Nobody will ever kill me
By Mbuyiseli Maloni
Published by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
A HEALTHY home is one of the fundamental elements in grooming a child and has a positive outcome in the development of the nation.
In Shona there is an adage: ‘Gavi rinobva kumasvuuriro’ which is the English version of ‘Charity begins at home’ and the family is an integral part in the upbringing of a child.
However, as divorce cases continue to rise, resulting in single-parenting, chances of raising well-adjusted children are becoming lean by the day.
According to reports from the judiciary, 1 102 couples applied for divorce in Bulawayo and Harare between January and July 2015.
These figures are for the registered civil unions and not for the unregistered customary marriages.
Psychologists note that the increased divorce rate had created a generation of children lacking parental supervision and support.
These children fail to imitate parents as their role models and try to channel their anger through alcohol abuse and smoking hazardous substances.
Some resort to dating older men and women as means to escape hardships, while others simply run away from home to live on the streets.
Nobody will ever kill me is a story based on true events in the life of Mbu, a boy from a broken family who does not even remember any motherly love.
He writes that his parents were both alcoholics and fought a lot.
Mbu recalls that as early as he can remember, his brother took care of him, while his mother spent most of her time at the shebeen.
“But my mum and he were fighting a lot.
I don’t know about what as I was too small.
So my brother Mavusi was there.
He tried to take me everywhere.
To neighbours to beg for food.
To his friends when he went to play with them.
When I was too tired to walk, he’d push me: Hamba, man — go man go.
He was not strong enough to carry me as he was still small himself.
Actually he was a very skinny boy and sometimes had a bad cough.”
A life of begging, stealing, having no love and affection, having nowhere to sleep and moving from one school to another is what characterised Mbu’s life simply because the parents did not take seriously their role of providing and protecting their children.
He writes that as he grew up, he felt his mother did not like him simply because he would disturb her sexual encounters with the different men who she always brought home.
“One night she brought an older guy back to our place.
Both of them were totally drunk and I tried my best to move away from them.
But our shack was so small that their feet were touching me while they were having sex with each other.
I am sure they did not even notice me there.
The following morning, I went to school as usual.
But that was the first day that I could not hold my tears back when my teacher asked me again why I looked so tired.”
It is un-African to see or imagine one’s parents having sex.
The general structure of the traditional houses placed the parents’ bedroom far from the boys’ and girls’ bedrooms (gota and nhanga).
Hence one would never see or hear anything from their parents’ encounters and the issue of sex remained a preserve of the adults.
Time and again people have blamed poverty for the moral decadence that has gripped Africa.
Those in prostitution blame poverty.
Those who divorce blame the economic challenges and poverty.
Those who steal blame poverty.
Even the witches blame poverty as most of them bewitch those with wealth.
Fact is, the family needs to go back to its mandate of being an institution responsible for well brought up and disciplined children who can positively contribute to the development of their country.
This includes the extended family with the uncles, aunts, nephews and grandparents, among others, ensuring that members of the family remain united.
If the family does not meet its obligations, the social media and other institutions like churches, rehabilitation homes and education institutions will instill the values that they want in their children.
And one should never count on these because they represent different interests.
“When the soccer World Cup kicked off in South Africa, I was still in prison.
We were allowed to watch most of the games on TV.
When I saw all the people on TV cheering in the beautiful stadiums all over South Africa, I thought: Look at me …sitting here in this ugly place with all the cruel guys.
The beatings and the rapes continued (in a male cell) even during the World Cup.”
Mbu writes that after all his struggles, he eventually gets a place to stay in a children’s home where he gathers strength to write and positively encourage most children who have been in his predicament.
He resolves to be a better person.
“I am still alive.
Not like my best friend, Atie or my bother Mavusi.
Nobody will ever kill me.
I don’t know what I will do after my matric.
But I want to achieve something in my life.
I will never become dependent on booze or drugs.