At the age of 15, Marian grew up in one of the most volatile environments in Zimbabwe's history- as was the nature of the conflict. It is at this tender age that Marian fell pregnant.
"I had no idea what to do as I had yet to develop my own opinions about life, but my parents guided me through it all. Later, when I got married, my husband accepted my child as my experience had become a norm during the Chimurenga."
Coming from a family of 9, Marian's father treated his children equally and she was taught how to build and thatch houses, pottery and how yoke cattle. Together with her siblings, Marian would accompany her father to different farms in search of casual jobs and assist him in completing them.
When her husband passed away in 2003, leaving her with 4 school-going children and two unemployed children. In 2008, Marian relocated to Epworth, Harare with a family and lived with her aunt as she could not fend for her family in Gutu.
Upon her arrival, Marian's aunt supported her by taking care of her children while she attended a practical cleaning course which was accessible to anyone who was interested in cleaning. With her newly acquired skills, Marian began to clean houses and eventually built her own house in Epworth which, is one of the smartest houses the team and I had been to.
Today, six of Marian's children are unemployed, only two of her daughters are married, and one passed away. At her age, she now has to carry the weight of caring for her grandchildren and taking on odd cleaning jobs to do so.
After describing a ngano, Marian shares one of her own, and her laugh alone is infectious. Talking about Tsuro (rabbit) and Gwizo/Nhire (springhare), Marian describes the conflict we have with COVID-19, where the pandemic has courted our freedom of movement.
At the same time it can be likened to our sense of loss, how she lost her innocence, how she lost her husband and child, and how once again, COVID-19 has had us experiencing loss. Just as Tsuro has to call Gwizo to save him, we have had to call on culture to save us by sharing alternative/ organic foods, and herbs to help fight off COVID-19, and each of these is like Gwizo's escape route....evading COVID-19.
[Whispering Silence] This project was made possible with support from Africalia and the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation of Belgium.