You Must Dress For Success !!         - 27/9/2005      <--Prev : Next-->

When one goes shopping in Zimbabwe one must dress for the occasion.

Oh no hats and gloves for these forays ...instead one must wear an ensemble that would be suitable a) for running fast away from the cops and b) at worst for a couple of nights in the klink !!

Oh yes ... there we were skulking down the dreaded taboo vendors' market area, looking for, of all things Inyouhuti !!

Translated exactly ... wild bird seed !!

Now I know one should not support those naughty bad vendors who are making an honest living, in favour of the formal traders who pay rates and taxes, but it is the bronze mannikins, the cut throat finches and the blue wax bills who rule the roost in our garden !!

The bird seed bin was empty, the formal traders' doors were closed for stock taking and the din outside on the empty bird feeder was indignant to say the least..... And so the secretive excursion became necessary into the sad remnants of the once vibrant vendors' market.

Elliot was the bird seed trader, and one had to catch his attention with a few well spaced nods and winks. His head would cock towards a stout shady tree behind which the nefarious transaction was to take place (out of sight of the dreaded gestapo !!)

A bucket of bird seed costs $100,000.00 Zimbabwe dollars !! So $20,000 notes quickly changed hands, and an old sack full of bird seed was duly and furtively placed into the back of the car, accompanied by many hearty gesticulations of brotherly love from Elliot entreating us to visit him again soon !!

Smug in my illegal purchase, happy in my bid to feed my hordes of little hungry birds, I was about to move elegantly into the drivers seat when chaos broke out .

Mapolizi !! Mapolizi!! (Its the same in every language) and unwilling to draw attention to my automobile which already stood out like a sore thumb amidst the tatty wire scanias (pushcarts) I set off in an unladylike but furiously fast and undignified waddle in the opposite direction to the commotion.

The vendors were wonderful. Appreciative of my custom, they blocked the path of the law enforcement agents so successfully and so skillfully, that I was able to dodge into a nearby shop and hide behind a potted plant until the furore had died down.

Elliot was nowhere to be seen, he had probably been carted off...yet again.. for a night at His Majesty's displeasure, but my bird seed was safe and sound and my bronze mannikins were oblivious to the rigours I had had to endure in order to keep them well fed and happy. !!