No place like home

Just got back from emzansi (South Africa) and I must say, its such a relief to be back home. The city of light does have its merits but damn, it was one of those places where I said to myself, I just could never live there. I mean, I have been to India, the country has a billion plus population and traffic is a jungle, literally. But I could live there.  SA on the other hand, although less crowded is just something else. You really have to know where you are going and South Africa’s middle name is ‘one-way’. Apart from having to deal with the maze of M1s and N1s as labels of roads, you have to be on a constant move on on a speed of anything between 100-120K/Hr if you are moving slow. I must say, not a single pothole did I see on any of the roads and the cars cascaded carefree like skating on ice. Also, all the cars seemed brand new and Audis and Fortuners (my dream car) competed for prominence on the highways. The other thing is SA hotels are very professional and where I was staying, people were very courteous, or tried to be after finding out I was Zimbabwean. Dont know if this partly explains why one house keeper walked in on me half naked after tapping lightly on my door, announcing ‘housekeeping’ then walking in without giving me a chance to respond. She apologized profusely but with that stoic fuck-off look that I often saw cross the faces of many South Africans starting from the airport, when they realize you are Zimbabwean. Speaking of which, my sister who stays in Randfontein was telling me she has not been going to work because if you are Zimbabwean and you’ve got little kids, they are always at the mercy of child traffickers or other rowdy people who often target Zimbabweans in drunken stupor or just need a target on which to vent their frustrations. Life is that dangerous for Zimbabweans, and you cant just trust anyone to keep an eye on your kids, it makes more sense to get a relative to come live with you and look after them. I wanted so much to meet my sister while I was there, but colleagues kept discouraging me from going to Joburg city because after all on the news – armed robberies – hostages and all – were reported to have taken place in three malls. Although I was in what others told me was a reasonably safer area (Sandton) I still couldn’t help looking over my shoulder now and then each time I walked anywhere alone. Worse, the Courtyard Hotel where I was  staying, there was the Gautrain building project going on there right next to it and a lot of the road had been sealed off. So there was a set of steps that were constructed specifically to go over the road and directly to the hotel. Each time I walked over those steps I imagined one of the construction workers making a grab at me. Thankfully the hotel itself was a world of its own, white linen, excellent food, warm air and lots of fresh greenery. Towards the end of my stay, the Gautrain project posed a damper on this otherwise heavenly bliss. Somehow, they struck one of the main water pipes supplying the neighborhood and water was gushing out aiming for the sky in gallons. There was minimal water supply which forced some of us to bath with cold water on a cold August night but what really struck me was the presence of the JW (Johannesbrg Water) trucks that appeared on the scene just seconds after the pipe burst. I was on my way back home the next day and could not help thinking back on the time I was still staying with my parents and the guys fixing potholes in the area accidentally struck a water pipe. It was months before it got fixed and each time, the city council either did not have fuel or all the cars on standby were not working. I landed at Harare International airport and thought, how so dead the place seemed, and there was no electricity. The person who came to pick me up immediately got clamped just as he stopped because he was ‘on the wrong end of the line’ and we had to part with $20 just minutes after I landed. On the way home, one had to navigate all the potholes at snail pace because one risked bursting a tyre or completely damaging the engine if yo landed in any of the craters that decorate our highways. I thought, its such a pity to watch a beautiful peace-loving country like this one crumble under man-made disasters. But nevertheless, here was a place I could breathe easy and walk freely without anyone asking for my passport each time I want to by something. I wouldn’t be any place else, not for any amount of gold egoli.


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