Wadiza memories refuse to go away
Isdore Guvamombe Reflections
Back in the village, no sun sets without leaving history.
Today, this villager picks up from where he left off last week when he failed to exhaust the archives on memories of Wadidza after realising that there are some moments in the institution’s education history that have taken the tenets of guts, strength, resolve — and amped them up to levels of pride, celebration and sometimes absurdity.
His recitation would be incomplete without mentioning two very important days on the school’s academic calendar — the schools’ opening and closing days.
For the former, some students would deliberately miss the earliest buses that left Mbare Musika for Waddilove and waited for those that came very late.
This would allow them to imbibe a few alcoholic beverages before following later.
Sometimes they would dilute some drinks with alcohol and bring in the stuff as an ordinary drink.
Students would also ask each other if they would have brought some roasted chicken, popularly known as “chitunha” or “gunguwo” (carcass or raven).
On the eve of the closing day students would exchange contact addresses for the holiday and those from the same hood would even plan their first outings.
The night would be a hive of activity.
The resident master would move around the dormitories ordering people to go to sleep.
Buses would leave very early. Sometimes buses parked for the night at the institution and people usually scrambled to get onto the first ones, as most of them would have exhausted their pocket money or allowances.
Students’ beer drinking escapades also feature prominently on the list of memories that refuse to go away. One day an Upper Six guy chanced on a group of Form Three boys concealing their liquor in some tall grasses in the bush.
He left them to go before relocating the stash and hurriedly going to invite his colleagues. They drank all the beer and later came for dinner dead drunk, singing and challenging prefects to show their financial power by drinking themselves silly like them.
There was also this expatriate geography teacher who spoke with a strong lisp that students found.
One day when he was conducting a lesson on rainfall types and wanted to talk about thunderstorms.
The lisp was so heavy that it sounded as if he was saying “chandashtomzhi” and students would deliberately repeat the word so that he also repeated it.
The statement “thunderstorms are very local in character, they occur within distances of two kilometres” sounded as if he was saying “chandashtomzhi are very local in character, jey occur wijin dishtanshizhi of two kilomitazhi,” which would leave students in stitches of laughter. He was not the only teacher whom the students imitated.
There was also the deputy headmaster who was very strict and a disciplinarian by nature. He was the man whose path everyone did not want to cross and if that happened, it was crucial to quickly try and make peace with him and not wait for him to look for you.
Students would imitate him at the dormitories and pretend to be meting out punishment to each other in the wake of some punishable offences.
Boys would also imitate great wrestlers of the time. Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Papa Shango, The Rockers, Mr Perfect and Yokozuna, to name just a few, were some of the household names the boys would be happy imitating.
Sometimes the game would leave some people with bruised fingers or dislocations until the resident master intervened threatening to punish anyone found doing wrestling.
On weekends after cleaning dormitories, people would bask in the sun on flat rocks that litter the institution playing a game of “chapter” in which they used coins to bet – heads or tails and one would either win or lose. These games sometimes ended in fist fights that would spill to the teachers’ attention and people would be punished.
That is Waddilove, Wadidza for you. I am yet to meet a former student of this villager’s time who does not cherish the exciting times we shared at this Methodist Church-run institution.