SOWE rekuDomboshava had been the pastor’s choice.
He had said that there was power in those mountains; power to unlock God’s favour.
His sermon on God’s favour had been inspiring.
He had said: “God’s favour will give you the job you don’t qualify to have.
“God’s favour will give you the spouse everyone thinks you don’t deserve.
“God’s favour will open doors for you.
“God’s favour will get you the visa to the UK and the US nyore nyore with no questions asked.”
Half-way up the mountain, the guide had called for a rest, not because he thought the flock needed it but in order to give himself the chance to straighten the concept of ‘God’s favour’ in his head.
He thought that the meaning of ‘God’s favour’ was not self-defining or self-sustaining.
It alarmed him to realise that to seek and accept God’s favour was also to accept it as discrimination and the pain it brought onto the victims.
He tried to reconcile the segregation to the image of the same God as the embodiment of love.
He felt the load sagging his ‘faith’.
The pastor had called for a song yenyasha and a good singer had raised one.
It was a solemn, soul-searching psalm.
The solemnity was, however, soon overwhelmed by a contest of tongues calling out ‘Eriya, Mikairi’ and ‘Jehovah Jireh’.
And then the pastor had called for vanhu vemweya to share their visions.
A woman said she had seen a bright light streak across the sky from the east to the west.
A powerfully-built young man said, “I saw a blue tracer fired into the night sky going east to west.”
The pastor asked: “What is a tracer?”
The powerfully-built young man explained: “It is a bullet that is used to mark a target.
“In the night, it appears as a brightly-coloured light.”
The woman who had seen a bright light streak across the sky from the east to the west said: “You have just described the light I saw in my vision.”
The woman who wanted the favour of a promotion said, “Would you mind to say that again?”
The powerfully-built young man talked about the bullet fired into the night sky again.
“I think that is what I was calling a star.
“So, it was actually a bullet that I saw!”
Her excitement was infectious and, the other woman said: “Me too.”
In the soft moonlight, the pastor was visibly not amused.
He said nothing.
A man who had noticed the pastor’s displeasure hesitated and then said: “I saw armed men singing pamusorosoro pegomo.”
Tension followed the vision.
The flock had earlier been warned kuti: “Tauya kumasowe kwete kupungwe.”
The old guide tried to diffuse the tension: “Please be aware that battles were fought in this very mountain during the liberation struggle.
“Some comrades who lost their lives were actually buried in this mountain.
“This means that some of the visions you are seeing are actually the spirits of those fallen heroes trying to reach out to you.
“They are not demons as some people might be inclined to think.”
The aspiring legislator swore under his breath: “Oh come on man!”
The curse was audible enough and the flock turned heads in his direction.
He looked down, his shoulders stiffening in expectation of a reproach.
A big woman rose, curtsied three times and said: “I personally think they are demons.
“Good spirits are supposed to rest in peace and await the day of judgment.
“We are not supposed to entertain the spirits of the dead more so if they died fighting.
“They probably were killed because they were also killers.
“Does the Bible not say that those who live by the sword also die by the sword?”
The pastor appeared relieved but said nothing as if waiting for someone else to support the woman.
He did not have long to wait.
The aspiring Member of Parliament cleared his throat and said: “I think madzimai is right.
“We cannot entertain the spirits of men who died by the sword.
“We must ask ourselves what is making their spirits not rest in peace.
“Besides, those people you call comrades were not godly men.
“They consulted spirit mediums and believed in Nehanda who rejected the Christian faith and died in sin.”
The atmosphere got tense.
A small woman rose and said: “I think in all fairness it is wrong to say that those who died to give us independence are demons.
“We cannot accept and enjoy the benefits of the liberation struggle and yet condemn those who paid the ultimate price for it.”
The big woman was confrontational.
She rose up and did not curtsey three times as before.
She turned her massive bulk to face the small woman and talked down to her: “Regai nditaure ndichiti – No-one died for me except Jesus.
“I was bought by the blood of Jesus and not some war veteran.
“I am in this mountain to ask for God’s favour for a visa so that I may leave you and your veterans and your fallen heroes with the poverty they brought upon us.”
The small woman was not intimidated.
She asked, “So, how did our independence come about?”
The aspiring Member of Parliament beat the big woman to the answer: “What independence are you talking about?”
The old guide rose up and began the climb.
The pastor and his divided flock followed his lead.
The moon was high up and the mountain slope was as clear as daylight.
You could pick a needle in the grass.
A prayer warrior fished his phone out of his garment to check the time.
It was 10:30 pm.
He thought that there would be three more stops before they got to the summit scheduled for midnight.
He was putting the phone away when an idea hit him and he scampered up ahead of others, positioned himself against a boulder and took snapshots of the labouring flock.
The G-Tel tablet had a superb camera and in the bright moonlight the high definition images looked like magic.
But what really impressed him was the image of the lichen-dappled brown granite.
The obvious suddenly hit him and it was that the name ‘Domboshava’ had come from the colour of the granite.
He waited for the old guide to get to him and he showed him the lichen-dappled brown granite and told him his discovery.
The guide said: “Of course, that is what Domboshava means.
“Did you not know?’
To be continued