So, one day I am sitting at the usual rendezvous in the ghetto. It’s a concrete member of the municipality drainage. We call it the Place. The drainage is no longer functional. Like always, I have company.
They are fellow idle youths from the vicinity. They call themselves hustlers of the ghetto, they are survivors; we are all survivors. Some make a living selling anything they put their stealthy hands on. I am not part of that process.
One of them is Homey, a house owner who inherited after the death of his parents. He calls himself a junior landlord. He boasts he is one of the youngest home-owners in the suburb. He provides shelter to homeless people, he adds.
Because of that, he states there is no reason to work because he earns enough every month from rents, enough to make employed people envy his status.
Then there is Flashy.
He claims all his immediate family are in the diaspora. If he has to work, it will be for flexing his muscles only, not that he actually needs the cash. He has enough on him, already. Each day he sports the latest regalia to show off his affluence.
Ghetto rumour has it that Flashy could have been in the diaspora himself, but he was deported at the airport. But he does not agree to that, he says it was his democratic right to be here. We do not complain. He is an asset when greenbacks are wired, come month-end. The rumour adds that he squandered money to purchase a residential stand but he spent all the money with his friends.
One day we are the mango tree, at Homey’s residence. We are drinking the remnants of yesterday’s beer.
The ghetto is not a place for the faint-hearted; it requires grit and tenacity. You have to make a plan to survive. Just like bra Sixpence.
We call him this because he was born during the days of the old currencies, before independence. That was a long time ago but he calls himself part of the gang. He is neither married nor does he have any children. He prefers to be a liberated man, according to his own expressions.
Funerals are occasions to meet. Together with my gang, we stroll there to see what is happening. It’s a funeral wake for a fellow who was hot in Johannesburg. The funeral has lasted the past two months before the body was transferred back home. Many amongst the gang are reluctant to attend the funeral but I beg them to.
“But muface uye anga asingatenge hwahwa mhani,” correctly points Homey.
“I am just going because you are also going,” he adds.
“Aitokundwa nesu anaFlashy takaramba kuenda diaspora,” cuts in Flashy.
It’s scary how people chose to remember someone after his death in the ghetto. – Derick MatsengarwodziPost published in: Letters to the Editor