The Sunday News
Ekasi stories , with Clifford Kalibo
ONCE upon a time life Ekasi was all honey and milk. Day by day life was so smooth and full of pleasantries that you could almost equate ekasi to a small utopia. The day would start off around 5am when we heard the bus carrying Dunlop employees passing by. We had no alarms those days, so “ibhasi ye Dunlop” was our alarm. Come 6.30am we children took daily turns to collect bottled milk by the gate. The Dairibord milkman would leave milk by the gate.
People would purchase coupons in advance. The milk was safe as no one would dare steal it.
After a quick bath (on school day), we would apply Vaseline or Shell on our bodies and sit down for tea with delicious Dibella bread or Anglo Swiss Bakery bread which was very delicious. Just two slices and you would be filled for nearly the whole day!
Those days school lessons ended at 1pm and we had no afternoon lessons. We would rush home to shed off school uniforms and have a hurried lunch. Usually the lunch was composed of sadza and chomolia (itshomoliya) or rich creamy sour milk (isawa). The sour milk was packaged in conically comically-shaped cardboxes.
There were so many pastime activities after school. Some of us would go for swimming. Not that we had a swimming pool in Sizinda, but we had some natural pools/streams which were situated in the bushy areas to the north of Sizinda. The nearest proper swimming pool was in Mpopoma, but we hardly went there for fear of being victimised by the Mpopoma boys.
We had streams like koViriviri near a brick-manufacturing firm known as Macdonalds Bricks. Near Davis Granite were streams such as koTiye and koGreen. The pools were dirty but it was there that we learnt how to swim and we enjoyed it a lot.
Besides swimming there was a popular activity known as “ukudikila”, which crudely means to rummage through a bin or through a pile of items. The most popular spots for “ukudikila” were companies such as Rossmans Sweets and Biscuits and Arenel Sweets and Biscuits. The not-so-perfect sweets and biscuits were thrown away into large containers outside the factory.
We would go there and rummage for the sweets and biscuits. Guys would go home with pockets full of sweets and biscuits. The sweet brand known as “Rum and Butter” was the most popular those days, it was so nice!
A classmate of mine, Big Amo, as we called him, had a habit of coming to school with plenty of Rum and Butter sweets in his pocket. He would dole out the sweets to a few female classmates.
Social amenities were in full function those days. For those who did not love “ukudikila” or swimming, they would go to the Youth Club. There were a variety of games such as soccer, tennis, basketball and indoor games such as pool, badminton, chess, table tennis, and draughts.
Come Saturday, it was the day for scouting for those who had joined the Boy Scouts Club. You would see us dressed immaculately in khaki uniforms, with the shirt full of badges. The elementary badge which was attached to the left side of the shirt was the “Matabeleland Badge” depicting an elephant and the Scout Badge on the right hand.
Saturday afternoon was the cinema day (ibhayiskopo) where we would watch very interesting films. The entry fee was one penny, and you would make sure to save one penny during the week for ibhayiskopo.
The hall was always fully packed. The most popular films were Ama“Western” or “Amakhaboyi”, Cowboys, the likes of John Wayne, Bud Spencer, Trinity, Clint Eastwood and Billy the Kid. Also there were films like Zoro, Dracula and Tarzan.
Come Sunday, it was a day for church. We would attend Sunday School at Sizinda Hall. The service was conducted by a white man, Mr Ross and Mr Gomo. We were issued with pocket-size New Testament Bibles after every four months.
The service took about two hours only, and after the service we would go our separate ways. Some went home, some went swimming while some went for “ukudikila” for more sweets which they would bring to school on Monday morning.
Till we meet again next Sunday for yet another exciting episode of Day by Day Ekasi. Feedback: Clifford Kalibo/ 0783856228 /0719856228/emai: [email protected]