A novel Father’s Day

21 Jun, 2020 - 00:06 0 Views
A novel Father’s Day Barber Mr Irvine Tafirenyika with son Marlon during an interview at his home in Glenorah

The Sunday Mail

Veronica Gwaze

“Despite all that, we will still celebrate. I will prepare a hearty meal for my husband to make him happy.”

A HARARE dad will be celebrating Father’s Day today at home with his wife and two sons.

In previous years, the family would eat out or find an entertainment joint for a braai.

However, this year they are stuck at home due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Even if Irvine Tafirenyika, who lives in Glen Norah, Harare, wished to go out, he still could not afford to spoil his wife, Patience, and children — Malcolm (8) and Marlon (4).

The 35-year-old barber has been home for nearly three months due to the current travel restrictions meant to curb the spread of Covid-19.

He works at a salon in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD), which recently reopened after the Government relaxed the lockdown to allow registered businesses to operate.

However, business remains subdued as “unnecessary movement” is still restricted, especially in the CBD.

Tafirenyika is a personal barber to some international and local soccer players.

He offers his services to the likes of Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Walter Musona, Tatenda Mukuruva, Ocean Mushure, Brett Amidu, Wisdom Mutasa and Denver Mukamba.

Since the announcement of the lockdown on March 30, local sporting activities have been on hold.

The players’ movements have also been restricted.

Despite restarting operations, Tafirenyika’s clients still cannot walk in for a shave because of the dreaded challenges of passing through security checkpoints into town.

Dads around the world celebrate Father’s Day today.

But many of them, like Tafirenyika, are confined at home as nations grapple with the novel coronavirus that has claimed more than 400 000 lives and affected millions of people.

Father’s Day honours fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in and on society.

“This year has just come with its lows, especially this Covid-19 outbreak. It disturbed all programmes and targets that we had set for the year,” said Tafirenyika during an interview at his home.

“I have been at home for almost three months now, and this is the longest time I have stayed home since I became a barber 14 years ago.”

He, however, still has the onerous responsibility to fend for his family, and has since devised a means to earn a living.

“I have no choice but to work from home because I have a family to feed,” he said.

“Most of my clients are soccer players and their games are suspended. They no longer come to my workplace for regular haircuts and a beard shave.

“My clientele has dwindled significantly as most of them are affected by travel restrictions.”

The senior national soccer team’s scheduled African Nations Championship (CHAN) and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers would have been an opportunity for rich pickings.

But the games were cancelled.

“Many foreign-based footballers are my clients. I had looked forward to them coming for my famous haircuts, but their matches were cancelled,” said a crestfallen Tafirenyika.

Currently, most of the few customers that seek his services are from the neighbourhood, and they always negotiate prices downwards.

From previous average daily takings of US$20, he now rarely makes US$10 per day.

But he always finds comfort in the adage “half a loaf is better than nothing”.

“Being a father of two, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are important for us as we celebrate ourselves and our parents.

“Together with my wife, we never miss such days. We celebrate parenthood on both days yearly,” he said.

Like Tafirenyika, Patience works at an accessories shop in town that opened recently after the lockdown was eased.

Before that, she, too, had been staying at home.

Although she had planned a surprise for her husband, it was all in vain.

“I had already saved a few dollars to buy him a new shaving machine from South Africa through a friend,” she said while sitting next to her husband.

“But with the lockdown, I eventually had to help my husband put food on the table.

“Despite all that, we will still celebrate. I will prepare a hearty meal for my husband to make him happy.”

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