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  • Writer's pictureNondiarist

Zimbabwe revisited – A brand new world for some

Updated: Jun 4, 2022

Eddie sidles up to me, eyes flicking between the paving slabs under his feet and the man standing to his right.

“That man,” he hisses out of the left side of his mouth, “has a GUN.”

I take a quick glance. So he does. An AK47, slung casually in the crook of his arm.

Whatever. I’m on the lookout for the car we’ve hired. The guy said he’d pick us up here, outside the bank. I start to edge out further to get a better view along the street while Eddie edges into the gap I’ve left, away from the guard.

Armed guard holding AK47
Armed guard outside the bank (image created by author)

Can’t blame him for being freaked, I guess. I grew up here and I’ve seen it all before. Our police always wore sidearms and in the days of the civil war every man and his wife/child/dog carried a weapon of some sort. Nothing’s changed that much. It’s a sight I’m so accustomed to that I never even noticed that man.

Showing my husband the places I knew as a child and a teenager made me feel like I was seeing them for the first time. It was kind of fun being the tourist on my first visit back to Zimbabwe after emigrating. And it was a revelation in many things. The day we visited the bank with the armed guard was a typical winter’s day in the highveld. Sunny, sixteen degrees Celsius, and most of the people in the queue with us were wearing balaclavas, mittens and thick jumpers. I know where they were coming from, but, having lived in England three years, I thought the air was a bit cool. Eddie was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. The armed guard was probably watching him VERY closely.

So it was all new for him. And then there was the lioness.

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