Foot was buried 40 years ago

Njenje Kadudza does not know his age, “for I didn’t go to school”; neither does he know the day he will die, just like any of us don’t know that day.

But he knows where part of him has already been buried.

“Right in front of my homestead is where my foot lies buried,” he chuckles, baring some tobacco-stained molars and pre-molars.

He can afford to laugh about it because it has been decades since he lost the foot — and ultimately the leg — and has long lost memory of how life used to be like when he was on both legs.

And so the pain has also gone.

But he will never forget the fateful day.

“I was cutting some reeds for making mats by the river. That was in 1980, soon after we had come from the war.”

His salvation came in the form of a former guerrilla who lived across the river.

“He is now late. But when he heard the noise he immediately rushed to where I was lying and used my shirt to tie my leg, to reduce the loss of blood. I think he should have known, having come from the war, what that sound meant.”

With the burial ceremony for his foot being held in his absence, as he was ferried, first to Mt Darwin and then to Bindura, Kadudza was to spend the next month-and-half in hospital.

Now with his seventh prosthetic leg, he remembers he had to sell one of his cows to buy his first artificial leg.

“I have been given a number of these legs by some donors but most of them are not useable. These legs are not one-size fits-all, one has to be measured and one is specific to one’s needs. But the donors just come and leave these legs with us, and most of them are not useable. For example, this one does not have a shoe, and the angle at which it steps does not fit me.”

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