What Once Were Vices, Are Now customs

I stood by a circular beam of light near a well-lit corner. I was clothed. Yet, I felt naked and ashamed. My thoughts were focused on the crime I had committed. I had brought dishonor upon myself, family, and nation. I had forgotten the old adage:

Do nothing to make you lose respect for yourself

How did I arrive here? I had such a promising life. Raised and nurtured by a loving couple who were devoted to their children as dusk is to night, a childhood for which no man would reflect upon with despair. I felt protected and secured in a house that needed no repairs.

I met Efe Nkona through my father. He was the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation of War Veterans. I gained her trust this way. She had ten hectares of land in the embryo of the city of Bul-a-wa-yo. Land inherited through her honorable husband, Sihanaka Nkona. It was he who fought off the invaders after the first revolutionary struggle, the Chimurenga. I remembered our conversation. It was about three years ago.

“My husband by the time he reached old age was unable to walk. All he had was his mind and a lucid ability to talk. He was a man who fought in the Chimurenga, not for his himself, not for his family, but for his nation. This land I give to you must do the same.” Efe looked at me with demanding eyes seeking conformation.

“Yes of course” I said with my hands flailing.

“My intentions are to help Zimbabweans feed themselves. There was a time we could do so. Yet, the foreigners and their greedy spirts have disrupted our nation.” I said while looking into her eyes.

She smiled moved her face towards the sun and shook her head with satisfaction and then bid me good bye. I was told the next day she had passed away.

Was it an omen, a symbol, a sign to cease my traitorous journey? No!

Thus, I continued towards my path.

Along the way I met Nandi Dubo. Nandi was the widow of a soldier of the Chimurenga as well. Her husband was shot and chopped by the invaders. His name was Fang Dubo, and his death made him a martyr and ignited a fire in his village.

Fang Dubo was given one hectare of land by the Honorable Robert Mugabe and Nandi Dubo would give this gift to me.

I met Mrs. Dubo on a scheduled chance meeting while she was leaving church.

“Hi Mrs. Dubo, do you remember me? I am Jabulani Sibanda’s son.” I said with a big smile.

She looked at me with her heavily aged eyes and motioned me to move closer to her.

“I knew your father, and I remember you from whence you were young” She said with a slight amount of dissimulation.

What can I do for you Baba?

I encouraged her to take a walk with me, and it is then I laid my hooks into her gills.

She was caught.

She enjoyed my non-aggressive tone and deferential behavior. I was told I cut an odd figure in a country of men who were either rugged or dead. Eventually, Nandi Dubo gave me her land and with that I continued on my journey.

At the end of that year, some 3 years ago I had acquired enough land to marvel the US state of Rhode Island. My intentions were to form a small cooperative of farms. I had decided the land I owned would never grow cash crops specifically destined for Europe. The best soil no longer would be used for tobacco. Instead peanuts, beans, squash, maize, and cucumbers would be grown.

These were my intentions. Yet, my wife, my lovely wife, persuaded me otherwise. I had met Helen Mandela while attending university in London. She too was a Zimbabwean. She was five foot six with a stunning hour glass body and flawless dark chocolate colored skin.

Helen was silly, something most men frown on, but I thought it was endearing. However, the most intriguing thing about Helen was her ability to make me smile. This is why I fell in love with her. Helen’s only discernable fault was her lust for money.

It was she who said.


“Why are you so concerned with feeding everyone? Would you not do well by them by doing well for yourself?” she said while slightly brushing my back.

It was not my intention to listen to her.


“The best approach would be to rent this land out. Of course you should not sell it. Rent it to foreigners who lack the ability to grow food in their Motherlands. Aren’t you aware there is huge market for this?” She said with compassionate prodding.

I of course knew this, but I wanted to make my father proud. I was Judas Sibanda.

Yet, what happened? The fork in the road was met, and the path taken was the most travelled: the path of greed and treachery.

Upon this road I met a man by the name of Ian Smith. He was a lanky fellow with sky blue eyes that harken disorder and blood boiled skin covered in tan khakis. Ian carried himself around Zimbabwe as if he was an official, a dangerous pretense to say the least. Yet, I suffered his company. How wrong I was to do so.

“Judas, me and you will become rich men. However, you are doing this wrong. Why don’t you mortgage the land you have? Then you can buy equipment to farm on a grand scale? You could become the greatest tobacco farmer in Africa.” Ian said with a tobacco stained smile.

“Well Ian I don’t want to grow tobacco. I want to produce food for local people.” I retorted.

Ian flew his hands up gesturing me to shut up and said. “Don’t be a fool. Think of yourself and your beautiful wife. You will do more for your people by doing for yourself.”

Ian echoed the same words of my wife. It was as if they were the same people, had the same spirit, and the spirit had begun to descend into me.

“Well Ian. I will have to think about it.”

Ian patted me on my back with a pipe slightly falling off his lip and said “You do that Judas. And when you come to the right decision, I will connect you with bankers.”

So it was this first hook punctured within my own gill that caused me to look for other gills to pierce.

Funny how good intensions become bad. After the business plan was written and the mortgages were taken, I had no way of selling the huge amount of tobacco I had raised. It was a shock to my system for sure I was too amazed.

“Why will you not buy my leaves they are of the finest quality?”

“Oh Judas, we only buy from our own kind. You should understand this?” said the foreign wholesalers with a hint of frivolity.

So here I stood stealing from my nation to no avail, being walked towards the hangman’s noose by two in stunning detail. My lovely wife I was told ran off with Mr. Smith, only to be killed with him when their car fell into a rift.


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