HomeOpinion & AnalysisMusings of an ageing man

Musings of an ageing man

Mathabelazitha/The anvil BY ZIFISO MASIYE

Go Thee Well Nqobile! BraNqoza Wamampela! Gone!

All them beautiful souls are on the other side now. Just how lonely can life be?

Brash, engaging, impromptu, unplugged, insanely wired and unorthodox… if ever there was one jolly, happy-go-lucky fella, that was he! Deeply humane, soulful and deeply loving in his angry, almost vengeful way, Nqobile was uneconomic with his opinion and ruthless with the truth….BraNqobza was as crazy as they come, an emotional ball of courage and energy, always with a corky throw-it-as-it-is brick to launch at all Establishment — the man was my finer version of Dambudzo Marechera. Never quite spewed his raw anger in the pages of a book, but Nqobile died with many hair-raising blockbusters of tales half-told and burning truths untold in his gut.

When, as is often so true, I got sick of the rat race, the lofty presence, the true fakes that surround our lives everyday, when I felt desirous of a reality check, of sincerity, of genuine laughter and that true jam of old religion and zip of the soul — a day in the wild with Nqo would do the trick. So gifted with seamless knowledge of life, a ravenous passion for beauty and a great palate for the finest things in life (Nqo was as much at home with Pavarotti, Shakespeare and intricate chivalry of gentility and connoisseurs as he was with amasese and kasi-Kulture!) — yet Nqo embraced his humble station in life with such grace, and wore his Broncho unabashed!

Nqobile Richard Ndlovu was a beautiful soul. He wrote his own script and lived it honestly, the best only he deemed fit. He would not be contained in a box.

It was not uncommon that every mutual acquaintance, colleague or girlfriend would soon pull me to the side-“Hey Zii, it would appear you are bosom buddies with this super-intelligent loose cannon. What do you think could be done to reign him in, to reap the most from his great brains, but avoid his multiple rough edges?” Always I would just laugh ….” Who enjoys the honey, the bees in the sting, they must endure!”

My wife is sore. She reckons we let him down, and in many ways, as friends we failed to master the requisite patience with some of BraNqo’s annoying traits and oft sacrificed so many great dreams he dreamt. Suffice to say, lonelier and lonelier, grows my world everyday, but in the heroes acre of my heart, there, today my great buddy lies. May his great soul rest in peace.

And so it is that this has been wicked, stupendously harrowing, yet thrilling week of my aging life. We retired late and slept like logs last Friday, after our usual bingy braai chill-nights in the great society of friends and family. It has become second nature and cherished family custom to keep open gates and open arms and to play host to strangers and friends. After all, ours is a quiet, serene and peaceful neighbourhood.

But the devil loves open doors too. No sooner had my wife and I dozed off did some sneaky gang of hoodlums break in and loot our home as if it was OK Entumbane on World Looters Day! In one blink. The laughter and conversations — referee, the rallying point of the family, and the proudest feature attraction of our living room, that 50 inch LG that had seemed as permanent a feature of our lives as my very wife — gone! With it Arsenal, Brexit, Malema, Uzalo, Trump, Isibaya and Zothile’s KC Undercover and BizAdvak! And of course, our comic ZBC news hour and Murimi wanhasi!

They are all inconsolable, not knowing what Queen and Mr Bean are up to and I have had to remind them just what an average family like ours may have lost to Cyclone Idai this same week in Chimanimani! I could live with the loss of a TV set and consider it an opportunity for renewal, but the painstaking effort to rob me of my laptop, my projector, external hard-drive and backup flash drives is the unforgivable ultimate witchcraft of devilish proportions. What real use would any lumpen, motherless thief out there have of 15 years of my carefully archived repository of ideas and work material? Law enforcement dutifully popped in, took a few notes and some fingerprints, giggled and not a word since! I’m writing this angry piece at Prophet’s queue before my trip to the renowned Binga Jujuman!

I’m convinced, a man’s privacy invaded in the manner I feel is very close to understanding the trauma of a raped woman…the anger, the deep pain, the emptiness and sticky feeling of dirt, the helplessness and haplessness of insecurity and vulnerability — you could kill!

My visiting uncle’s view did little to console me but it seemed accurate “… Remember when you open your gate to the world, that there is a great price to be paid for kindness…Not all your friends are your friends mfanam!”

He also reckons that it is a sign of the times of our tough economic and livelihood situation, that the burglary floodgates were opened wide when, recently the state seemed to look the other way when unruly citizens helped themselves to private merchandise in a “licenced” national looting orgy… “Those who admire roses must not mourn the rose thorn! ”

But I am not about to allow the trauma of my week to overshadow its thrills and beautiful experiences. It is the 30th birthday anniversary of my beautiful angel daughter Zinzile. God has been absolutely amazing to me and my family and, feeling 30 myself, her great day beams a reflective light on my own tumultuous twilight. As the years roll by and each hair greys, absolutely nothing seems a greater blessing than one’s family, than peace, beaming smiles and being around one’s grandchildren.

When for the first time in many years, Ayanda, my 10-year-old SA-domiciled grandson stepped in, smiled, hugged me and told wide-eyed stories of his life and dreams, the loss of some TV and laptops ebbed away and seemed inconsequential.

Arthur Mutambara challenged me to write. I am on Page 59 of my gripping story and every paragraph is a joy to relate. Yet in the midst of my week of horror, nothing could have been so fulfilling and so thrilling as to look into my grandson’s bright inquisitive eyes and attempt to answer his questions: Why do you have so many moneys in your country?

Why do we need a president vele? What does our name Masiye mean? When I grow up Khulu, what will I be… Will I be rich and famous…? Why are we not the people on TV, instead of watching other people on TV grandpa? Whether or not I was going to die and what it meant and feels like being 53!

His questions made me reflect on how my worldview is changing over the past few years and how unimportant “important” things have become and how important those little things of life I always took for granted have become. Sleep well Nqo. Happy Birthday Zinzile… Life goes on. As I always sang that song… “Carry Sarrah, Sarrah… Whatever will be, will be… The future is not ours to see…!”

My answer to my grandson in my next instalment.

Zii Masiye (ziimasiye@gmail.com) writes elsewhere on social media as Balancing Rocks.

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