My name is Lorraine Mapuranga. I was born in 1974 in Harare Central Hospital. Both my parents were peasant farmers, and I was born in a family of 3 girls with me being the second child.
Growing up in a family where we were only girls made life a bit difficult for me, because we had to do all household chores, some of which are culturally men’s duties, like herding cattle or milking cows, and though it was our major source of protein I hated it so much.
I also had to make sure the goats and our chickens were cared for by me and my sisters, so we would take turns to do it. As growing up girls we were also taught to till the land sometimes before we went to school.
I had also to fetch water from as far away as 2 kilometres, and sometimes halfway back from the well I would fall and had to go back again to fetch more. This time around I would will be crying. Then there was fetching firewood, where you would come across snakes in the mountain and sometimes get stung by scorpions.
Our daily food was sadza (finely ground maize made into a thick porridge) and vegetables, with peanut butter. I can also say we use to survive on seasonal foods. This is an umbrella term to describe what a girl from the grassroots survived on.
I did my primary education at Chanetsa primary school from 1982 to 1988. Something to smile at now is that my parents used to buy me a bigger size uniform so that it stays longer as I grew. However for me it was fine like that.
What was very interesting about waking up for school was we had our own brown rooster. It would guide us when to wake up and prepare for school. But then it sometimes used to get confused, like when the moon was too bright it would end up waking us up at 1am!. I would set a fire and prepare everything, only to find out later that it was actually midnight and not time for school….When going to school we were guided by the sun setting on a particular muhacha tree, but now this kind of watch was not reliable because it would differ with seasons.
As I write this im actually laughing at myself because now I can’t wake up at a certain time without an alarm, but you would wonder how I did it for so long, as young as I was. I will write a full book about this one day!
Now let me go to my high school. At grade7 (end of Primary schooling) I passed well and I vividly remember Enniviolata Chingoriwo who would always take number 1 and set me on second position. My other threat was from Kennedy Saide. I wish I could one day meet them again.
More from Lorraine in part 2 coming soon!