Smithereens

I am trying to find my seventeen year old self in the fog. Hindsight sits under the retina of how I see it from the distance of adulthood.

The time between then and now takes away the authenticity of how I probably felt.

The war came in an announcement by a commissioned officer to a group of sixth form boys.

“Gentlemen, Rhodesia is at war.”

I felt instantly irritated. At the time, I thought the man absurd. The origins of the annoyance probably lay in the fact that I probably knew he was right. My little world in smithereens because of one sentence.

This much I know: that idyll was based on privilege and ignorance. That this war was fought on a fabrication – aren’t they all? The lies they told us. The lies that we believed.

And so the men and women who desired freedom more than life came with their battle cries – they swept a way of life into the bin. We are scattered now, our childhoods gone.

This much I remember. After a couple of drinks out on the lawn the adults’ tone more aggressive, the pejorative smacked against the lips. People dehumanised.

The fog was lifted during a coming of age. There is no dreaming, hoping, desire to recreate something that was built on the quicksand of injustice and oppression.

It should remain in smithereens.

 

Note to reader: The piece I wrote refers to the year 1973. The Bush War in Rhodesia had started in December 1972. I later learned that the insurgency against white rule had started as early as 1966 when the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) engaged with the Rhodesian police near Sinoia on the 28th April 1966. It is recognised as the first battle of the Second Chimurenga.