The Sunday Mail
Online News Editor
It is rather impossible to talk about Rudo Chibindi and the unfortunate circumstances that she finds herself in today without talking about her past circumstances.
A past that she constantly referred to as very regrettable. If only she could turn back the hands of time, she would not make the same mistakes again.
“I badly regret those days but then, I was young and naïve.”
Let us rewind to 2003.
At about this time that year, Mwendikanyi Chibindi, also known as Mwendy, then famous as one of Oliver Mtukudzi’s three backing vocalists — the other two being Mary Bell and Cecilia Ndlovu — was making news from her grave.
Mwendy, who had been romantically involved with Mtukudzi, passed away on August 18. It was during her funeral wake that her daughter, Rudo, was turned away by Mwendy’s relatives.
It was through that acrimonious turn of events, Rudo versus her mother’s relatives, that the world got to know of the romantic relationship between Mwendy and Mtukudzi.
Mwendy’s relatives, that is her mother and uncles, barred Rudo from viewing her mother’s body or even attending Mwendy’s burial.
Rudo was involved in an “incestuous” relationship with Mwendy’s live-in lover, one Joe Mafana.
The “incestuous” relationship between Mafana and Rudo produced two children, a boy and a girl.
Fast-forward to 2015, 12 years after Mwendy had passed on and a year after Rudo and Mafana had separated, and as fate would have it, in the same month that Mwendy passed away, Rudo lost her sight.
On the night of August 31, she went to bed seeing clearly.
But when she woke up the following morning, she could not see. Just like that.
Could it have been a case of Karma?
“I do not care what people say or think, people will always say what they want,” said Rudo in a recent sit-down with The Sunday Mail at her grandmother’s home in Chitungwiza.
Her grandmother, Mwendy’s mother, the one who chased her away from her mother’s funeral wake years back, is now late and Rudo has moved into her home.
She continued: “I went to bed on the night of August 31 and when I woke up the following morning, I could not see. When I tried to tell my workmates and friends what had befallen me, most of them dismissed me thinking that I was being a drama queen.
“My workmates, knowing that I was always up and running selling different wares, thought I wanted time off from work so that I could attend to my side business.”
But when she visited her workplace, a private school in Harare’s Hillside, where she was teaching then, her workmates realised that she was not faking it.
She painfully remembers the visit, in the company of her private college’s principal.
She had to go to an eye clinic in the capital, where she was only attended to in the afternoon.
“Without any counselling, the optician said I had lost my sight for life.”
Gutted, she thought a second opinion would help matters. She visited a private eye surgeon, who made the same conclusion, but added that at US$1 500 per eye, he could operate on her.
“I did not have the money then and I still do not have that kind of money. I am told that my eyesight can be restored if I can raise the money.”
The two diagnoses had been straightforward — glaucoma had caused the loss of her sight.
“For several days leading to the loss of my sight, I had complained of severe headaches. Even though I tried to have the headaches attended to, no one could tell that the headaches were a sign that glaucoma was slowly setting in.”
Although Rudo is not very keen to talk about the circumstances leading to her falling in love with her mother’s live-in lover, circumstances which she openly regrets, she said it is a story that she will tell one day.
“My focus now is to get myself back on track with my life. I have taken courses at Dorothy Duncan, and I now know how to use braille. The next step is to find what I can do with the teaching experience that I have.”
But the journey to re-discover her old self has been arduous.
In May 2017, she went into a coma.
For three months, she was admitted at Chitungwiza Central Hospital and only woke up on July 27.
Part of the journey to re-discover herself involved acceptance. She admits that has been a tall order.
“One of the things that I had to come to terms with was accepting my changed circumstances, especially not being able to see. I was also facing financial instability.
“Remember, I had separated with Joe in 2014, and I had to give up my children, for their sake. I could not continue living with them in my state as I felt my condition affected them. So, I had to let them go and stay with their father. And now Joe has left the country, they are staying at his family’s home.”
A lone figure at her grandmother’s home, Rudo said she has since come to terms with her changed life. She now does almost all the household chores by herself.
“There was a time when I would cry all night, l would wake up with sore eyes. Then one day, I asked myself, for how long will l continue crying and to what end? I then resolved to look after myself and do everything by myself.
“Now I cook my own meals, wash my dishes, do my laundry and sweep my room. Even if I had been given a choice, who would I choose to have my situation? If fate had it that I be the one, let it be,” Rudo said.