The Sunday Mail
Ghetto Whispers with Rosenthal Mutakati
I was queuing to pay for meat in a tiny Kambuzuma butchery when a seemingly middle-aged stranger tapped me on the shoulder.
He was wearing a broad smile with a newspaper in one hand and a frothing quart of beer in the other.
So happy was this man that he gave me no chance to ask what his problem was.
“Haa zvazoita mwana wamudhara. At long last we are back to the good old days,” he chirped while making sure he shared the news with everyone who was in the queue.
“We can now quaff our beers without fear,” the man continued while occasionally burrowing his hands in the pocket of his sun-baked trousers, which seemed to have seen better and more joyous days.
He was not the only happy chap on Wednesday morning. A cobbler who was mending shoes on the shop’s verandah nearby was equally elated.
“Now I am finally back in business. Dzave kuzouya shangu dziya,” the cobbler said while wearing an almost permanent smirk, which betrayed his gapped teeth from which the reeking smell of booze issued.
Gentle reader, news that bottle stores can now reopen as Government slowly eases lockdown restrictions, which have been in place since March to curb the spread of coronavirus, has torched wild celebrations within the drinking community.
Guzzlers were increasingly growing weary of observing the “new normal”, which routinely forced them to skip the wise waters.
“I am a daily drinking officer (DDO) and what we were going through was worse than a mid-summer night’s dream. It was unbearable to go for days without taking the wise waters for fear of being arrested . . . We have been liberated and we are back in the system. We only pray that this disease dies down so that Government will not reconsider closing bottle stores,” said one gentleman who asked this writer to call him Charlie.
He said for as long as he lives, he would never forget the prolonged closure of bottle stores during the lockdown.
“This is the time I will never forget my brother. Imagine going for days without drinking beer? I felt my endurance was being tested in the most difficult way. Beer makes my world go round because, without it, I have no happiness.
“All those people who were complaining about a surge in domestic violence cases will see a change. Vana baba vave nekwekuswera, saka hondo yapera,” Charlie added.
The reopening of bottle stores is being cheered in the ghetto.
“This means money for people who operate bottle stores that keep our children in their jobs. What do you think all these people who work in bottle stores were thriving on? Beer is a big industry, I tell you. If you look at it closely, you will see even prices falling because those with access to beer were selling it at prohibitive prices because there was no cheaper alternative. Apa hurumende yabaya button chairo,” said one guzzler who identified himself as Museyamwa.
It was not only guzzlers who were happy with the decision to reopen bottle stores.
A lot of other service providers who feed off guzzlers are equally happy.
One plumber, Kizito from Glen View, said he hopes for improved business since he got most of his clients at bars and bottle stores. And so, too, are women of easy virtue whose trade depends on outlets that sell wise waters. However, the decision to reopen bars has not been easy to swallow for churchgoers and those who live near them.
“The problem has just begun. Imagine the noise and these guzzlers who relieve themselves on my precast wall. Since I got this house, I have never known peace as I sometimes have to wake up in the middle of the night to stop fights,” said one woman whose house is close to a bottle store in Glen View.
“Every day is a challenge because even the language used by these guzzlers does not augur well for my children. They should have kept these places of the devil shut.”