Isdore Guvamombe

Back in the village in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, the drum beat increased in tempo, crescendo and volume as we approached the fringes of the hosting village. There was a memorial ceremony for a man who had died two years earlier.

There was a cacophony of miffed voices, a shifting tapestry of drums and vocals under the August moon light, which hushed the owls and crickets.

We were five teenage boys from our village, Brighton, Hastings, Isaac, Austin and myself. August was always a free for all month in the village. It was a school holiday. There were no field activities. Cattle and goats were freelancing and we hardly penned or tethered them.  There were few domestic chores.

Hardly past our puberty, we had started dating girls but were still amateur daters. Isaac, who had matured faster than all of us had written a letter to a girl proposing to her. She had not responded. We escorted him this night so that he might have a chance to talk to the girl on the sidelines of the traditional ceremony.

The rest of us would try our lucky on village girls we expected to bump into at the binge. Most of the elders sat around a bonfire, talking and discussing matters of state and governance, of course, with a calabash of beer systematically doing the rounds to wet their throats.

Each man got a deep sip, gulped and passed on the calabash, wiped his thick lips off the drags with the back of the hand then used to fingers to massage the beard, as if to confirm succulence.

But the real binge was at the centre of the homestead, revellers formed a circle and danced as if there was no tomorrow. Women danced and wriggled their waists seductively their onion-shaped bodies responding favourably to the rhythm. The songs bordered on obscenities and profanities. The drummers sweated and palmed the cattle hide, as if Heaven was calling them. The vocalists changed each time a new song started. Dust was raised and never settled.

But dating boys and girls took advantage and sneaked to dark corners under the mango trees and eaves of huts. They avoided detection. Obviously a few loose girls were deflowered that night.  But some alert brothers jealously guarded their sisters and made sure no boys got closer.

Being from a distant village, geography and geomorphology were rudely against us. Isaac spotted his girl and we had to hatch a plan of luring her to place where they could talk. Unknown to us, her brothers were fully on the alert.

She had one or two friends and we hoped to do a Therefore. We defined a Therefore as the mathematical theory of love, where if a friend was dating, her friend would also date her fiancée ‘s friend. On many occasions it worked and in some it did not.  We were hopeful and we worked on seniority. This villager was the youngest and so, had no chance of benefitting from the Therefore, this day.  Fate!


We strategically moved behind a cattle kraal and waited for the girls to follow. Soon they came and there was excitement in our group. We had come to conquer.


Again unbeknown to us, the love letter Isaac had written had somehow fallen into the girl’s brother after she read and misplaced it. As soon as the tit at ate started, 10 or so boys came after us. We were beaten silly and soon each of us ran for dear life.


I soon found myself battling to overcome a swamp. I went knee deep into the mud rut, fell and crawled, losing my sense of direction in the process. I hid under a huge fig tree. Three or four boys came after me but lost me in the mud. I climbed up the tree and sat quietly.  They went past the tree and I sighed relief.


Slithers of moonlight hit my face past the tree leaves and signposted to me that it was now the bewitching early hours of the day before dawn. I was bruised and injured. I was cold. My body was as cold as a witch’s tits. I shook with coldness. I wondered my direction and decided to wander home.


After limping past a few villages I discovered I had taken the opposite direction to our village in the height of the melee. I limped and sulked, my tail tucked between my legs, counting loses and swearing. It was a good lesson.


I eventually arrived home just before sunrise. My parents did not notice. The boys later hooked up at mid-morning and related the incident. We licked our wounds and sought to revenge when out time came.