Creative Content

Umjolo, The Dating: Part 1

*Phone beeped

“Dear Mdali, please let it be an ecocash text !”,

I lamented in anguish. Umjombo is a whole different type of buhlungus. Understand this ,being broke on it’s own is bearable-nyana but being a broke boyfriend is a whole 6 feet of the pits. Harare water I tell you bandla. That wasn’t the day. The gods of umjolo had finally answered my prayers. It was a message from Mukuru. A whole Mukuru message bazalwane. Free pass and free money, my day was made. Sofia had outdone herself this time. I was impressed. It’s not everyday you get boyfriend allowance. Her hair business was booming. And for some odd reason she was genuinely generous with her money. Was she okay ? Bulawayo women don’t part with money like that. But yazini, she did, and who was I to say no to miracles.

I kicked my socks off and headed straight to the shower. If we’re being honest,  I headed to the drum to get my bath water. Shower ? In Zimbabwe? KoBulawayo ? BCC would start selling unicorns and stands would be given fairly. Quick bath as usual. Face, Armpits and endaweni then I was off to collect what was rightfully mine. I found myself running to the bus stop. Something about money makes people behave strange. But I swear I am not those people. I’m the type to say Bayanya if something exceeds my budget by 10 rand. The queue for Zupco greeted me with open arms .And the wait at the bus stop started.

A Zupco bus finally emerged from a distance. It was one of those death looking ones. The Sipho Sami Kind. With that passport office looking queue I wasn’t going anywhere. The best solution would have been to cut in line but that’s reserved for the police, ogogo and people with death wishes. My mission became uncertain for a while but the gods of umjolo still had my back. Two Zupco mtshovas came to my rescue. I was still at the back of the queue but most people were not comfortable parting with 32 bond. Not me. I had money then. From Fia of course. I had to act the part. And I was behind time. As if I even had an agenda. Maybe I would be one of HnS people who spend the day loitering after I got my money. Or not.

KwaNkomo here I come! , I said. A bit too loud but no one heard. Thank heavens for these suffocating masks.Maybe they did hear but no one really cared. Generally no one cares in this city. Well unless if there’s a short skirt, feja feja or mob justice in progress.  uWindi womtshova  by Ma9Nine played the whole way. I felt the taut was making a point. The song got stuck in my head like that other controversial one As’phelimoyo . I swear these songs needed Shisha speakers. I missed the groove. The journey was the shortest ever. Drop off point; Edgars . Mukuru was right there. The one between Takawira and Fort street. Yes, where there are thieves ,police and money changers. The street before uMdala’s statue.

***

The queue at that Mukuru orange booth was surprisingly short. Mihlolos at play. While on the queue I had some weird thoughts and questions. Why is it all Mukuru outlets are next to Chicken Inn ? And what if Fia decided to pass by ? Like do we buy lunch with the money she just gave me or we use hers ? App-a-Combo maybe ?The queue moved. I’m still waiting for a thing that doesn’t need queuing in this city. Boom, I was in, quick fast I was a few dollars richer. Bazalwane get this, money has an aroma. Straight after collecting my hard earned money I met the one and only Yvonne at the corner. I should have ran. But hayi no. The dlozis refused. She was my kryptonite. In my past life. Or the next life if Fia saw my reaction to seeing her.

Vovo was an old fling. The die hard ex. That ex that could shake a relationship by sending a “Ungaphi ” text. She was hypnotic. You’d swear wangidlisa but Fia had my heart. Part of it. The rest was taken by the groove and Red Cafe. YV was in this beautiful designer dress. Probably one of the Bakhar limited editions. She popped out in it, her hair fell gracefully on her shoulders . I could see her soul through her eyes. Well I could only see her eyes in that mask. The Corona VIP front seat mask, not my Zambia one. Her make up was on a level I didn’t understand. Does it not stain the mask ? She had me confused. She smelt like money. I was drawn to it like the church offering basket. Well, I wasn’t about to look broke around her. My new aroma should’ve been loud too. That boyfriend allowance.

Ah, Ukhona ! She said.

“Ngingaya nga shuwa stranger ?” , I responded as flat as I could. But deep down I wanted to kiss her ankles and ask for lunch before she did. That way we’d debate a bit and probably part ways. The other gender escapes bills like the other gender escapes parenting responsibility . Did I mention she was a foodie ? You don’t win a food related debate or bill battle with those people. You lose. Always. Its like trying to con Fia out of ukumkweta, it just doesn’t work. Ever. Ngeke. So lunch it was.

Injani icorona ? She asked , and that is where she lost me for a second. Who asks such questions vele ? I mean. None of the responses that came to my mind were safe. I was channeling my inner Godini demon, but this was Vovo. I had to be nice. She had money.
“Fine thank you, eyangini injani”, I was tempted to say but she noticed her mistake and she laughed a bit. That was a tactic I figured. Soon as we stopped laughing, she asked for lunch. Again I ask, whose idea was it to have Mukuru close to Chicken Inn ? If Sofia could see me then , my body would instantly become a stuffed animal. A wig stand maybe. Her wrath was as strong as her affection for me. I mean she fell for me, a beardless barbie looking broke human. Oksalayo, I accepted Vovo’s request and we got in for a quick bite. For old time’s sake she said. Liar ! We ate lunch and I got carried away. We left the spot holding hands. This is what she wanted. Guess who I found outside ?In her Honda fit. In front of abantu, the people. (Side note: Hold hands in Bulawayo at your own risk.) Bulawayo is too small. This was it. I was about to become an article. Ingundukazi front page. This was the end for me. My life was going to be at the mercy of #Ndebeletwitter . Maybe I was just overreacting. But you know who it was. Such a witness is capable of murder. Social murder. She was going to tell the world. You guessed it. It was…

Part 2

Disclaimer: None of the events here are real. It’s all fiction. The names are however very real.

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