It’s been a while since I last scoured Zimbabwe’s tabloids for general hilarity. This has been partly due to lack of time (I now have a job where I can’t stuff around for the vast majority of my day and get away with it), but also because I’m now living in Zimbabwe and am continuously surrounded by ridiculous news, so much so that my gauge of absurdness has begun to slide.
Being able to buy these papers in print makes me feel that I have an obligation to do so… but at the same time, I feel as though actually spending money to read these stories would equate to passing a point of no return re: the degeneration of my moral principles. This is particularly so with Zimbabwe’s newest (and most ridiculous) tabloid, H-Metro. Words don’t adequately capture the confusion (and other presently undetermined emotions) that I feel when I see H-Metro’s headlines taped to boards on street corners. ‘Wife serves husband son’s head for dinner’ was one of the first I saw upon my return. Seriously.
Good stories in Zimbabwe essentially come down to those involving sex gone wrong and/or witchcraft of some sort. Plenty of clichés should then be applied to the story in a slightly inaccurate way and/or drastic words used when regular ones would have sufficed. Correct spelling and grammar is optional. It’s really that simple.
For example, there was the Tsholotsho man, Petros Ncube, who “has no time for sleeping and having intercourse with girls but prefers donkeys. Ncube, just 18, religiously slips into bestiality six times a week with donkeys. A court heard that, on March 10, Ncube went to a bushy area and ambushed three donkeys.
“He grabbed one and quenched his sexual appetite. However, he was spotted by a fellow villager in the act leading to his arrest. In court, Ncube did not waster time and simple pleaded guilty saying that he does it six times per week. He said the kicked off his act with his own donkeys but moved on to those of other villagers.”
Ncube was ordered by Magistrate Toindepi Zhou to “undergo” 105 hours of community service. As far as I knew, you “performed” community service, but would “undergo” therapy… but, who knows, perhaps a combination of the two was intended.
Then there was the Nkulumane 5 man who called a commercial sex worker to his hotel room and, upon opening the door for her, realised that it was his daughter. I’m sure there are few moments in your life that could be more awkward than that. Needless to say, the daughter of it bolted, the father collapsed on the floor and family awkwardness ensued. He said he then hired a therapist to counsel her (and, no doubt, himself).
And if you can combine sex gone wrong and witchcraft, and throw in a mob that chants outside a police station, you have a real winner of a story. One of my recent favourites has been about a cheating couple who were “caught mysteriously stuck to each other at Matapi Flats in Mbari” in a suspected case of ‘runyoka’, “the famed so-called Central Locking System.”
Apparently, runyoka “is a traditional way where juju is used to lock mainly women so that they do not cheat with other men. If they do, they get stuck together and often only the woman’s husband can help them separate”. Or coming out into public could possibly separate them. Others suggest that “the man has to urinate so as to get released from the Central Locking curse”. WTF right? I literally can’t work out which “cure” would be more awkward.
It was thought that the locked couple were taken to the Matapi Police Station and, as the rumour spread through the nearby market, a crowd of at least 2000 people gathered outside the police station, demanding to see the locked couple (as one does in such situations). Goods traders at the nearby market had their unattended goods stolen while they were busy mobbing, but seeing the locked couple was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.
The police denied that such a case had been brought to them, but the crowd didn’t believe them, resulting in the police having to bring in reinforcements to control the swelling, “salivating” crowd and tear gas canisters were emptied to quell their curiosity. The crowd was heard shouting, “If you do not bring them out we will not leave this place because they have been brought to your police station”… which to me sounds like a really long chant to catch on in an enormous crowd, but maybe they were doing it 3-word chunks, who knows.
What the publication made clear, however, is that “if ever there was a SEX WORLD Cup and sex interest, Zimbabwe would no doubt be the equivalent of Brazil in football judging from the drooling mouths and enthusiastic sex talk!”
I’m sure Anywhere, 20, who is married to a kombi driver, Bright, 24, would agree that Zimbabweans are obsessed with scandal. Anywhere gave birth to the couple’s first child at Ruwa Maternity Clinic… and the baby came out undeniably Chinese…
Neighbours initially thought that a Chinese family had moved into the area and that Anywhere was minding the child… then they thought that perhaps Anywhere and Bright had stolen the child… and it was only after Anywhere had adamantly denied that neither of those scenarios had taken place did they begin to suspect that Anywhere had had an affair with a Chinese man… which, of course, she had.
Anywhere said that there had been “a party at work before he took me to a Casino where he gave me a sweet drink which I suspected was mixed with alcohol before we had sex all night long.” We’re then told that “the Chinese” (note: not the Chinese man… just “the Chinese”) fled to Zambia mere hours after the birth of the child when it became, um, clear who the father was.
The story has a nice ending though – Bright has stayed with Anywhere despite her one-night stand and (totally relevant to the story), “Bright is now a truck driver after leaving his job as a bus driver.”
Lastly, we have an article written by Adoration Bizure for H-Metro. Here it is in its unedited entirety: “IT NEVER RAINS but pours for the 30-year-old man who claims to be sodomised by ‘invisible’ man at night. Frank Chifamba of House No. 4070 Zororo Highfield yesterday made yet another startling relation as he claims to be undergoing monthly periods.
“The other thing is that I am having another strange experience, I lose blood through my anus every month. At times, this goes for a week. I have no doubt that what I am experiencing is exactly the same with what women feel during the menstrual circle,” said Frank.
He added, “Well these things are happening to me spiritually I don’t suspect that anyone is physically abusing me. I just thought I have to clarify that point because I was now having bad blood with male colleagues whom I stay with saying that I was suspecting them of sodomising me.”
Earlier on, Frank had disclosed that he had been waking with semen splashed on his bums suggesting that he was being sodomised at night.”