When the skies illuminated, they had other plans

Life has never given much joy and hope to the homeless on the streets of Harare.
Without education, national identity and traceable relatives to bail them out, their lives seem to be nothing but a survival battle that leaves no room for ambition or merry making.
It is for this reason that when millions of Zimbabweans were celebrating the count-down to 2016, some few moments before midnight on Thursday, most of the homeless were either rummaging rubbish bins for food, lying draped in tattered sacks on pavements or downing illicit brews around bonfires.
Most of this less privileged section of the society could not feast, pop champagne or blast firecrackers to celebrate the dawn of 2016 as they can not afford such extravagance.
The Sunday Mail spent time with some homeless people on New Year’s Eve.
The timing was perfect.
Just a few minutes before 2016, we identified three young man sitting around a fire near Market Square Bus Terminus.

Blessed Madziwa reveals plans to celebrate the new year by drinking “krango” —Pictures: Kuda Hunda
Blessed Madziwa reveals plans to celebrate the new year by drinking “krango” —Pictures: Kuda Hunda

After introducing ourselves, the young men didn’t seem to mind our presence. They paid more attention to the fire. Soon after our acquaintance, vehicles honked, people whistled and fireworks illuminated the skies.
The year 2016 had begun
But these three didn’t seem to give any attention to what was going on.
“Tapinda mumwe wangu, tatovemo muna2016, (this is it my friend, we are now in 2016),” one of the young man said, he refused to divulge his name.
Sadly, the words were not punctuated by any signs of joy.
To them, it seemed like just another day or year.
“What can I celebrate, I do not even have any food to eat,” one of the men said. Again, he declined to reveal his identity.

While scores of Zimbabweans celebrated the dawn of 2016 these homeless men were sleeping under a passengers’ shed at Market Square bus terminus
While scores of Zimbabweans celebrated the dawn of 2016 these homeless men were sleeping under a passengers’ shed at Market Square bus terminus

He removed some two containers that were on the fire and started serving dinner, or was it breakfast.
“I did not even know that it’s now New Year until I heard the sound of firecrackers,” said the third men.
Equally, he seemed unconcerned about the goings on and the cleanliness of the food he was about to eat.
At this point, the man who was attending to the “pots” started speaking. He said celebrations were for the wealthy, adding that as long as the bins were available, he would not need handouts from anyone.
“I will concentrate on the bins because sadza will keep coming. I don’t need help from anyone. Celebrations are for the wealthy, not us.”
As The Sunday Mail left the men to ‘feast’ after some few minutes, we came accross another group of about five men who were ‘relaxing’ under cardboard boxes at Market Square bus terminus.
Upon introducing ourselves, Brian Nyamapuro (32), who seemed to be the group leader, welcomed us with joy.
When we congratulated them for making it into 2016, he frowned and mumbled that the day was similar to any other.
For him, what matters is the fact that he is alive.
He revealed that he was recently knocked down by a car, an incident which reminded him of how crucial life is.
“Life on the streets is very hard. However, there is nothing we can do because we cannot go back home and be a burden to our families. They are also struggling to survive so we have to find ways to survive here.
“I am not looking forward to much in 2016, all I want is good health and a job.”
“People are having fun today but I would rather stay here, there is a too much trouble out there,” he said.
Other members of this group also spoke of how hard it is for them to get some food. They said they usually rely on churches for food.
In another encounter near a police booth along First Street, homeless men reiterated that there was nothing to celebrate as they had not accomplished anything in 2015 and had nothing to look forward to in 2016.
Takesure Matika (22) said he had taken his last meal a day and half before.
However, Tawanda Nyoka (18) was in a celebratory mood. He said he would drink his “Krango” and take a walk in the streets.
“Hameno vari kuda kurara, ini ndiri kutorova Krango ende tichambo tenderera tenderera (I don’t know about those who want to sleep, I’m drinking Krango and will do some rounds,” he said in a tone meant to ridicule his colleagues.

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