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Short Writings from Bulawayo III

Jane Morris

Publication Year: 2008

Short Writings from Bulawayo won the Literature in English category at the 2005 Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association awards. It is a book of stories, poems and non-fiction pieces that are evocative of Zimbabwe's second city and its rural surroundings. The collection from 23 contributors tells of many things: of family and friendship, or fear and death, or witches and spirits, of hunger and drought, of dreams and aspirations, of leaving home and leaving Zimbabwe, of queues and loneliness, of football and bicycles and of growing old and of love. A unifying theme of many of the stories and poems is loss - of innocence, of purpose, of love, of culture, of belonging, and of life.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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The Boy with a Crooked Head

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pp. 1-6

So I sit here. I am just as useless as my Uncle Vikitha who disappeared three days ago. There were soldiers here. Soldiers with radios that went sh…sh…sh… most . . .

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The Rhythm of Life

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pp. 7-9

The day the rains started, Pattie’s son died. It was the fifteenth of November. Craig swore they’d start that day. ‘Half way through November’ was what he always said; . . .

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Cain and Abel

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pp. 10-17

Cain sat, perched on the wooden bench outside Sango’s bottle store gulping his favourite traditional beer and contemplating murder. Two young boys were playing mini . . .

Sonnet with One Unstated Line

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p. 18-18

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Your Burden

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pp. 19-21

You cannot hear the purple petals singing lullabies to you. They are floating in the air as they fall from the green canopy onto the hospital’s red painted corrugated iron . . .

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The Concert

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pp. 22-26

Had I decided to go into music, the world would never have heard of Joseph Shabalala and his Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Mother says long before I could talk, my singing . . .

Butterflies Drift into the Edges of our City Life

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p. 27-27

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The Ambulance

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pp. 28-31

It had become something of a ritual for the neighbourhood to stop and watch the ambulance go boiling up the hill. There had been no fuel for nine months and so the sight . . .

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Paying to Die

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pp. 32-35

Dying is not easy. That probably explains why some end up killing themselves violently. Death has a bad habit of sniffing at you, going round in circles, sizing you . . .

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Hands

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pp. 36-41

The aging man studied his long bony fingers. The drying, tough skin stretched ever more tenuously across them, revealing little about the use to which he had put . . .

Ode to Departed Writers

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pp. 42-44

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Jock Sherlaw

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pp. 45-51

His sign board, which is egg-yellow lettering (a sort of rakish, hand-drawn italic) on a white background, has seen better days in more senses than one. It is now well worn . . .

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Uncle Benny

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pp. 52-56

Darkness slowly began to crowd the room where I sat wondering when Uncle Benny was going to come. Fullness and emptiness almost equally shared the space that . . .

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A Secret Place

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pp. 57-62

It was Saturday night when Franky died and the moon was everywhere. I was watching tv with Mary in the living room when the doorbell rang. I thought . . .

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id i

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pp. 63-72

A thick cloud of dust creeps over the houses. From under the barber’s thorn tree, one can see the green finger of a pine pointing accusingly at the afternoon sky above the corrugated . . .

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A Matter of Statistics

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pp. 73-77

Living in Bulawayo and working in Gwanda. For the Development Worker that meant a comfortable rented house with pool in the posh suburb of Kumalo and a . . .

Drinking with Hitler

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p. 78-78

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Forgiveness

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pp. 79-84

MaMoyo did not remember how she got home. She and MaSibanda had never expected this. As mothers on their own they had pooled their resources and survived, getting . . .

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Another Day

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pp. 85-90

The gardener came and knocked on the bedroom window early in the morning. Irritated, Trevor, shirtless, went to peer outside. He had already warned the gardener not . . .

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Pay Day

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pp. 91-93

Somewhere in the streets and avenues of my city, there is the screeching of brakes accompanied by wild insults and vulgar curses. There is the swishing of women’s dresses, . . .

Native

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pp. 94-95

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Tearing the Curtain

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pp. 96-102

This is my sixth quart of Lion Lager. I am beginning to get drunk. I hardly ever drink these days, beer, like everything else in this country, being so viciously expensive. Being . . .

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Home Sweet Home

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pp. 103-106

When Grant Terrier heard that his father, Foxie, and last remaining relative in Zimbabwe, had died at the Edith Duly Home for the elderly, he decided to revisit his . . .

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Itekiya

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pp. 107-110

The naked child materialized from the bush and walked with determination towards us. My wife gave me an uneasy glance and moved back a step. Perhaps she thought . . .

The Matriarch

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p. 111-111

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The Harare Hermit

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pp. 112-115

As I melt into the Harare crowd, I become defensive. I take on a Hararean consciousness. Everyone in Harare is a potential thief, not so much by design or want, but by some . . .

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The Road

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pp. 116-120

The green lawns, that once surrounded the TB hospital, had turned into desert and the flower beds, that had ameliorated the suffering of the inpatients, looked . . .

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The Silent Prince

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pp. 121-124

The man sat pensively, his restless hands constantly moving. Glistening beads of sweat rolled down his face. Although his head was bowed, he was listening intently to the . . .

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The Request

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pp. 125-130

Confidence drew his pen to the top of the page. He lowered its nib slowly, counting the handwritten figures under his breath as he went along. Halfway down, his problem . . .

Metaphysica

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p. 131-131

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The Jazz Goblin and His Rhythm

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pp. 132-138

Independence Day, Wednesday, 18 April 2001. I still remember the morning clearly enough. Save for my suitcase and sax, the bulk of my grubby belongings were still . . .

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One by One My Leaves Fall

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pp. 139-142

“We are gathered here today to pay our last respects to our departed sister. She has been a friend to most of us, a shining light in the community, but above all a . . .

Contributors

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pp. 143-149

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780797443358
Print-ISBN-13: 9780797431317

Page Count: 156
Publication Year: 2008

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