The Bulawayo Flower Sellers
- 5/ 7/ 2005 <--Prev : Next-->
THE BULAWAYO FLOWER SELLERS
The Bulawayo Flower sellers outside the City Hall in Bulawayo have
been an institution for as long as I have been alive and trust me
that is an extremely long time !!
A favourite and enchanting tourist trap featured in every tourist
publication on Bulawayo since the inception of the city. But now they
are no more thanks to the strange behaviour of the Government known
as Operation Murambatsvina !!
Gone is Ma Moyo with her colourful buckets of baby's breath and
carnations brought in fresh each day from the Martins' farm -
Ponderosa which is now of course no more at any rate....
And if Colin and Judy did not have a wedding on that week, you could
sometimes get a precious bunch of Saint Joseph's' Lilies from Ma Moyo
which was a real treat for the home.
Gone is old Willie Ndlovu with his half dead roses and the agapanthas
he used to "borrow" on his way to work every morning !!
Gone are the predictable ready made posies and wreaths which were so
popular for weddings, funerals and just to say "I love you" or just
to say "I love Life".
On the northern end of the City Hall mall were the curio sellers
selling everything and anything in wood, wire or soapstone.
Gone is that awful rapscallion Solomon who would add four zeros onto
the price of a wooden hippo the minute he heard an American accent,
but would reduce it quickly when you spoke even a word of Ndebele !!
Gone are the worm sellers who could discuss most knowledgeably the
merits and de merits of the thin red worms as opposed to the fat
brown earthworms in the art of catching tiger or bream at Kariba (in
spite of the fact that they had never gone further than Nyamandhlovu
in their lives !!
Gone are the placid ladies who sat day in and day out, legs stretched
ramrod straight in front of them, crocheting and knitting doilies and
tablecloths festooned with pretty beads.
Remember those little covers weighed down with blue, red or green
beads, that were used to cover the milk and the sugar bowls back in
the days when gentility was paramount ?
Gone are the touts and the tricksters, an integral part of the
tableau of every society the world over, who would rush up to you and
drag you over to someone else's stall where they would expertly talk
you into believing that this particular hand- carved bowl was exactly
the one you needed to send to Aunty Clara in New Zealand, and then he
would fix his own inflated price which included his cut of the takings!
The wire toy sellers will be missed too. Such ingenuity was displayed
by these dextrous young men, who could fashion anything out of wire
"borrowed " from someone's farm fence or from the telephone wires
leading to someone's property !!
Gone are the livelihoods and possibly the very lives of people who
have lived in Bulawayo, paid rental on their flower stalls, and who
are now totally destitute with no means of survival.
Artists, painters, sculptors, wood carvers, floral artists, an
incredible wealth of talent has been decimated in one ruthless sweep
of absolute power