Some things never change

Mrs Naidoo grabs my face with both hands and plants a fat kiss on my lips. You would never think we have just been introduced. But its New Years Eve and the sense of community in the Barham Green Hall in contagious. Mrs Naidoo knows my husbands fathers sister well and lived next to my husbands cousins in Barham Green for years.

She remembers my husband well when he and his younger brother rode their BMX bikes down Volshenk drive. Time has affected so much of life in Zimbabwe but this community is still heralding in the New Year the way it has for years.

The big dance floor is surrounded by trestle tables, each with a couple of cooler boxes underneath supplying the drinks. Despite the fact that it is well past midnight, the festivities are far from winding down. In true community fashion the crowd is of every age. Attractive young people dance and chat and flirt with each other. I have no doubt that each outfit has been carefully planned for the occasion and hours have been spent straightening hair and applying makeup.

Our eyes drift over the colourful crowd to where the same Mrs Naidoo is twisting her 70-something self down on to her haunches while a circle of fans cheer.

The live band changes gear and brings their version of Frank Sinatras My way. An older couple take to the floor and I can tell theyve danced together at many a new years party at the BG Hall. She follows him around the floor not so much because he is giving strong guidance but because she knows well what his next move will be.

The band plays a version of Doo Be Doo, the song that made South African band Freshly Ground such a success six or seven years ago. We get to our feet instantly. Thats what happens when the spirit of an occasion determines the next move. Our cousins from Botswana have come for this very party and the dancing frequently gets interrupted with loud greetings and embraces from old friends.

At 3am the band stops playing and just as abruptly the fluorescent lights are switched on instantly extinguishing the atmosphere. Over the microphone feedback I make out the announcement, The band is finished playing. Well be sending a hat around the hall if it collects enough cash well play for another hour. It is business after all!

We decide it might be our cue to quit. BG Hall parties are notorious. As we walk to the car my husband mused at what more light in the parking lot might reveal. It isnt hard to figure out where too much alcohol and sexy outfits can lead on New Years Eve. Our guests stay a half an hour longer and leave when a fist fight breaks out on the dance floor.

It was a fun night and I enjoyed the glance into my husbands past. As the two of us walk to the car hand in hand we are excited about the varied cultures of our city and the prospect of another year here loving the people of ZIMBABWE

Post published in: Opinions

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