There was a time that when I was young, and this was during the war, that I picked up a fork. The one that you dig in the ground. And if I lost control of it, and it came through and it went through my toe, three quarters and went through three quarters of my toes. I just said just a little bit of a toe left. And I remember my mom taking me down to the to the main road. And there was this car that stopped by and it was this white Rhodesian. who was there who said “Come on, I can see what’s happened. Get in the car and I’ll drive you to the nearest hospital.” Now, what I didn’t realise at the time is that if he’d been stopped by both the army or the rebels, that he could have easily lost his life. Because he was then colluding and collaborating with the enemy. But that’s just how you were, you know, you saw somebody need and you went and you know, got there got treated, came back, you know. So really, it was difficult to kind of see what was happening in the cities and towns until I actually got there.
What happened was that because it was during the Civil War, I suppose you can call them rebels or those who are fighting for Zimbabwe. Zanu and Zapu and all the others. The army as well. So the army, because we were on our farm, during a very tight time, so they always thought farmers were wealthy. Because you know, they’d got land and they grew stuff. So they always assumed that, you know, they’ll always money around for stuff like that. But what they forgot, is that in a lot of cases, you know, you invest in what’s growing. So from time to time, they’d the farm, because you know, they needed they were living supposed to have hand to mouth really. And this time, what happened was, they came in, I was there, my grandparents on my mom’s side, and my cousins, so they came in early hours of the morning, knocked on the door, my granddad was used to them knocking on the door and saying, “Give us money, or give us what you have,” sometimes it just take livestock or grain or whatever there was, but this time, all had gone because over time, it just constricts. So they therefore came and sort of said, “Right, get everybody out.” And my granddad said, “Look, I haven’t got any money. As you can see, if you look out, you know, everything that I own is growing, because that’s how I make my money.” And then they just simply turned around and said, right to me and my cousins, “Which one of these would you do without?” In other words, if they weren’t gonna get anything, then to force him to give me whatever I had, they were going to shoot us, you know, shoot one of us. So my granddad only had his medals. So he said, “Right”, went in the house, gave him his medals, his war medals and said, “Right, this is all that I have.” To what the same day, because this was the early hours. My granddad contacted my mom, and sort of explained what happened, they explained that him and my other cousins were gonna go into the Capital, Salisbury, Harare now. And then that, you know, I really needed that he couldn’t stay on the farm, nobody could stay on the farm, it was now unsafe. So I went into town and stayed with family. Whilst this was all being sorted out. And before I knew it, the next thing I was doing about a week later, I was on a plane to England, to stay with my mom.
I was partly peeved off that I was leaving the farm. But also excited to go and see my mom. So it was sort of like kind of living one life going to another and kinda, you know, it was a nice little community that was around me. And suddenly, I was gonna go to somewhere that I really didn’t know, apart from my mum. So there was a little bit of excitement about going to England, not really knowing how long I was going to be in England for. So there was always that well, you know, the back of the head that, sure I’ll be going back soon. So there was a lot of excitement and just thinking, this is another adventure really. I knew a little bit about England, from speaking to my mum from the pictures and from her visit. Also from other family members who had been to England, and mainly from the television. So you know, I think you only ever got to see ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and all, you know, the great period thingys. Never watched Coronation Street or anything like that. So in my mind, England was always the place that you had to aspire to because it was the mother country. So you only were told about the really good things and our history lessons were based on you know, great country houses, kings, queens, dukes, the whole thing. So to some extent, there’s an expectation that well, you know, when it got here, there would be these lovely great big houses. Everybody had their butler or a helper. And yeah, like you know, life was very, very different because you know, you’re taught, which was something that I really learned when I came over here, the Queen’s English. So the Queen’s English is different to the English that you then met here. So, you know, like people dropping their ‘h’s’ and kind of saying words differently to what they were taught and because it was part of the British Empire. So really, a lot of manners were taught, you know, how you’d behave. And my granddad having been in the police force, and also in the army for a short time. And my uncle having been in the Navy, so obviously, it just took discipline as part of what you did and what the expectations of behaviour were. So really, it was, yeah, it was that and, you know, England was always green, on all those historical programmes, and if there was snow or cold, was mentioned, very lightly, and you know, there’ll be a big burning fire. And really, you never really saw the other side of England. So what really knew was TV, newspapers and books, which, you know, just showed how great it was. I remember that, you know, when I left, it was hot. So I was in my shorts and a little safari shirt. So down there, it was hot, you know, got on a plane, the plane was hot. And apart from doing some of the translation. No, it was really just nice. I just remember it being a nice plane and waving the family off at the airport. And yeah, it just like, seemed like I was going on holiday really.