The Sunday Mail
“Mai Vee,” shouted the workmate. “May I see you before you leave office.”
As I was minding my own business, I didn’t pay particular attention to what the workmate wanted to say to Mai Vee. I just assumed it was going to be girl talk, which, in any case, should not draw any bother from me.
That was to be the first wrong assumption.
Then I assumed, as probably you might have done, that Mai Vee could be short for Vimbai, Violet, Valentine, Vongai or any of those names that start with a “V”.
That was the second wrong assumption.
Vee actually is short for Valueconsensus. Yes, you read right, Valueconsensus.
Never mind how the conversation progressed from the initial “Mai Vee, may I see you before you leave office” to me getting to know the full name for Vee, but indeed I got to know.
And not only that, I also got to meet Paradigmshift, Valueconsensus’ brother. As well as the father of the two children.
Well, where do I begin the story-telling?
Anyway, Lazarus Mudavanhu and Mercy Togarepi could be your neighbours, any time, any place. But to residents of Gaza suburb, Chipinge, they could be but a mysterious couple.
Lazarus, at 34 and a Shona teacher, is degreed and married to 26-year-old Mercy, who is also degreed and a ward officer for a not-for-profit organisation in the largely farming town of Chipinge.
So they are not exactly ancient parents, who could have been excited by big names which they met either on radio, television or some magazine. Neither are they some uneducated couple, who, equally, could have been excited by some nice-sounding words.
They know their onions quite well and know what they are doing giving their children such seemingly innocuous names.
Born six years ago, Valueconsensus’ second name is Solace. So her full name is Valueconsensus Solace Mudavanhu. Her brother, born a year ago, is Paradigmshift Prowess Mudavanhu.
Well, there is a good explanation to all this phenomenon, so dear reader, straighten your legs, grab a cup of coffee or some popcorn and enjoy.
“Valueconsensus is one word, not hyphenated, and is a nominal construction,” begins Lazarus, the father. “It derives its meaning from the experiences that we have gone through in our relationship and marriage.”
Lazarus is the more talkative of the couple. He is a holder of a degree in Sociology, obtained from Great Zimbabwe University. The wife also comes from the same academic background, having graduated with an honours degree in the same subject matter.
Before you proceed any further, as well as help you dear reader, to understand this discussion very well, nominal construction, also known as transactional writing, is intended to convey factual information or to argue the validity of a point view with objective evidence.
“When I met Mercy, I was a mere student and she was an Advanced Level student. Competition for girls at that time, that was in 2008, was stiff, especially from gold panners, who always had cash on them. Also this was the time when things were difficult in the country, such that to afford even a piece of bathing soap was unimaginable.
“But we made a sacrament, the two of us, to value our consensus, to love each other come rain, come thunder. She appreciated my openness, that I was still a student and she waited for me to finish my degree.
“Then came the method of marrying. I was in love, in fact, we were in love but I did not have the financial muscle to marry the love of my life. So she had to elope. Another consensus reached.
“After eloping, she enrolled for her degree programme, which she has successfully completed. In fact we share the same passion, furthering our education; and the same field of study, sociology. Yet another consensus we have valued.”
And the “solace” part?
“I grew up without parents, and Mercy became a mother figure to me. She was the break that I needed from the pain I had growing up. I married her I because I found solace in her. She brought comfort in my life.”
That Lazarus was doing most of the talking, could it be that he imposed these thoughts on Mercy, that she was not part of the naming process?
“Not even. He named the girl and I named the boy. See, it was a ‘paradigmshift’ for us. First, our first-born was a girl and here was a boy. A natural ‘paradigmshift’ which happened because of the ‘prowess’ of God,” that from her.
Again, according to the couple, Paradigmshift is not hyphenated and is another nominal construction.
“Also the naming of the boy was a ‘paradigmshift’ in the sense that we were not going for the usual, traditional names like Tendai, John or Peter.”
“As well,” interjected the husband, “we were moving away from the tradition of naming children after grandparents or someone in the family tree. After naming children after such older relatives, there is a general expectation by the immediate family and/or society, for these children to behave in almost the same manner as the one they have been named after.
“So we shifted from that paradigm. There is also a thinking that wives should not go to school, or that a boyfriend cannot send her girlfriend to school, or that a wife should not work. As a couple we shifted from that paradigm.”
“Prowess is distinguished bravery,” added the wife. “God came into my thoughts, fulfilled my dreams, a bravery that cannot be undermined by anybody. The ‘prowess’ was also proved by balancing the sex of our two babies, one a girl and the other a boy.”
At 35 and 26, could the couple be done with giving birth?
“Not yet. The third one, whether it is a boy or girl, will be called Cooley. Cooley was a symbolic writer in sociology, he was an interactionist. He was different from the mainstream structural functional theorists. He interjected with mainstream theories.”
But isn’t this a bit rich, coming from a couple that has had a “paradigmshift” from naming their children after someone?
“Not in this instance. Cooley has nothing to do with my family, or her family. This is something different. We both love his writings for they are not macro-sociological theories.”
Explanations understood, could they be members of a certain cult?
“Not even,” answered the wife. “We attend Zaoga and today we just could not go as I am preparing for daddy to go back to his teaching station, some 40km outside of Chipinge.”