Thank you for your question and no, it is not intrusive. I will try my best to answer your question.
Do You have any positive feelings about Zimbabwe?
Of course, I do. Though I consider it a pagan country, I do have some positive feelings about Zimbabwe. Growing up in Zimbabwe, I loved the nature and beauty of the land. My most beautiful childhood memories were when I was alone with nature. I loved flowers, trees, grass and animals, though sadly nature and animals are worshipped in Zimbabwe. I never once worshipped the nature or animals of Zimbabwe.
Ok, where do I start?
Well, there was this beautiful church, I think it was a Methodist or Anglican church, in Karoi where I grew up, which belonged to white people, strictly. The church gardens were absolutely enchanting, it was like something from the storybooks I used to read. After school I used to run there so I could just spend a few minutes in those secret church gardens, the beautiful lawns, the fountains, the rocks, the flowers, I can still smell the garden, especially the marigold flowers, which were my favourites.
There was a black gardener, landscaper (or garden boy as we called them) who tended the church gardens, I always had to make sure he didn’t catch me in there, sometimes I had to hide behind the shrubs. I would steal some of the flowers and put them in my jumper and take them home.
On Sundays I saw these white women, dressed in their Sunday best, entering the beautiful church, and I envied them. I so wanted to see what the inside of the church looked like, considering the outside was so glorious to behold.
Then I would play with the ants and chameleons. Oh, my favourite little creatures.
As a little girl, I spent some time at Kariba, it was just beautiful. Well, Miriam had a best friend who was a white woman whom we called, Mai Jullian. She would invite us to come to her house in Kariba during school holidays. I LOVED LOVED LOVED Kariba. It was very special to me because I grew to love the apes in Kariba.
The baboons were ever so majestic, I would peak through the back window watching these human-like animals behave like one of us. I found them to be the most fascinating creators ever created. Where they cursed humans? I wondered.
I loved Kariba, but it was scary too. We almost got killed by an elephant once. I was so scared, I didn’t make things easier for everyone, it was a miracle that the angry elephant let us go.
Oh then I have memories when I was a little girl, standing on green landscapes and watching peacocks. Miriam used to come and stand behind me…as I watched the peacocks. The peacock memories are very strange to me, almost bitter sweat. Like it was more than just watching peacocks…
I grew up in a valley, a swamp rather, my former father Chief Mutota built his mansion in a valley. It was rather a dangerous place to build a house because it bred snakes, from green mambas to puff adders. I grew up seeing snakes and saw them being killed so I learnt how to. One day there was no man around, and a big snake appeared from nowhere. Miriam knew the names and breeds of snakes very well. When it saw me and Miriam it hid in a hole. I burnt a rubber and put it where the puff adder was hiding. It came out like a coward and I took bricks and stoned it to death.
Oh and talking about bricks, I made a brick hut from scratch for these beautiful chickens Miriam had started keeping. I had grown to love the chickens so much I made them a beautiful little cosy home. But my heart was so broken when someone came at night and killed all the chickens in a very scary barbaric way.
I also hated slaughtering chickens by the way, it traumatized me, but Miriam made sure it was my main job because apparently its the job of the Zimbabwean girl child to kill chickens.
So to answer you my reader, besides the chickens being killed, everything I said above is my most cherished memories of growing up in Zimbabwe, yes including killing that great snake.
The rest, the culture, the traditions, the beliefs of mothers being sacred, the abusing of the girl child, the totems and abominations that comes with it, all done in the land of Zimbabwe, I absolutely abhor with a perfect hatred, because it’s the culture that kept me captive and allowed my abusers to torment me. That is the main reason why I denounced the country, it failed me.
Hope that answers your question for your project on culture clashes.
Mary-Tamar was Jean.