Brian Chikwava, Harare North (2009)

Harare North

In the sky one big mama cloud is gathering all its children around sheself. I look at she and she look at me with she big face. My feeties, they take off again. Out of the park. The air hold still, something shift but I am still among the living and I breeze through them Brixton streets like the winds as darkness fall down like dust on Harare North. I can walk. I can’t smile. I get hungry. My feeties is vex, my stomach is crying and I am walking into them mental backstreets; I want Marks & Spencer’s food.

To the left of Marks & Spencer’s bins, some distressed cry for help rip through unlit air. I turn my head to look: there is brain-jangling argument exploding between two people. Shingi is still not sober but sober enough to be frightened. He is stepping backward and shouting for help. The big tramp in front of him is holding sharp instrument, wearing T-shirt only and pair of dark underpants. Before I can even shout his name Shingi have drop his bag of food and bolt down dark alleyway. I hold my screwdriver tight.

I have not even take a dozen steps but I know that the winds have already rip the sky open; two drops of rain have already find my face on them backstreets of Harare North.

I get to the alleyway. There is no sign of anything. I run to the next turn and I see them turning into another backstreet; Shingi is now limping and the tramp’s bum jumping in the air like heap of jelly. But he is no chasing the tramp.

“Shingi, Shingi,” I shout. They disappear.

“Shingi,” I call. Above us a big mama cloud throw down one of she children—some big bale that come down crashing onto the streets like great water sachet soaking everything. I get glimpse of Shingi ahead and call his name; water run down my face and go inside my mouth. Big mama o’ she throw sheself down at them pointy roofs and church spires—they rip through she and she splash into tatters on the streets of Harare North. I see Shingi soaked; his trousers heavy with the blood of big mama, he holds onto them and hobble into shadows of tall buildings. That’s the last I see of him.

—Brian Chikwava, Harare North. (2009). London: Vintage, 2010. pp.184-6.