Last Friday we did not want to coil ourselves on the couches of our homes, as has been the case for months now; but, instead, we decided to away our afternoon at Dziwazako Bar. A very unusual decision for us in recent times.
Since our return from rehabilitation at Venegas, Zikomo Matope and I have remained steadfast to the counsel we received from that St John of God facility on how we can manage our alcohol consumption. In fact, Zikomo and I have considered and agreed to quit though my friend insists that it is only for a few years so he can have his “life back on track.”
So, for the last five months or so, we have been sober and mindful of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) twelve traditions. Every Wednesdays we are attending the AA meetings in substitute for what we previously dubbed ‘midweek drinking sojourns’. And; so far, it has been great.
But last Friday we felt we should go out and meet old buddies, of course, with one principle to stick to: Not to touch alcohol! And we went.
At Dziwazako, everyone jumped to their feet upon sighting us. A fellow, who we had only seen but never knew by name, came rushing to us with a crateful of Chimulirenji the moment we sat down.
“Where have you guys been?” he asked, helped himself to his bottle of Powers Brandy which he seemed to have not diluted. At 5 pm, he seemed to have already been wasted. In no time, as soon as the barmaid had brought him a plastic chair to sit on, he diverted to politics: about how he had prophesied that the President would win and that that the opposition parties’ challenge to nullify the elections would not yield any results until the next elections.
We did not comment.
“Why are you guys not drinking?” he asked, after Zikomo ordered a Coke and a Super Shake Maheu from the barmaid.
“We are not drinking today,” Zikomo said curtly.
“Is it because of the funeral?”
“Comrade, of course,” he said. “Are you mourning Robert Mugabe’s death?”
He did not wait for our reply. “You see, much as the guy was a hero I feel like his death like many other presidents who have died before him should be a lesson to presidents who are about to die.”
“Why do you say so?” I found myself asking.
“That guy like our own Kamuzu was president for over 30 years, and yet he died in some hospital in Singapore—just like our Kamuzu died at Garden City Clinic. You mean for all those years they were at the helm of power they did not think of building decent hospitals at which they could be treated when they fell ill? Don’t you think that is nonsense?” he asked, helping himself, again, with three heavy, successive gulps of his Powers Brandy.
“So, what’s your point?” Zikomo asked.
“We must add this issue on the list of reasons why we must take to the streets. Our hard earned money should not be wasted at treating our presidents when they rush to hospitals overseas. We must all be treated in this country, with our own hospitals and doctors. My point is, our presidents on this continent must be treated at home not overseas,” he made some inaudible curses, as he staggered into the bar.
We said nothing.
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