Sometimes people ask me where I’m from. Kumusha ndekupi? How do I answer that?
I’m from Greystone Park? No, that just sounds wrong, and usually when I say I live in the leafy northern suburbs people make a lot of assumptions. Which are almost always wrong. Anyway.
Am I from Mhondoro? I am Chikonamombe, Mbuya, chigumbu chine hunye. Is that where I’m from? Cos I know, for sure, that’s where my parents are from. My grandparents lived there too in their later years, but is that where they are truly from?
The problem I have with many of our so-called “rurals” is simple; they were created by settlers. I don’t know if my grannies were originally from there, or if they were herded into certain places while the colonialists took all the productive land.
Is it my fault that I don’t know the answer to that question? Is it that wherever I’m from is simply a matter of tracing back up my family tree to find out where each of my ancestors came from?
I don’t think so. I grew up in Chegutu, so that’s where I, as an individual, am from. As a family? Mhondoro is where we’re from. Further than that, I don’t know exactly.
But home? With my family spread across oceans, can I call Chegutu my home still? Do any of my childhood friends live there? Can I really identify with that town, no matter how much I love it? I’m not so sure.
See, home is not a place. It’s not an area. Home is people.
If you go back there after the people are gone, then all you can see is what is not there anymore.
All you see are the places you used to play, the people who moved away, who passed on, and who don’t recognise you anymore.
So you can never really go “home”. You can only make a new home for yourself.
Where is my home, you ask?
I’m in Harare, fool.