I slowly mutated into a moving skeleton. Disease was with me and I was with disease; name any infectious disease and chances were that I had an over-infection of it.

I was inflicted with the disease of violence, the disease of suffering, the disease of hunger, the disease of shame, the disease of anger, the disease of poverty, the disease of maladministration and the disease of diseases.

No-one noticed that I needed help until it was too late. I started sleeping rough on the streets. I ended up being picked up by passers-by as I lay writhing from the discomfort of my disease-laden body.

The doctors at the intensive care unit say that I was as dead as a dodo. I do feel dead and I need someone to resuscitate me.

This is not the story of our Zimbabwe, it is the story of the making of Zimbabwe Ruins.

Masola waDabudabu is a social commentator

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