Noah Pito in Hurungwe
Mr Honest Kwaramba of Matamba Village under Chief Dendera’s realm in Hurungwe readily offered advice when his sister, Miriam, was customarily married to Elliot Marukutira.
Apart from drawing up the traditional list of groceries that precedes the ceremony, Mr Kwaramba played smooth mediator, coming to Marukutira’s rescue each time the lobola negotiations hit a logjam.
The genial relations between the two became much stronger, especially when Mr Kwaramba married one Zorodzai Ngoromani.
The relationship, however, broke down after Marukutira and Zorodzai began an adulterous affair. Chief Dendera fined Marukutira four head of cattle as compensation.
“I only believed the story when I visited Zorodzai at her parents’ place without notice, last month,” said a distraught Mr Kwaramba.
Mr Kwaramba and Marukutira were known to be very close.
Trouble only started last October after Mr Kwaramba secured a job in Harare. He would commute from the capital to spend time with his family in Hurungwe twice a month.
Back in Harare, he used to call Marukutira on his cellular phone for onward transmission of messages to his wife, Zorodzai.
He would also on various occasions ask his brother-in-law to take the cellular phone to Zorodzai as he yearned to hear her “sweet voice”.
The practice became routine.
It was not surprising for the local community to see Marukutira hanging around Mr Kwaramba’s homestead, even at odd hours.
The entire village became abuzz with reports that Marukutira and Zorodzai were having an adulterous affair.
Mr Kwaramba initially dismissed the reports when they filtered through to the capital.
He accused his sisters, Miriam and Plucky, of trying to wreck his marriage.
Messages such as: “Please, brother, come down home and see how your wife has turned wild” and “Zorodzai wenyu wachata nemukwasha kuno (Zorodzai is dating your brother-in-law)” continued to flood Mr Kwaramba’s cellular phone, eventually setting him on the path to investigate the matter.
The findings were heartbreaking.
They left both emotional and physical scars.
He narrated the dramatic yet sad turn of events in a voice laden with grief.
“A week before the visit, I had received information that my sister Plucky had had an altercation with my wife which had resulted in Zorodzai packing her belongings and leaving
for her parents’ home.
“I had also received reports that she had taken our bed and all the roofing sheets from our two-roomed house.
“The sheets, it was further reported, had been used to roof the room she was now staying in.
“When I arrived that night, I discovered that Zorodzai and her mother were not pleased with my unexpected visit as they started talking of outstanding lobola and accusing my sisters of abusing them.
“Sensing danger, I handed over the groceries and pretended to be going back to my home. However, I hid in a maize field from where I saw Marukutira getting into the room my wife was sleeping in. I was dumb-founded.”
Initially, Kwaramba mulled walking away.
However, peace gave way to rage.
He stormed the “love nest”.
“It hurt to find my wife and brother-in-law in the comfort of my bed and blankets. I tried to ask what was going on, but they unleashed a barrage of jabs,” he said.
Mr Kwaramba added that he was left with no option but to stand his ground.
When he appeared to be getting the better of his brother-in-law-cum-love rival, Zorodzai tilted the pendulum in favour of Marukutira.
“When Zorodzai saw that I was overpowering Soweto (as Marukutira is popularly known in the area) whom I had pinned to the ground, she took a log and struck me on the forehead before calling her mother for back-up.
“The three of them took turns to assault me and left me lying in a pool of blood a few metres from my wife’s homestead.”
Chief Dendera handled the case.
He strongly condemned Marukutira for destroying his brother-in-law’s marriage and fined him four head of cattle as compensation.
The cattle tagged at US$250 each were to be delivered to Mr Kwaramba within two weeks. The realm leader also castigated Zorodzai for taking infidelity to “sophisticated levels”.
“Chihure hachidadise. Hautye Aids? Kanzenza kemwana; ungadanane nemukwasha? (Infidelity is not something you should be proud of. Are you not afraid of contracting HIV?)” thundered the chief.
Meanwhile, Zorodzai’s uncles and brothers have also taken the case to the same court, claiming compensation from Marukutira for “damaging their family name.”
The case is yet to be heard.